perlpod - plain old documentation


A pod-to-whatever translator reads a pod file paragraph by paragraph, and translates it to the appropriate output format. There are three kinds of paragraphs:

That's it. The intent is simplicity, not power. I wanted paragraphsto look like paragraphs (block format), so that they stand out visually, and so that I could run them through fmt easily to reformat them (that's F7 in my version of vi). I wanted the translator (and not me) to worry about whether " or ' is a left quote or a right quote within filled text, and I wanted it to leave the quotes alone dammit in verbatim mode, so I could slurp in a working program, shift it over 4 spaces, and have it print out, er, verbatim. And presumably in a constant width font.

In particular, you can leave things like this verbatim in your text:

Perl FILEHANDLE $variable function() manpage(3r)

Doubtless a few other commands or sequences will need to be added along the way, but I've gotten along surprisingly well with just these.

Note that I'm not at all claiming this to be sufficient for producing a book. I'm just trying to make an idiot-proof common source for nroff, TeX, and other markup languages, as used for online documentation. Translators exist for pod2man (that's for nroff(1) and troff(1)), pod2html, pod2latex, and pod2fm.

Embedding Pods in Perl Modules

You can embed pod documentation in your Perl scripts. Start your documentation with a =head1 command at the beg, and end it with an =cut command. Perl will ignore the pod text. See any of the supplied library modules for examples. If you're going to put your pods at the end of the file, and you're using an __END__ or __DATA__ cut mark, make sure to put a blank line there before the first pod directive.

__END__ =head1 NAME modern - I am a modern module

If you had not had that blank line there, then the translators wouldn't have seen it.


pod2man and ``PODs: Embedded Documentation''


Larry Wall