ExtUtils::PerlPP - A Perl Preprocessor

        use ExtUtils::PerlPP;
        my $config = { 'version' => $VERSION,
                       'driver' => $DRIVER };

        # The long and winding road ...
        my $self = ExtUtils::PerlPP->new();

        $self->{'in_fh'} = IO::File->new('file.PL', 'r');
        $self->{'out_fh'} = IO::File->new('file', 'w');
        $self->{'config'} = 


        # And now a short cut for the same:
        ppp('file.PL', 'file', $config);

    Perl's installation suite, ExtUtils::MakeMaker, contains a mechanism for
    installing preparsed files, so-called *PL* files: If the MakeMaker
    utility detects files with the extension `.PL' then these files are
    executed by *make*, usually creating a file of the same name, except the
    `.PL' extension.

    Writing these PL files is usually always the same, for example a typical
    `.PL' file might look like this:

        my $script = <<'SCRIPT';
        ... # True file following here

        # Modify variable $script, depending on configuration, local
        # site or whatever

        if (!open(FILE, ">file")  ||  !(print FILE $script)  ||
            !close(FILE)) {
            die "Cannot write file: $!";

    But in essence, what else is this than a Perl preprocessor?

    Traditionally you have to write such a Perl preprocessor for yourself
    all the time, although I have found that they always do the same, for

    -       Fix defaults, for example installation paths.

    -       Including or excluding code sections. It is a matter of taste
            whether one likes to see

                if ($] < 5.003) {
                    # Thirty lines of code following here
                } else {
                    # A single line of code

            when already using Perl 5.005. I don't.

    This module is dedicated to simplify such tasks. In short, you can use
    it like this:

  Create a new preprocessor

    You start with creating an instance of *ExtUtils::PerlPP* by calling the
    *new* constructor:

        my $ppp = ExtUtils::PerlPP->new(%attr);

    The constructor accepts a list of attributes, including the following:

    in_fh   The input file, any kind of IO object, for example an instance of
            IO::File or IO::Scalar. More general: It can be any object that
            offers a *getline* method.

            A scalar value (to be distinguished from an IO::Scalar
            instance!) will be interpreted as a file name that the method
            opens for you.

    out_fh  The output file; another IO object or any other object that offers a
            *print* method. A scalar value is accepted as output file name.

    config  A hash ref of preprocessor variables. In other words

                $ppp->{'config'}->{'var'} = 1;

            is what `-Dvar=val' is for the C preprocessor. Similarly you can

                delete $ppp->{'config'};

            with `-Uvar'. See the section on "Macro replacements" below.
            Unlike C, variables may be arbitrarily complex, in particular
            you can use hash or array refs as values.

            Surprisingly you may pass a scalar value again: In that case the
            file of the same name evaluated and the result is used as a
            configuration hash. In other words

                $ppp->{'config'} = "myapp.cfg";

            is similar to

                $ppp->{'config'} = do "myapp.cfg";

            Such config files can easily be created using the *Data::Dumper*
            module. the Data::Dumper(3) manpage.

            If a variable name is used, but no such attribute is present in
            the *config* hash, then by default the variable is looked up in
            the `$Config' from the *Config* module. This behaviour is
            suppressed, if you set *no_config_default* to a TRUE value. the
            Config(3) manpage.

            By default directories are created silently if required. For
            example, if you pass a value of `/usr/local/foo/bar' as output
            file and only `/usr/local' exists, then the subdirectory `foo'
            will be created. The option *no_makedirs* suppresses this

  Running the preprocessor

    This is done by executing


    A Perl exception will be thrown in case of errors, thus the complete use
    might look like this:

        eval { $ppp->parse(); };
        if ($@) { print "An error occurred: $@\n" }

  Using the frontend

    Most applications won't call the *new* or *parse* methods directly, but
    rather do a

        use ExtUtils::PerlPP;
        ppp('infile', 'outfile', 'configfile');

    This is equivalent to

        my $parser = ExtUtils::PerlPP->new('in_fh' => 'infile',
                                           'out_fh' => 'outfile',
                                           'config' => 'configfile');

    In order to be easily used within Makefiles, the ppp frontend can read
    from @ARGV. That is, you can use the module like this:

        perl -MExtUtils::PerlPP -e ppp <infile> <outfile> <configfile>

    from the commandline.

