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PAR::Tutorial(3)      User Contributed Perl Documentation     PAR::Tutorial(3)

       PAR::Tutorial - Cross-Platform Packaging	and Deployment with PAR

       This is a tutorial on PAR, first	appeared at the	7th Perl Conference.
       The HTML	version	of this	tutorial is available online as

   On Deploying	Perl Applications
	% -rootpw="Z1ON0101"
	Perl v5.6.1 required--this is only v5.6.0, stopped at line 1.
	BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at	line 1.

       o   Q: "Help! I can't run your program!"

       o   A1: Install Perl & "perl -MCPAN -e'install(...)'"

	   o   How do we know which modules are	needed?

	   o   New versions of CPAN modules may	break ""

       o   A2: Install Perl & "tar zxf my_perllib.tgz"

	   o   Possibly	overwriting existing modules; not cross-platform at

       o   A3: Use the executable generated by "perlcc"

	   o   Impossible to debug; "perlcc" usually does not work anyway

   PAR,	the Perl Archive Toolkit
       o   Do what JAR (Java Archive) does for Perl

	   o   Aggregates modules, scripts and other files into	a Zip file

	   o   Easy to generate, update	and extract

	   o   Version consistency: solves forward-compatibility problems

	   o   Developed by community: ""

       o   PAR files can be packed into	self-contained scripts

	   o   Automatically scans perl	script for dependencies

	   o   Bundles all necessary 3rd-party modules with it

	   o   Requires	only core Perl to run on the target machine

	   o   PAR also	comes with "pp", the Perl Packager:

		% pp -o	sshnuke.exe # stand-alone executable!

   Simple Packaging
       o   PAR files are just Zip files	with modules in	it

       o   Any Zip tools can generate them:

	    % zip foo.par	   # pack two modules
	    % zip -r bar.par lib/	   # grab all modules in lib/

       o   To load modules from	PAR files:

	    use	PAR;
	    use	lib "foo.par";		   # the .par part is optional
	    use	Hello;

       o   This	also works:

	    use	PAR "/home/mylibs/*.par";  # put all of	them into @INC
	    use	Hello;

   PAR Loaders
       o   Use ""	to run files inside a PAR archive:

	    % foo.par		   # looks for '' by default
	    % foo.par	   # runs script/ in foo.par

       o   Same	thing, with the	stand-alone "parl" or "parl.exe":

	    % parl foo.par		   # no	perl or needed!
	    % parl foo.par	   # ditto

       o   The PAR loader can prepend itself to	a PAR file:

	   o   "-b" bundles non-core modules needed by "":

		% -b -O./ foo.par # self-contained	script

	   o   "-B" bundles core modules in addition to	"-b":

		% parl -B -O./foo.exe foo.par  # self-contained	binary

   Dependency Scanning
       o   Recursively scan dependencies with "":

	    # Legend: [C]ore [X]ternal [S]ubmodule [?]NotOnCPAN
	    'Crypt::SSLeay'	  => '0', #  X	 #
	    'Net::HTTP'		  => '0', #	 #
	    'Crypt::SSLeay::X509' => '0', # S	 # Crypt::SSLeay
	    'Net::HTTP::Methods'  => '0', # S	 # Net::HTTP
	    'Compress::Zlib'	  => '0', #  X	 # Net::HTTP::Methods

       o   Scan	an one-liner, list all involved	files:

	    % -V -e	"use Dynaloader;"
	    # auto/DynaLoader/ [autoload]
	    # auto/DynaLoader/extralibs.ld [autoload]
	    # auto/File/Glob/ [data]
	    # auto/File/Glob/ [shared]

   Perl	Packager: "pp"
       o   Combines scanning, zipping and loader-embedding:

	    % pp -o out.exe	   # self-contained .exe
	    % out.exe			   # runs anywhere on the same OS

       o   Bundle additional modules:

	    % pp -o out.exe -M CGI  # pack CGI +	its dependencies, too

       o   Pack	one-liners:

	    % pp -o out.exe -e 'print "Hi!"'   # turns one-liner into executable

       o   Generate PAR	files instead of executables:

