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Getopt::AutoConf -- use autoconf-style options

Getopt::AutoConf -- use autoconf-style options


Getopt::AutoConf -- use autoconf(1)-style options


Getopt::AutoConf provides command-line parameter parsing similar to that provided by GNU autoconf(1). Getopt::AutoConf simplifies parsing of arguments in the form --with, --without, --enable, and --disable.


 ./ --with-foo=/usr/local/lib/libfoo.a --disable-bar \

        --enable-baz --without-quux

called as:

  use Getopt::AutoConf;


        'foo'  => \@foo,

        'bar'  => \$bar,

        'baz'  => \$baz,

        'quux' => \&quux,

  ) or die $Getopt::AutoConf::ERROR;

  print @foo, $bar, $baz;

  # Prints: /usr/local/lib/libfoo.a 0 1


Getopt::AutoConf allows for autoconf-style parameters with no extra parsing on the part of the script writer.

The module exports a single function, called GetOptions, which takes a hash describing what options should be parsed. Each key in this hash is a variable name, and each value is a reference to a variable into which the value should be placed, similar to Getopt::Long. GetOptions returns 1 on success or undef on failure. The variables referenced should already be defined, although in the absence of 'use strict' this is not required.

Getopt::AutoConf::GetOptions is written in such a way that arguments not beginning with '--enable-', '--disable-', '--with-', or '--without-' are passed through unmodified; another option processing module can then process the remaining arguments. For example:

  use Getopt::Long ();

  use Getopt::AutoConf ();

  my ($foo, $bar, $baz, $quux);

  Getopt::AutoConf::GetOptions('foo' => \$foo, 'bar' => \$bar);

  Getopt::Long::GetOptions('baz' => \$baz, 'quux' => \$quux);

See t/03golngoa.t for another (working) example. Note that in this case, modules should be used with () as their argument list, and the functions' full name should be typed, to avoid the name clash.

The keys to the hash passed into GetOptions can be references of one of three types: references to scalar variables, references to arrays, or code references. How each reference type is dereferenced depends on whether they were preceded by enable, disable, with, or without (each is detailed below).

Options can be passed in the any of the following forms:

--with-$var=$value, --enable-$var=$value
This sets $var to $value. If a reference to a scalar is passed to GetOptions, then $value will be assigned to $var. If a reference to an array is passed, the $value will be pushed onto @{$var}. If a code ref is passed, then the code is executed, with ($var, $value) as parameters.

If $val is attached to a scalar reference, and there are multiple occurances of $var on the command line, the last one passed overrides all earlier occurances.

--without-$var(=$value)?, --disable-$var(=$value)?
Both --without- and --disable- act identically. If a reference to a scalar variable is passed to GetOptions, the this value is set to 0 (regardless of what, if anything, comes after the ``='' on the command line). If a reference to an array is passed in, and there is nothing after the ``='' (or no ``=''), the referent is set to the empty list. If there is data after the ``='', then this data is spliced from the referenced array. Code references are invoked with ($var, $value) as paramters, or ($var, ``'') if $value is not present (in this way, enabled and disabled variables which are attached to code refs function identically).


Here is some code with will upload the English and Spanish versions of the index page, along with the respective flag icons.

  # The code:


      "html"  => \@html,

      "image" => \@images,


  for (@html, @images) {



  # The command line invocation:

  $ --with-html=htdocs/index.en.html \

              --with-html=htdocs/ \

              --with-image=htdocs/images/flags/en.gif \


A real(ish) example. A script designed to be invoked from a CVS commit might be invoked something like this (from the CVSROOT/loginfo file):

  # in CVSROOT/loginfo:

  DEFAULT /usr/local/bin/commit-fu \

              --cvs=/usr/bin/cvs --cvsspec=%{sVv}  \

              --cvsroot=/cvsroot --diffoptions="-uw" \



  # And, in the body of /usr/local/bin/commit-fu:

  my ($cvs, $cvsroot, $cvsoptions, $cvsspec, @recipients);

  GetOptions("cvs"         => \$cvs,

             "cvsspec"     => \$cvsspec,

             "cvsroot"     => \$cvsroot,

             "diffoptions" => \$diffoptions,

             "recipient"   => \@recipients);

A final example: the configure script for the sevenmail webmail software.

  # in

  my ($VERBOSE, $ap_src, %mysql, $defaultdomain);

  my @options = ('aliases', 'forwarding');


    "verbose"       => \$VERBOSE,

    "apache_src"    => \$ap_src,

    "mysql-user"    => \$mysql{'user'},

    "mysql-passwd"  => \$mysql{'passwd'},

    "mysql-host"    => \$mysql{'host'},

    "option"        => \@options,

    "defaultdomain" => \$defaultdomain,


  # invocation:

  ./ --with-apache_src=/usr/local/src/apache_1.3.20/src \


                 --with-mysql-user=nobody   \

                 --with-mysql-passwd=l33t&s3kr3t   \

                 --wtih-mysql-host=dbhost     \

                 --enable-option=masquerading   \

                 --enable-option=mbox-limits \

                 --disable-option=aliases   \


This configuration has the effect of, along with setting all of the various scalars, removing the default ``aliases'' option defined in the script (because of the ``--disable-option=aliases'') but leaving the default ``forwarding'' option alone.


darren chamberlain <>


$Revision: 1.6 $

Copyright 2001 darren chamberlain <>