MAN page from PCLinuxOS perl-podlators-4.70.0-3pclos2017.noarch.rpm


Section: User Contributed Perl Documentation (1)
Updated: 2016-03-20


perlpodstyle - Perl POD style guide 


These are general guidelines for how to write POD documentation for Perlscripts and modules, based on general guidelines for writing good UNIX manpages. All of these guidelines are, of course, optional, but followingthem will make your documentation more consistent with other documentationon the system.

The name of the program being documented is conventionally written in bold(using B<>) wherever it occurs, as are all program options.Arguments should be written in italics (I<>). Function names aretraditionally written in italics; if you write a function as function(),Pod::Man will take care of this for you. Literal code or commands shouldbe in C<>. References to other man pages should be in the form"manpage(section)" or "L<manpage(section)>", and Pod::Man willautomatically format those appropriately. The second form, withL<>, is used to request that a POD formatter make a link to theman page if possible. As an exception, one normally omits the sectionwhen referring to module documentation since it's not clear what sectionmodule documentation will be in; use "L<Module::Name>" for modulereferences instead.

References to other programs or functions are normally in the form of manpage references so that cross-referencing tools can provide the user withlinks and the like. It's possible to overdo this, though, so be careful notto clutter your documentation with too much markup. References to otherprograms that are not given as man page references should be enclosed inB<>.

The major headers should be set out using a "=head1" directive, and arehistorically written in the rather startling ALL UPPER CASE format; thisis not mandatory, but it's strongly recommended so that sections haveconsistent naming across different software packages. Minor headers maybe included using "=head2", and are typically in mixed case.

The standard sections of a manual page are:

Mandatory section; should be a comma-separated list of programs orfunctions documented by this POD page, such as:

    foo, bar - programs to do something

Manual page indexers are often extremely picky about the format of thissection, so don't put anything in it except this line. Every program orfunction documented by this POD page should be listed, separated by acomma and a space. For a Perl module, just give the module name. Asingle dash, and only a single dash, should separate the list of programsor functions from the description. Do not use any markup such asC<> or B<> anywhere in this line. Functions should not bequalified with "()" or the like. The description should ideally fit on asingle line, even if a man program replaces the dash with a few tabs.

A short usage summary for programs and functions. This section ismandatory for section 3 pages. For Perl module documentation, it'susually convenient to have the contents of this section be a verbatimblock showing some (brief) examples of typical ways the module is used.
Extended description and discussion of the program or functions, or thebody of the documentation for man pages that document something else. Ifparticularly long, it's a good idea to break this up into subsections"=head2" directives like:

    =head2 Normal Usage    =head2 Advanced Features    =head2 Writing Configuration Files

or whatever is appropriate for your documentation.

For a module, this is generally where the documentation of the interfacesprovided by the module goes, usually in the form of a list with an"=item" for each interface. Depending on how many interfaces there are,you may want to put that documentation in separate METHODS, FUNCTIONS,CLASS METHODS, or INSTANCE METHODS sections instead and save theDESCRIPTION section for an overview.

Detailed description of each of the command-line options taken by theprogram. This should be separate from the description for the use ofparsers like Pod::Usage. This is normally presented as a list, witheach option as a separate "=item". The specific option string should beenclosed in B<>. Any values that the option takes should beenclosed in I<>. For example, the section for the option--section=manext would be introduced with:

    =item B<--section>=I<manext>

Synonymous options (like both the short and long forms) are separated by acomma and a space on the same "=item" line, or optionally listed as theirown item with a reference to the canonical name. For example, since--section can also be written as -s, the above would be:

    =item B<-s> I<manext>, B<--section>=I<manext>

Writing the short option first is recommended because it's easier to read.The long option is long enough to draw the eye to it anyway and the shortoption can otherwise get lost in visual noise.

What the program or function returns, if successful. This section can beomitted for programs whose precise exit codes aren't important, providedthey return 0 on success and non-zero on failure as is standard. Itshould always be present for functions. For modules, it may be useful tosummarize return values from the module interface here, or it may be moreuseful to discuss return values separately in the documentation of eachfunction or method the module provides.
Exceptions, error return codes, exit statuses, and errno settings.Typically used for function or module documentation; program documentationuses DIAGNOSTICS instead. The general rule of thumb is that errorsprinted to "STDOUT" or "STDERR" and intended for the end user aredocumented in DIAGNOSTICS while errors passed internal to the callingprogram and intended for other programmers are documented in ERRORS. Whendocumenting a function that sets errno, a full list of the possible errnovalues should be given here.
All possible messages the program can print out and what they mean. Youmay wish to follow the same documentation style as the Perl documentation;see perldiag(1) for more details (and look at the POD source as well).

