Perl Modules

Daniel Weibel
Created 13 Apr 2017

Some information about Perl modules.

How To Make A Module “Importable” To Another Module

The second argument of a use statement, e.g. use File::Basename qw(dirname); is the argument for the automatically called import function of the referenced module

  • For example, use File::Basename qw(dirname); results in calling import(qw(dirname)) of the File::Basename module
  • Hence, every module must provide an import function
  • When writing an own module, the easiest way to do this is to import such an import function: use Exporter qw(import);
  • This import function looks at the @EXPORT_OK array o the module and allows the called of the module to import all the functions listed therein

Package vs. Module

  • Module:
    • A .pm file under one of the directories in @INC
    • Used in the use statement
    • Example: use File::Basename; looks for a file in directory File in one of the directories in @INC
  • Package:
    • A package declaration within a module (.pm file)
    • There may be several package declarations in a module file
    • The package names in a module may be different from the module name
  • Example:
    • File lib/Foo/Bar/ (assume lib/ is in @INC)
    • The file may have a package declaration like package Hello::World;
    • To import this module: use Foo::Bar::Baz;
    • To call subroutines of this module: Hello::World::some_subroutine();;
  • However, in practice often the package name (declared with package ...;) is the same as the module name. In this case, the subroutines of the package can be called without the package prefix.


In a Perl script, __FILE__ is equivalent to $0. However, in a module, __FILE__ is the file name of the module and $0 is the name of the script that called the module