	    % pp -p		   # makes 'source.par'
	    % pp -B -p		   # include core modules

   How it works
       o   Command-line	options	are almost identical to	"perlcc"'s

	   o   Also supports "gcc"-style long options:

		% pp --gui --verbose --output=out.exe

       o   Small initial overhead; no runtime overhead

       o   Dependencies	are POD-stripped before	packing

       o   Loads modules directly into memory on demand

       o   Shared libraries (DLLs) are extracted with File::Temp

       o   Works on Perl 5.6.0 or above

       o   Tested on Win32 (VC++ and MinGW), FreeBSD, NetBSD, Linux, MacOSX,
	   Cygwin, AIX,	Solaris, HP-UX,	Tru64...

   Aggregating multiple	programs
       o   A common question:

	    > I	have used pp to	make several standalone	applications which work
	    > great, the only problem is that for each executable that I make, I am
	    > assuming the parl.exe is somehow bundled into the	resulting exe.

       o   The obvious workaround:

	    You	can ship parl.exe by itself, along with	.par files built
	    by "pp -p",	and run	those PAR files	by associating them to parl.exe.

       o   On platforms	that have "ln",	there is a better solution:

	    % pp --output=a.out  # two scripts in one!
	    % ln a.out b.out		   # symlink also works
	    % ./a.out			   # runs
	    % ./b.out			   # runs

   Cross-platform Packages
       o   Of course, there is no cross-platform binary	format

       o   Pure-perl PAR packages are cross-platform by	default

	   o   However,	XS modules are specific	to Perl	version	and platform

	   o   Multiple	versions of a XS module	can co-exist in	a PAR file

       o   Suppose we need "out.par" on	both Win32 and Finix:

	    C:\> pp --multiarch	--output=out.par
	    ...copy and out.par to a Finix machine...
	    % pp --multiarch --output=out.par

       o   Now it works	on both	platforms:

	    % parl out.par		   # runs
	    % perl -MPAR=out.par -e '...'  # uses modules inside out.par

   The Anatomy of a PAR	file
       o   Modules can reside in several directories:

	    /			   # casual packaging only
	    /lib/		   # standard location
	    /arch/		   # for creating from blib/
	    /i386-freebsd/	   # i.e. $Config{archname}
	    /5.8.0/		   # i.e. Perl version number
	    /5.8.0/i386-freebsd/   # combination of the	two above

       o   Scripts are stored in one of	the two	locations:

	    /			   # casual packaging only
	    /script/		   # standard location

       o   Shared libraries may	be architecture- or perl-version-specific:


       o   PAR files may recursively contain other PAR files:


   Special files
       o   MANIFEST

	   o   Index of	all files inside PAR

	   o   Can be parsed with "ExtUtils::Manifest"

       o   META.yml

	   o   Dependency, license, runtime options

	   o   Can be parsed with "YAML"

       o   SIGNATURE

	   o   OpenPGP-signed digital signature

	   o   Can be parsed and verified with "Module::Signature"

   Advantages over perlcc, PerlApp and Perl2exe
       o   This	is not meant to	be a flame

	   o   All three maintainers have contributed to PAR directly; I'm

       o   perlcc

	   o   "The code generated in this way is not guaranteed to work...
	       Use for production purposes is strongly discouraged." (from
	       perldoc perlcc)

	   o   Guaranteed to not work is more like it

       o   PerlApp / Perl2exe

	   o   Expensive: Need to pay for each upgrade

	   o   Non-portable: Only available for	limited	platforms

	   o   Proprietary: Cannot extend its features or fix bugs

	   o   Obfuscated: Vendor and black-hats can see your code, but	you

	   o   Inflexible: Does	not work with existing Perl installations

   MANIFEST: Best viewed with Mozilla
       o   The URL of "MANIFEST" inside	"/home/autrijus/foo.par":


       o   Open	it in a	Gecko browser (e.g. Netscape 6+) with Javascript

       o   No needed to	unzip anything;	just click on files to view them

   META.yml: Metadata galore
       o   Static, machine-readable distribution metadata