  Macro replacements

    The primary use of preprocessor variables (aka attributes of `$ppp-
    '{'config'}>) is replacing patterns in the stream written to the output
    file. With `$c = $ppp-'{'config'}> in mind the typical patterns and
    their replacements are:

        ~~a~~               $c->{'a'}
        ~~b~~               $c->{'b'}
        ~~a->b~~            $c->{'a'}->{'b'}
        ~~a->e~~            $c->{'a'}->{'e'}
        ~~a->1~~            $c->{'a'}->[1]
        ~~a->1->b~~         $c->{'a'}->[1]->{'b'}

    I hope the idea is obvious. Real world examples might be:

        my $config_file = "~~etc_dir~~/configuration";
        my $VERSION = "~~version~~";

    Preprocessor variables need not be scalar values: If a variable contains
    a code ref, then the module will execute

        &$var($ppp, $text);

    and replace the pattern with the result. `$text' is the pattern being
    replaced, for example, if `$ppp-'{'config'}->{'bar'}> has the value
    `\&foo', then `~~bar~~' will be replaced with the result of

        foo($ppp, "bar");

    Arguments are not yet supported.

  Creating macros

    When talking about code refs, we need a possibility to create them. The
    best possibility is creating them within the input file, as in

        ~&foo&~ my($self, $text) = @_; $text x 2; ~&&~

    This example is mainly equivalent to

        $ppp->{'config'}->{'foo'} = sub {
            my($self, $text) = @_; $text x 2;

    The `~&var&~' definition must start at the beginning of a line, much
    like the C preprocessor. The end pattern ~&&~ may appear at any point,
    but the remaining line will be ignored.

  Conditional output

    The next application of a preprocessor is conditional output, as in an

        #ifdef var

    segment. This can be done with

        ~#if#~ <expression>
        ~#elsif#~ <expression>

    `<expression>' is handled as follows: First it is subject to the usual
    pattern replacements and then it is evaluated as a Perl expression
    returning a TRUE or FALSE value. Examples:

        ~#if#~ "~~a~~"

    is TRUE, if and only if $ppp->{'config'}->{'a'} is TRUE.

    Currently conditionals must start at the beginning of a line and
    expressions must not exceed a single line. Nesting conditions is

  Embedding into MakeMaker

    For using the preprocessor from within MakeMaker, I propose the
    following: First of all you create a config file from within
    Makefile.PL. For example the *libnet* suite creates a file `libnet.cfg'
    and the *SNMP::Monitor* and *Cisco::Conf* modules create a file
    `configuration'. The *Data::Dumper* module will aid you in that task.
    the Data::Dumper(3) manpage.

    Then you add the following to your Makefile.PL, I assume the name
    `myapp.cnf' for the config file:

        package MY;

        sub processPL {
            my($self) = shift;
            return "" unless $self->{PL_FILES};
            my(@m, $from, $to);
            foreach $from (sort keys %{$self->{PL_FILES}}) {
                $to = $self->{PL_FILES}->{$from};
                push @m, "
        all :: $self->{PL_FILES}->{$plfile}

        $self->{PL_FILES}->{$plfile} :: $plfile
                \$(PERL) -I\$(INST_ARCHLIB) -I\$(INST_LIB) \
                        -I\$(PERL_ARCHLIB) -I\$(PERL_LIB) \
                        -MExtUtils::PerlPP -e 'ppp($from, $to, \"myapp.cnf\")'
            join "", @m;

    Next you create your template files under their usual names, but add an
    extension `.PL'. The MakeMaker utility will automatically detect these
    files for you and add appropriate rules to the Makefile it generates.

    This module is Copyright (C) 1998 by

           Jochen Wiedmann
           Am Eisteich 9
           72555 Metzingen

           Phone: +49 7123 14887

    All rights reserved.

    You may distribute this module under the terms of either the GNU General
    Public License or the Artistic License, as specified in the Perl README

    the ExtUtils::MakeMaker(3) manpage, the Data::Dumper(3) manpage