Aug 21

I’m an avid user of code tidiers and validators to enforce quality and consistent style, both in personal and team projects.

In the Perl world you are probably familiar with perltidy, perlcritic and podtidy, but every language has its own tools: htmltidy for HTML, jslint and jshint for Javascript, csstidy for CSS, etc.

In a web site project I might work with half a dozen of these tools, each with their own syntax and applicable only to certain files. I want to apply some of them while editing, some when I commit, and some only when I run tests. There must be a better way!

Enter tidyall

tidyall is a unifier for code tidiers and validators. You can run it on a single file or an entire project hierarchy, and configure which tidiers/validators are applied to which files. Features include:

  • A cache to only process files that have changed

  • A standard backup mechanism with auto-pruning

  • A plugin API that makes it trivial to add new tidiers, validators, and pre/post processors

  • Support for multiple modes (e.g. editor, commit, test, dzil), with different plugins running in each mode


To use tidyall in a project, simply put a tidyall.ini file at the top of it. Here’s the tidyall.ini that I’m using for CHI:

argv = -noll -blbp=0
select = {bin,lib,t}/**/*.{pl,pm,t}

select = {bin,lib}/**/*.{pl,pm,pod}

select = {bin,lib}/**/*.{pl,pm}
argv = --profile $ROOT/perlcriticrc
except_modes = editor

select = {bin,lib,t}/**/*.{pl,pm,t}

select = {bin,lib,t}/**/*.{pl,pm,t}

These sections, in order, do the following:

  • Apply perltidy with settings “-noll -blbp=0″ to *.pl, *.pm, and *.t files.

  • Apply podtidy with default settings to *.pl, *.pm and *.pod files.

  • Apply perlcritic using the perlcriticrc in the same directory to *.pl and *.pm files; but skip this when invoking tidyall from an editor.

  • Use a preprocessor/postprocessor to hide Method::Signatures::Simple keywords (method and function) from perltidy and perlcritic.

  • Use a preprocessor/postprocessor to hide Moose attributes from perltidy, then sort and align attributes in a way I prefer.

Ways of using tidyall

Here are a variety of modes you might use tidyall in.

In your code editor

I like having a single keystroke (ctrl-t) to process the file I’m working on. The distribution contains an Emacs implementation of this command. Its effects are fully undoable and it reports any errors in a separate window.

This is the only editor I know how to program, so others will have to be contributed. :)

From the command line

Of course tidyall can be run manually, against a specific file:

% tidyall file [file...]

or against all the files in the project (skipping those that haven’t changed):

% tidyall -a

or against all the files you’ve added or modified according to svn:

% tidyall --svn

In svn and git commit hooks

The distribution includes an SVN precommit hook that checks if all files are tidied and valid according to tidyall, and rejects the commit if not. e.g.

% svn commit -m "fixups" CHI/ 
Sending        CHI/
Transmitting file data ..svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: Commit blocked by pre-commit hook (exit code 255) with output:
2 files did not pass tidyall check
lib/ *** 'PerlTidy': needs tidying
lib/CHI/ *** 'PerlCritic': Code before strictures are enabled
  at /tmp/Code-TidyAll-0e6K/ line 2

This replaces myriad scripts out there that perform perltidy or perlcritic in a precommit hook.

Git support is coming next.

In unit tests

Test::Code::TidyAll checks that all the files in your distribution are in a tidied and valid state. This replaces a bunch of separate testing modules (Test::Perl::Tidy, Test::Perl::Critic, Test::Pod, etc.), each with their own syntax and rules about which files to select.

In Dist::Zilla

Dist::Zilla::Plugin::TidyAll is a Dist::Zilla plugin that runs tidyall on files when building a release.

Next steps

Git support, then more plugins for Perl and other languages!

Any other neat-freaks find this useful? Feedback welcome.

4 Responses to “One tidier to rule them all”

  1. A. Sinan Unur Says:

    Very very neat. I am going definitely going to use this in the near future. Thank you.

  2. Sebastian Says:

    Great tool and article! We’re using PerlTidy for Perl stuff but HTML, CSS and JS are in a very mixed state :-(

  3. Hyungsuk Says:

    `DBIx::Class::Schema::Loader` generated files that should not modified.
    so I’d like to ignore in my `lib/*/Schema/Result/*.pm`

    how can i set the ignore rule?

  4. Hyungsuk Says:

    it’s simple.

    ignore = lib/*/Schema/Result/*.pm

    i confused `PerlTidy` and `PerlCritic` rules.

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