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Jonathan Swartz


tidyall - Your all-in-one code tidier and validator


version 0.13


    # Create a tidyall.ini or .tidyallrc at the top of your project
    select = **/*.{pl,pm,t}
    argv = -noll -it=2

    select = lib/**/*.pm
    ignore = lib/UtterHack.pm
    argv = -severity 3

    # Process all files in the current project,
    # look upwards from cwd for conf file
    % tidyall -a

    # Process all files in a particular project
    % tidyall -a --root-dir /home/joe/project

    # Process one or more specific files,
    # look upwards from the first file for conf file
    % tidyall file [file...]


There are a lot of great code tidiers and validators out there. tidyall makes them available from a single unified interface.

You can run tidyall on a single file or on an entire project hierarchy, and configure which tidiers/validators are applied to which files. tidyall will back up files beforehand, and for efficiency will only consider files that have changed since they were last processed.

What's a tidier? What's a validator?

A tidier transforms a file so as to improve its appearance without changing its semantics. Examples include perltidy, podtidy and js-beautify.

A validator analyzes a file for some definition of correctness. Examples include perlcritic, podchecker and jshint.

Many tidiers are also validators, e.g. perltidy will throw an error on badly formed Perl.

To use a tidier or validator with tidyall it must have a corresponding plugin class, usually under the prefix Code::TidyAll::Plugin::. This distribution comes with plugins for:

See Code::TidyAll::Plugin for information about creating your own plugin.


tidyall works on a project basis, where a project is just a directory hierarchy of files. svn or git working directories are typical examples of projects.

The top of the project is called the root directory. In the root directory you'll need a config file named tidyall.ini or .tidyallrc; it defines how various tidiers and validators will be applied to the files in your project.

tidyall will find your root directory and config file automatically depending on how you call it:

tidyall file [file...]

tidyall will search upwards from the first file for the conf file.

tidyall -p/--pipe file

tidyall will search upwards from the specified file for the conf file.

tidyall -a/--all or tidyall -s/--svn or tidyall -g/--git

tidyall will search upwards from the current working directory for the conf file.

tidyall -a --root-dir dir

tidyall will expect to find the conf file in the specified root directory.

You can also pass --conf-name to change the name that is searched for, or --conf-file to specify an explicit path.


The config file (tidyall.ini or .tidyallrc) is in Config::INI format. Here's a sample:

    select = **/*.{pl,pm,t}
    argv = -noll -it=2

    select = lib/**/*.pm
    ignore = lib/UtterHack.pm lib/OneTime/*.pm
    argv = -severity 3

    select = lib/**/*.{pm,pod}

In order, the three sections declare:

  • Apply PerlTidy with settings "-noll -it=2" to all *.pl, *.pm, and *.t files.

  • Apply PerlCritic with severity 3 to all Perl modules somewhere underneath "lib/", except for "lib/UtterHack.pm".

  • Apply PodTidy with default settings to all *.pm and *.pod files underneath "lib/".

Standard configuration elements


The header of each section refers to a tidyall plugin. The name is automatically prefixed with Code::TidyAll::Plugin:: unless it begins with a '+', e.g.

    ; Uses plugin Code::TidyAll::Plugin::PerlTidy

    ; Uses plugin My::TidyAll::Plugin

One or more File::Zglob patterns, separated by whitespace or on multiple lines, indicating which files to select. At least one is required. e.g.

    ; All .t and .pl somewhere under bin and t;
    ; plus all .pm files directly under lib/Foo and lib/Bar
    select = {bin,t}/**/*.p[lm]
    select = lib/{Foo,Bar}/*.pm

    ; All .txt files anywhere in the project
    select = **/*.txt

The pattern is relative to the root directory and should have no leading slash. All standard glob characters (*, ?, [], {}) will work; in addition, ** can be used to represent zero or more directories. See File::Zglob documentation for more details.


One or more File::Zglob patterns, separated by whitespace or on multiple lines, indicating which files to ignore. This is optional and overrides select. e.g.

    ; All .pl files anywhere under bin, except bin/awful.pl or anywhere
    ; under bin/tmp
    select = bin/**/*.pl
    ignore = bin/awful.pl bin/tmp/**/*.pl

A list of modes, separated by whitespace. e.g.

    only_modes = tests cli

The plugin will only run if one of these modes is passed to tidyall via -m or --mode.


A list of modes, separated by whitespace. e.g.

    except_modes = commit editor

The plugin will not run if one of these modes is passed to tidyall via -m or --mode.


Many plugins (such as perltidy, perlcritic and podtidy) take this option, which specifies arguments to pass to the underlying command-line utility.


-a, --all

Process all files. Does a recursive search for all files in the project hierarchy, starting at the root, and processes any file that matches at least one plugin in the configuration.

-g, --git

Process all added or modified files in the current git working directory.

-h, --help

Print help message

-l, --list

List each file along with the list of plugins it matches (files without any matches are skipped). Does not actually process any files and does not care whether files are cached. Generally used with -a, -g, or -s. e.g.

    % tidyall -a -l
    lib/CHI.pm (PerlCritic, PerlTidy, PodTidy)
    lib/CHI/Benchmarks.pod (PodTidy)
    lib/CHI/CacheObject.pm (PerlCritic, PerlTidy, PodTidy)
-m, --mode

Optional mode that can affect which plugins run. Defaults to cli. See "MODES".

