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PERLPOD(1)	       Perl Programmers Reference Guide 	    PERLPOD(1)

       perlpod - the Plain Old Documentation format

       Pod is a simple-to-use markup language used for writing documentation
       for Perl, Perl programs, and Perl modules.

       Translators are available for converting Pod to various formats like
       plain text, HTML, man pages, and more.

       Pod markup consists of three basic kinds of paragraphs: ordinary, ver
       batim, and command.

       Ordinary Paragraph

       Most paragraphs in your documentation will be ordinary blocks of text,
       like this one.  You can simply type in your text without any markup
       whatsoever, and with just a blank line before and after.  When it gets
       formatted, it will undergo minimal formatting, like being rewrapped,
       probably put into a proportionally spaced font, and maybe even justi

       You can use formatting codes in ordinary paragraphs, for bold, italic,
       "code-style", hyperlinks, and more.  Such codes are explained in the
       "Formatting Codes" section, below.

       Verbatim Paragraph

       Verbatim paragraphs are usually used for presenting a codeblock or
       other text which does not require any special parsing or formatting,
       and which shouldnt be wrapped.

       A verbatim paragraph is distinguished by having its first character be
       a space or a tab.  (And commonly, all its lines begin with spaces
       and/or tabs.)  It should be reproduced exactly, with tabs assumed to be
       on 8-column boundaries.	There are no special formatting codes, so you
       cant italicize or anything like that.  A \ means \, and nothing else.

       Command Paragraph

       A command paragraph is used for special treatment of whole chunks of
       text, usually as headings or parts of lists.

       All command paragraphs (which are typically only one line long) start
       with "=", followed by an identifier, followed by arbitrary text that
       the command can use however it pleases.	Currently recognized commands

	   =head1 Heading Text
	   =head2 Heading Text
	   =head3 Heading Text
	   =head4 Heading Text
	   =over indentlevel
	   =item stuff
	   =begin format
	   =end format
	   =for format text...
	   =encoding type

       To explain them each in detail:

       "=head1 Heading Text"
       "=head2 Heading Text"
       "=head3 Heading Text"
       "=head4 Heading Text"
	   Head1 through head4 produce headings, head1 being the highest
	   level.  The text in the rest of this paragraph is the content of
	   the heading.  For example:

	     =head2 Object Attributes

	   The text "Object Attributes" comprises the heading there.  (Note
	   that head3 and head4 are recent additions, not supported in older
	   Pod translators.)  The text in these heading commands can use for
	   matting codes, as seen here:

	     =head2 Possible Values for C<$/>

	   Such commands are explained in the "Formatting Codes" section,

       "=over indentlevel"
       "=item stuff..."
	   Item, over, and back require a little more explanation:  "=over"
	   starts a region specifically for the generation of a list using
	   "=item" commands, or for indenting (groups of) normal paragraphs.
	   At the end of your list, use "=back" to end it.  The indentlevel
	   option to "=over" indicates how far over to indent, generally in
	   ems (where one em is the width of an "M" in the documents base
	   font) or roughly comparable units; if there is no indentlevel
	   option, it defaults to four.  (And some formatters may just ignore
	   whatever indentlevel you provide.)  In the stuff in "=item
	   stuff...", you may use formatting codes, as seen here:

	     =item Using C<$|> to Control Buffering

	   Such commands are explained in the "Formatting Codes" section,

	   Note also that there are some basic rules to using "=over" ...
	   "=back" regions:

	   *   Dont use "=item"s outside of an "=over" ... "=back" region.

	   *   The first thing after the "=over" command should be an "=item",
	       unless there arent going to be any items at all in this
	       "=over" ... "=back" region.

	   *   Dont put "=headn" commands inside an "=over" ... "=back"

	   *   And perhaps most importantly, keep the items consistent: either
	       use "=item *" for all of them, to produce bullets; or use
	       "=item 1.", "=item 2.", etc., to produce numbered lists; or use
	       "=item foo", "=item bar", etc. -- namely, things that look
	       nothing like bullets or numbers.

	       If you start with bullets or numbers, stick with them, as for
	       matters use the first "=item" type to decide how to format the

	   To end a Pod block, use a blank line, then a line beginning with
	   "=cut", and a blank line after it.  This lets Perl (and the Pod
	   formatter) know that this is where Perl code is resuming.  (The
	   blank line before the "=cut" is not technically necessary, but many
	   older Pod processors require it.)

	   The "=pod" command by itself doesnt do much of anything, but it
	   signals to Perl (and Pod formatters) that a Pod block starts here.
	   A Pod block starts with any command paragraph, so a "=pod" command
	   is usually used just when you want to start a Pod block with an
	   ordinary paragraph or a verbatim paragraph.	For example:

	     =item stuff()

	     This function does stuff.


	     sub stuff {


	     Remember to check its return value, as in:

	       stuff() || die "Couldnt do stuff!";


       "=begin formatname"
       "=end formatname"
       "=for formatname text..."
	   For, begin, and end will let you have regions of text/code/data
	   that are not generally interpreted as normal Pod text, but are
	   passed directly to particular formatters, or are otherwise special.
	   A formatter that can use that format will use the region, otherwise
	   it will be completely ignored.

	   A command "=begin formatname", some paragraphs, and a command "=end
	   formatname", mean that the text/data inbetween is meant for format
	   ters that understand the special format called formatname.  For

	     =begin html


This is a raw HTML paragraph

=end html The command "=for formatname text..." specifies that the remainder of just this paragraph (starting right after formatname) is in that special format. =for html

This is a raw HTML paragraph

This means the same thing as the above "=begin html" ... "=end html" region. That is, with "=for", you can have only one paragraphs worth of text (i.e., the text in "=foo targetname text..."), but with "=begin targetname" ... "=end targetname", you can have any amount of stuff inbetween. (Note that there still must be a blank line after the "=begin" command and a blank line before the "=end" com mand. Here are some examples of how to use these: =begin html
Figure 1.

=end html =begin text --------------- | foo | | bar | --------------- ^^^^ Figure 1. ^^^^ =end text Some format names that formatters currently are known to accept include "roff", "man", "latex", "tex", "text", and "html". (Some formatters will treat some of these as synonyms.) A format name of "comment" is common for just making notes (presum ably to yourself) that wont appear in any formatted version of the Pod document: =for comment Make sure that all the available options are documented! Some formatnames will require a leading colon (as in "=for :format name", or "=begin :formatname" ... "=end :formatname"), to signal that the text is not raw data, but instead is Pod text (i.e., pos sibly containing formatting codes) thats just not for normal for matting (e.g., may not be a normal-use paragraph, but might be for formatting as a footnote). "=encoding encodingname" This command is used for declaring the encoding of a document. Most users wont need this; but if your encoding isnt US-ASCII or Latin-1, then put a "=encoding encodingname" command early in the document so that pod formatters will know how to decode the docu ment. For encodingname, use a name recognized by the Encode::Sup ported module. Examples: =encoding utf8 =encoding koi8-r =encoding ShiftJIS =encoding big5 And dont forget, when using any command, that the command lasts up until the end of its paragraph, not its line. So in the examples below, you can see that every command needs the blank line after it, to end its paragraph. Some examples of lists include: =over =item * First item =item * Second item =back =over =item Foo() Description of Foo function =item Bar() Description of Bar function =back Formatting Codes In ordinary paragraphs and in some command paragraphs, various format ting codes (a.k.a. "interior sequences") can be used: "I" -- italic text Used for emphasis (""be I"") and parameters (""redo I

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