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Author image Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer
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Pinto::Manual::Introduction - Why Pinto exists


version 0.092


Pinto has two primary goals. First, Pinto seeks to address the problem of instability in the CPAN mirrors. Distribution archives are constantly added and removed from the CPAN, so if you use it to build a system or application, you may not get the same result twice. Second, Pinto seeks to encourage developers to use the CPAN toolchain for building, testing, and dependency management of their own local software, even if they never plan to release it to the CPAN.

Pinto accomplishes these goals by providing tools for creating and managing your own custom repositories of distribution archives. These repositories can contain any distribution archives you like, and can be used with the standard CPAN toolchain. The tools also support various operations that enable you to deal with common problems that arise during the development process.


Over the last few years, I personally used various combinations of those modules to create custom repositories at several organizations. But they always required some wrapping and/or glue to make them usable in the development process. And none of them seemed to be designed for extension.

I wanted a tool that would work out-of-the-box, would accommodate a wide range of use cases, would scale to a large number of users, and could grow in unexpected directions. And so, Pinto was born.


The Pinto suite consists of several components, which are all included in this distribution. For most use cases, you should treat Pinto as an external application rather than a library that is integrated with your own application code. I strongly recommend reading Pinto::Manual::Installing for tips on installing Pinto in the manner that is most appropriate for your needs.


pinto is a command line application for creating and managing a Pinto repository. It works transparently with both remote and local repositories. However, repositories can only be created locally.


pintod provides a web service interface to your Pinto repository. This allows multiple (possibly remote) developers to manage a central repository. pintod also functions as the back end HTTP server for installer clients like cpan, cpanp, and cpanm.

Pinto and Pinto::Remote

Pinto and Pinto::Remote are the backend libraries for the pinto application. These are fairly stable, but not officially public and not documented. If you want to hack on Pinto's internals, or create a new application around Pinto, you should start looking at these.


Pinto::Server is the backend library for the pintod server application. It is still immature, and subject to radical change. It is based on raw Plack, so if you are brave you could wrap it with various middlewares to do interesting things.


Some of the terminology related to the CPAN is overloaded, which can lead to some confusion. So I'll try to define some of the key terms that I use throughout the documentation and the code.


An "archive" is the file that developers ship, which contains all their application/library code, test cases, build scripts etc. Conversely, the archive is the file that users must fetch to install the application/library. Sometimes I also refer to these as "distributions".


A "package" is something inside a distribution archive that provides some unit of functionality. In Perl, packages are declared with the package keyword. Some folks call these "modules" but I try to avoid that term because it is frequently misused.


A "prerequisite" is a package that must be installed for the sake of another distribution archive. Sometimes I call these "dependencies". Pinto does not currently distinguish between different flavors of prerequisites, such as "build-time" or "run-time" prerequisites.



All CPAN-like repositories have an index which maps the latest version of each package to the archive that contains it. Usually, there is only one such index. But with Pinto, there can be many indexes. Each of these indexes is called a "stack". This allows you to create different stacks of dependencies within a single repository. So you could have a "development" stack and a "production" stack. Whenever you add a distribution or upgrade a prerequisite, it only affects one stack.


Only one version of a package can exist within a stack. So when you upgrade a package in a stack, the newer version replaces the older one. But sometimes, you discover that a newer version of package is incompatible with your application, and you want to stay with the older version until you have an opportunity to fix the problem. In those situations, Pinto allows you to "pin" a particular version of a package to the stack. This prevents the package from being upgraded (either directly or as a prerequisite for some other package).


Pinto is a name that I sometimes use for my son Wesley (as in "pinto bean"). Daddy loves you, Wes!



Presents a narrative explanation of how to use Pinto.


Presents a condensed summary of pinto commands.


Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer <jeff@stratopan.com>


This software is copyright (c) 2013 by Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer.

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