-p path, --pipe path

Read content from STDIN instead of from a file. This option takes a filename argument, relative or absolute, which will be used to determine which plugins to apply and also where to start looking upwards for the configuration file. The file will not actually be read and does need even need to exist.

If an error occurs, it will be output to STDERR and tidyall will exit with status 1. Otherwise, the tidied content will be output to STDOUT and tidyall will exit with status 0.

When specifying this option you must specify exactly one filename, relative or absolute, which will be used to determine which plugins to apply and also where the root directory and configuration file are. The file will not actually be read and does need even need to exist.

This option implies --no-backups and --no-cache (since there's no actual file) and --quiet (since we don't want to mix extraneous output with the tidied result).

    # Read from STDIN and write to STDOUT, with appropriate plugins
    # for some/path.pl (which need not exist)
    % tidyall --pipe some/path.pl
-s, --svn

Process all added or modified files in the current svn working directory.

-q, --quiet

Suppress output except for errors.

-v, --verbose

Show extra output.

-I path1,path2,...

Add one or more library paths to @INC, like Perl's -I. Useful if --tidyall-class or plugins are in an alternate lib directory.

--backup-ttl duration

Amount of time before backup files can be purged. Can be a number of seconds or any string recognized by Time::Duration::Parse, e.g. "4h" or "1day". Defaults to "1h".


Instead of actually tidying files, check if each file is tidied (i.e. if its tidied version is equal to its current version) and consider it an error if not. This is used by Test::Code::TidyAll and the svn and git pre-commit hooks, for example, to enforce that you've tidied your files.

--conf-file path

Specify relative or absolute path to conf file, instead of searching for it in the usual way.

--conf-name name

Specify a conf file name to search for instead of the defaults (tidyall.ini / .tidyallrc).

--data-dir path

Contains data like backups and cache. Defaults to root_dir/.tidyall.d

--iterations count

Run each tidier transform count times. Default is 1.

In some cases (hopefully rare) the output from a tidier can be different if it is applied multiple times. You may want to perform multiple iterations to make sure the content "settles" into its final tidied form -- especially if the tidiness is being enforced with a version-control hook or a test. Of course, performance will suffer a little. You should rarely need to set this higher than 2.

This only affects tidiers, not validators; e.g. perlcritic and jshint would still only be run once.


Don't backup files before processing.


Don't cache last processed times; process all files every time. See also --refresh-cache.

--output-suffix suffix

Suffix to add to a filename before outputting the modified version, e.g. .tdy. Default is none, which means overwrite the file.


Erase any existing cache info before processing each file, then write new cache info. See also --no-cache.


Specify root directory explicitly. Usually this is inferred from the specified files or the current working directory.

--tidyall-class class

Subclass to use instead of Code::TidyAll.

Specifying options in configuration

Almost any command-line option can be specified at the top of the config file, above the plugin sections. Replace dashes with underscores. e.g.

    backup_ttl = 4h
    iterations = 2
    tidyall_class = My::Code::TidyAll

    select = **/*.{pl,pm,t}
    argv = -noll -it=2


If an option is passed in both places, the command-line takes precedence.


tidyall will exit with status 1 if any errors occurred while processing files, and 0 otherwise.


You can use tidyall in a number of different contexts, and you may not want to run all plugins in all of them.

You can pass a mode to tidyall via -m or --mode, and then specify that certain plugins should only be run in certain modes (via "only_modes") or should be run in all but certain modes (via "except_modes").

Examples of modes:

Now since perlcritic is a bit time-consuming, you might only want to run it during tests and explicit command-line invocation:

    select = lib/**/*.pm
    only_modes = tests cli

Or you could specify that it be run in all modes except the editor:

    select = lib/**/*.pm
    except_modes = editor

If you specify neither only_modes nor except_modes for a plugin, then it will always run.


tidyall keeps track of each file's signature after it was last processed. On subsequent runs, it will only process a file if its signature has changed. The cache is kept in files under the data dir.

You can force a refresh of the cache with --refresh-cache, or turn off the behavior entirely with --no-cache.


tidyall will backup each file before modifying it. The timestamped backups are kept in a separate directory hierarchy under the data dir.

Old backup files will be purged automatically as part of occasional tidyall runs. The duration specified in --backup-ttl indicates both the minimum amount of time backups should be kept, and the frequency that purges should be run. It may be specified as "30m" or "4 hours" or any string acceptable to Time::Duration::Parse. It defaults to "1h" (1 hour).

You can turn off backups with --no-backups.


  • etc/editors/tidyall.el in this distribution is an Emacs function that runs tidyall on the current buffer. You can assign this to ctrl-t or your favorite key binding.

  • Code::TidyAll::SVN::Precommit implements a subversion pre-commit hook that checks if all files are tidied and valid according to tidyall, and rejects the commit if not.

  • Code::TidyAll::Git::Precommit and Code::TidyAll::Git::Prereceive implement git pre-commit and pre-receive hooks, respectively, that check if all files are tidied and valid according to tidyall.

  • Test::Code::TidyAll is a testing library to check that all the files in your project are in a tidied and valid state.


  • Does not yet work on Windows


Thanks to Jeff Thalhammer for helping me refine this API. Thanks to Jeff for perlcritic, Steve Hancock for perltidy, and all the other authors of great open source tidiers and validators.




Jonathan Swartz <swartz@pobox.com>


This software is copyright (c) 2011 by Jonathan Swartz.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.