	   o   Supported by "Module::Build", "ExtUtils::MakeMaker",

       o   A typical "pp"-generated "META.yml" looks like this:

	    build_requires: {}
	    conflicts: {}
	    dist_name: out.par
	    distribution_type: par
	    dynamic_config: 0
	    generated_by: 'Perl	Packager version 0.03'
	    license: unknown
	      clean: 0
	      signature: ''
	      verbatim:	0
	      version: 0.68

       o   The "par:" settings controls	its runtime behavior

   SIGNATURE: Signing and verifying packages
       o   OpenPGP clear-signed	manifest with SHA1 digests

	   o   Supported by "Module::Signature", "CPANPLUS" and

       o   A typical "SIGNATURE" looks like this:

	    Hash: SHA1

	    SHA1 8a014cd6d0f6775552a01d1e6354a69eb6826046 AUTHORS
	    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
	    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

       o   Use "pp" and	"cpansign" to work with	signatures:

	    % pp -s -o foo.par	   # make and sign foo.par from
	    % cpansign -s foo.par  # sign this PAR file
	    % cpansign -v foo.par  # verify this PAR file

   Perl	Servlets with Apache::PAR
       o   Framework for self-contained	Web applications

	   o   Similar to Java's "Web Application Archive" (WAR) files

	   o   Works with mod_perl 1.x or 2.x

       o   A complete web application inside a ".par" file

	   o   Apache configuration, static files, Perl	modules...

	   o   Supports	Static,	Registry and PerlRun handlers

	   o   Can also	load all PARs under a directory

       o   One additional special file:	"web.conf"

	    Alias /myapp/cgi-perl/ ##PARFILE##/
	    <Location /myapp/cgi-perl>
		Options	+ExecCGI
		SetHandler perl-script
		PerlHandler Apache::PAR::Registry

   Hon Dah, A-par-che!
       o   First, make a "hondah.par" from an one-liner:

	    # use the "web.conf" from the previous slide
	    % pp -p -o hondah.par -e 'print "Hon Dah!\n"' \
		 --add web.conf
	    % chmod a+x	hondah.par

       o   Add this to "httpd.conf", then restart apache:

	    <IfDefine MODPERL2>
	    PerlModule Apache2
	    PerlAddVar PARInclude /home/autrijus/hondah.par
	    PerlModule Apache::PAR

       o   Test	it out:

	    % GET http://localhost/myapp/cgi-perl/
	    Hon	Dah!

       o   Instant one-liner web application that works!

   On-demand library fetching
       o   With	LWP installed, your can	use remote PAR files:

	    use	PAR;
	    use	lib '';
	    use	DBI;	# always up to date!

       o   Modules are now cached under	$ENV{PAR_GLOBAL_TEMP}

       o   Auto-updates	with "LWP::Simple::mirror"

	   o   Download	only if	modified

	   o   Safe for	offline	use after the first time

	   o   May use "SIGNATURE" to prevent DNS-spoofing

       o   Makes large-scale deployment	a breeze

	   o   Upgrades	from a central location

	   o   No installers needed

   Code	Obfuscation
       o   Also	known as source-hiding techniques

	   o   It is not encryption

	   o   Offered by PerlApp, Perl2Exe, Stunnix...

       o   Usually easy	to defeat

	   o   Take optree dump	from memory, feed to "B::Deparse"

	   o   If you just want	to stop	a casual "grep", "deflate" already

       o   PAR now supports pluggable input filters with "pp -f"

	   o   Bundled examples: Bleach, PodStrip and PatchContent

	   o   True encryption using "Crypt::*"

	   o   Or even _product	activation_ over the internet

       o   Alternatively, just keep core logic in your server and use RPC

   Accessing packed files
       o   To get the host archive from	a packed program:

	    my $zip = PAR::par_handle($0); # an	Archive::Zip object
	    my $content	= $zip->contents('MANIFEST');

       o   Same	thing, but with	"read_file()":

	    my $content	= PAR::read_file('MANIFEST');

       o   Loaded PAR files are	stored in %PAR::LibCache:

	    use	PAR '/home/mylibs/*.par';
	    while (my ($filename, $zip)	= each %PAR::LibCache) {
		print "[$filename - MANIFEST]\n";
		print $zip->contents('MANIFEST');