If applicable, please include details on what the user should do tocorrect the error; documenting an error as indicating ``the input buffer istoo small'' without telling the user how to increase the size of the inputbuffer (or at least telling them that it isn't possible) aren't veryuseful.

Give some example uses of the program or function. Don't skimp; usersoften find this the most useful part of the documentation. The examplesare generally given as verbatim paragraphs.

Don't just present an example without explaining what it does. Adding ashort paragraph saying what the example will do can increase the value ofthe example immensely.

Environment variables that the program cares about, normally presented asa list using "=over", "=item", and "=back". For example:

    =over 6    =item HOME    Used to determine the user's home directory.  F<.foorc> in this    directory is read for configuration details, if it exists.    =back

Since environment variables are normally in all uppercase, no additionalspecial formatting is generally needed; they're glaring enough as it is.

All files used by the program or function, normally presented as a list,and what it uses them for. File names should be enclosed in F<>.It's particularly important to document files that will be potentiallymodified.
Things to take special care with, sometimes called WARNINGS.
Things that are broken or just don't work quite right.
Bugs you don't plan to fix. :-)
Miscellaneous commentary.
Who wrote it (use AUTHORS for multiple people). It's a good idea toinclude your current e-mail address (or some e-mail address to which bugreports should be sent) or some other contact information so that usershave a way of contacting you. Remember that program documentation tendsto roam the wild for far longer than you expect and pick a contact methodthat's likely to last.
Programs derived from other sources sometimes have this. Some people keepa modification log here, but that usually gets long and is normally bettermaintained in a separate file.
For copyright

    Copyright YEAR(s) YOUR NAME(s)

(No, (C) is not needed. No, ``all rights reserved'' is not needed.)

For licensing the easiest way is to use the same licensing as Perl itself:

    This library is free software; you may redistribute it and/or    modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

This makes it easy for people to use your module with Perl. Note thatthis licensing example is neither an endorsement or a requirement, you areof course free to choose any licensing.

Other man pages to check out, like man(1), man(7), makewhatis(8), orcatman(8). Normally a simple list of man pages separated by commas, or aparagraph giving the name of a reference work. Man page references, ifthey use the standard "name(section)" form, don't have to be enclosed inL<> (although it's recommended), but other things in this sectionprobably should be when appropriate.

If the package has a mailing list, include a URL or subscriptioninstructions here.

If the package has a web site, include a URL here.

Documentation of object-oriented libraries or modules may want to useCONSTRUCTORS and METHODS sections, or CLASS METHODS and INSTANCE METHODSsections, for detailed documentation of the parts of the library and savethe DESCRIPTION section for an overview. Large modules with a functioninterface may want to use FUNCTIONS for similar reasons. Some people useOVERVIEW to summarize the description if it's quite long.

Section ordering varies, although NAME must always be the first section(you'll break some man page systems otherwise), and NAME, SYNOPSIS,DESCRIPTION, and OPTIONS generally always occur first and in that order ifpresent. In general, SEE ALSO, AUTHOR, and similar material should beleft for last. Some systems also move WARNINGS and NOTES to last. Theorder given above should be reasonable for most purposes.

Some systems use CONFORMING TO to note conformance to relevant standardsand MT-LEVEL to note safeness for use in threaded programs or signalhandlers. These headings are primarily useful when documenting parts of aC library.

Finally, as a general note, try not to use an excessive amount of markup.As documented here and in Pod::Man, you can safely leave Perlvariables, function names, man page references, and the like unadorned bymarkup and the POD translators will figure it out for you. This makes itmuch easier to later edit the documentation. Note that many existingtranslators will do the wrong thing with e-mail addresses when wrapped inL<>, so don't do that. 


For additional information that may be more accurate for your specificsystem, see either man(5) or man(7) depending on your system manualsection numbering conventions.

This documentation is maintained as part of the podlators distribution.The current version is always available from its web site at<>. 


Russ Allbery <>, with large portions of this documentationtaken from the documentation of the original pod2man implementation byLarry Wall and Tom Christiansen. 


Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 Russ Allbery<>

Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification, arepermitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright notice andthis notice are preserved. This file is offered as-is, without anywarranty.




This document was created byman2html,using the manual pages.