   Packing GUI applications
       o   GUI toolkits	often need to link with	shared libraries:

	    # search for libncurses under library paths	and pack it
	    % pp -l ncurses  # same for Tk, Wx, Gtk, Qt...

       o   Use "pp --gui" on Win32 to eliminate	the console window:

	    # pack '' into a console-less	'out.exe' (Win32 only)
	    % pp --gui -o out.exe

       o   "Can't locate Foo/Widget/ in @INC"?

	   o   Some toolkits (notably Tk) autoloads modules without "use" or

	   o   Hence "pp" and "Module::ScanDeps" may fail to detect them

	   o   Tk problems mostly fixed	by now,	but other toolkits may still

	   o   You can work around it with "pp -M" or an explicit "require"

	   o   Or better, send a short test-case to "" so we can
	       fix it

   Precompiled CPAN distributions
       o   Installing XS extensions from CPAN was difficult

	   o   Some platforms do not come with a compiler (Win32, MacOSX...)

	   o   Some headers or libraries may be	missing

	   o itself used to suffer from both problems

       o   ...but not anymore -- "Module::Install" to the rescue!

	    # same old Makefile.PL, with a few changes
	    use	inc::Module::Install;	   # was "use ExtUtils::MakeMaker;"
	    WriteMakefile( ... );	   # same as the original
	    check_nmake();		   # make sure the user	have nmake
	    par_base('AUTRIJUS');	   # your CPAN ID or a URL
	    fetch_par()	unless can_cc();   # use precompiled PAR only if necessary

       o   Users will not notice anything, except now it works

	   o   Of course, you still need to type "make par" and	upload the
	       precompiled package

	   o   PAR users can also install it directly with "parl -i"

   Platform-specific Tips
       o   Win32 and other icon-savvy platforms

	   o   Needs 3rd-party tools to	add icons to "pp"-generated

	   o   PE Header manipulation in Perl -- volunteers wanted!

       o   Linux and other libc-based platforms

	   o   Try to avoid running "pp" on a bleeding-edge version of the OS

	   o   Older versions with an earlier libc won't work with new ones

       o   Solaris and other zlib-lacking platforms (but not Win32)

	   o   You need	a static-linked	"Compress::Zlib" before	installing PAR

	   o   In the future, PAR may depend on	"Compress::Zlib::Static"

       o   Any platform	with limited bandwidth or disk space

	   o   Use UPX to minimize the executable size

   Thank you!
       o   Additional resources

	   o   Mailing list: ""

	   o   Subscribe: Send a blank email to	""

	   o   List archive: <>

	   o   PAR::Intro: <>

	   o   Apache::PAR: <>

	   o   Module::Install:	<>

       o   Any questions?

   Bonus Slides: PAR Internals
   Overview of's	Implementation
       o   Here	begins the scary part

	   o   Grues, Dragons and Jabberwocks abound...

	   o   You are going to	learn weird things about Perl internals

       o   PAR invokes four areas of Perl arcana:

	   o   @INC code references

	   o   On-the-fly source filtering

	   o   Overriding "DynaLoader::bootstrap()" to handle XS modules

	   o   Making self-bootstrapping binary	executables

       o   The first two only works on 5.6 or later

	   o   DynaLoader and %INC are there since Perl	5 was born

	   o   PAR currently needs 5.6,	but a 5.005 port is possible

   Code	References in @INC
       o   On 1999-07-19, Ken Fox submitted a patch to P5P

	   o   To _enable using	remote modules_	by putting hooks in @INC

	   o   It's accepted to	come in	Perl 5.6, but undocumented until 5.8

	   o   Type "perldoc -f	require" to read the nitty-gritty details

       o   Coderefs in @INC may	return a fh, or	undef to 'pass':

	    push @INC, sub {
		my ($coderef, $filename) = @_;	# $coderef is \&my_sub
		open my	$fh, "wget$filename |";
		return $fh;	   # using remote modules, indeed!

       o   Perl	5.8 let	you open a file	handle to a string, so we just use

		   open	my $fh,	'<', \($zip->memberNamed($filename)->contents);
		   return $fh;

       o   But Perl 5.6	does not have that, and	I don't	want to	use temp

   Source Filtering without Filter::* Modules
       o   ... Undocumented features to	the rescue!

	   o   It turns	out that @INC hooks can	return two values

	   o   The first is still the file handle

	   o   The second is a code reference for line-by-line source

       o   This	is how "Acme::use::strict::with::pride"	works:

	    # Force all	modules	used to	use strict and warnings
	    open my $fh, "<", $filename	or return;
	    my @lines =	("use strict; use warnings;\n",	"#line 1 \"$full\"\n");
	    return ($fh, sub {
		return 0 unless	@lines;
		push @lines, $_; $_ = shift @lines; return length $_;

   Source Filtering without Filter::* Modules (cont.)
       o   But we don't	really have a filehandle for anything

       o   Another undocumented	feature	saves the day!

       o   We can actually omit	the first return value altogether:

	    # Return all contents line-by-line from the	file inside PAR
	    my @lines =	split(
	    return (sub	{
		$_ = shift(@lines);
		return length $_;

   Overriding DynaLoader::bootstrap
       o   XS modules have dynamically loaded libraries

	   o   They cannot be loaded as	part of	a zip file, so we extract them

	   o   Must intercept DynaLoader's library-finding process

       o   Module names	are passed to "bootstrap" for XS loading

	   o   During the process, it calls "dl_findfile" to locate the	file

	   o   So we install pre-hooks around both functions

       o   Our "_bootstrap" just checks	if the library is in PARs

	   o   If yes, extract it to a "File::Temp" temp file

	       o   The file will be automatically cleaned up when the program

	   o   It then pass the	arguments to the original "bootstrap"

	   o   Finally,	our "dl_findfile" intercepts known filenames and
	       return it

   Anatomy of a	Self-Contained PAR executable
       o   The par script ($0) itself

	   o   May be in plain-text or native executable format

       o   Any number of embedded files

	   o   Typically used to bootstrap PAR's various dependencies

	   o   Each section begins with	the magic string "FILE"

	   o   Length of filename in pack('N') format and the filename

	   o   File length in pack('N')	and the	file's content (not

       o   One PAR file

	   o   Just a regular zip file with the	magic string "PK\003\004"

       o   Ending section

	   o   A pack('N') number of the total length of FILE and PAR sections

	   o   Finally,	there must be a	8-bytes	magic string: "\\012"

   Self-Bootstrapping Tricks
       o   All we can expect is	a working perl interpreter

	   o   The self-contained script *must not* use	any modules at all

	   o   But to process PAR files, we need XS modules like

       o   Answer: bundle all modules +	libraries used by

	   o   That's what the "FILE" section in the previous slide is for

	   o   Load modules to memory, and write object	files to disk

	   o   Then use	a local	@INC hook to load them on demand

       o   Minimizing the amount of temporary files

	   o   First, try to load PerlIO::scalar and File::Temp

	   o   Set up an END hook to unlink all	temp files up to this point

	   o   Load other bundled files, and look in the compressed PAR

	   o   This can	be much	easier with a pure-perl	"inflate()"; patches

   Thank you (again)!
       o   Any questions, please?

       PAR, pp,,	parl

       ex::lib::zip, Acme::use::strict::with::pride

       App::Packer, Apache::PAR, CPANPLUS, Module::Install

       Audrey Tang <>

       You can write to	the mailing list at <>, or send an empty
       mail to <>	to participate in the discussion.

       Please submit bug reports to <>.

       Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006	by Audrey Tang <>.

       This document is	free documentation; you	can redistribute it and/or
       modify it under the same	terms as Perl itself.

       See LICENSE.

perl v5.32.1			  2016-11-28		      PAR::Tutorial(3)


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