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PERLPODSTYLE(1)	       Perl Programmers	Reference Guide	       PERLPODSTYLE(1)

NAME
       perlpodstyle - Perl POD style guide

DESCRIPTION
       These are general guidelines for	how to write POD documentation for
       Perl scripts and	modules, based on general guidelines for writing good
       UNIX man	pages.	All of these guidelines	are, of	course,	optional, but
       following them will make	your documentation more	consistent with	other
       documentation on	the system.

       The name	of the program being documented	is conventionally written in
       bold (using B<>)	wherever it occurs, as are all program options.
       Arguments should	be written in italics (I<>).  Function names are
       traditionally written in	italics; if you	write a	function as
       function(), Pod::Man will take care of this for you.  Literal code or
       commands	should be in C<>.  References to other man pages should	be in
       the form	"manpage(section)" or "L<manpage(section)>", and Pod::Man will
       automatically format those appropriately.  The second form, with	L<>,
       is used to request that a POD formatter make a link to the man page if
       possible.  As an	exception, one normally	omits the section when
       referring to module documentation since it's not	clear what section
       module documentation will be in;	use "L<Module::Name>" for module
       references instead.

       References to other programs or functions are normally in the form of
       man page	references so that cross-referencing tools can provide the
       user with links and the like.  It's possible to overdo this, though, so
       be careful not to clutter your documentation with too much markup.
       References to other programs that are not given as man page references
       should be enclosed in B<>.

       The major headers should	be set out using a "=head1" directive, and are
       historically written in the rather startling ALL	UPPER CASE format;
       this is not mandatory, but it's strongly	recommended so that sections
       have consistent naming across different software	packages.  Minor
       headers may be included using "=head2", and are typically in mixed
       case.

       The standard sections of	a manual page are:

       NAME
	   Mandatory section; should be	a comma-separated list of programs or
	   functions documented	by this	POD page, such as:

	       foo, bar	- programs to do something

	   Manual page indexers	are often extremely picky about	the format of
	   this	section, so don't put anything in it except this line.	Every
	   program or function documented by this POD page should be listed,
	   separated by	a comma	and a space.  For a Perl module, just give the
	   module name.	 A single dash,	and only a single dash,	should
	   separate the	list of	programs or functions from the description.
	   Do not use any markup such as C<> or	B<> anywhere in	this line.
	   Functions should not	be qualified with "()" or the like.  The
	   description should ideally fit on a single line, even if a man
	   program replaces the	dash with a few	tabs.

       SYNOPSIS
	   A short usage summary for programs and functions.  This section is
	   mandatory for section 3 pages.  For Perl module documentation, it's
	   usually convenient to have the contents of this section be a
	   verbatim block showing some (brief) examples	of typical ways	the
	   module is used.

       DESCRIPTION
	   Extended description	and discussion of the program or functions, or
	   the body of the documentation for man pages that document something
	   else.  If particularly long,	it's a good idea to break this up into
	   subsections "=head2"	directives like:

	       =head2 Normal Usage

	       =head2 Advanced Features

	       =head2 Writing Configuration Files

	   or whatever is appropriate for your documentation.

	   For a module, this is generally where the documentation of the
	   interfaces provided by the module goes, usually in the form of a
	   list	with an	"=item"	for each interface.  Depending on how many
	   interfaces there are, you may want to put that documentation	in
	   separate METHODS, FUNCTIONS,	CLASS METHODS, or INSTANCE METHODS
	   sections instead and	save the DESCRIPTION section for an overview.

       OPTIONS
	   Detailed description	of each	of the command-line options taken by
	   the program.	 This should be	separate from the description for the
	   use of parsers like Pod::Usage.  This is normally presented as a
	   list, with each option as a separate	"=item".  The specific option
	   string should be enclosed in	B<>.  Any values that the option takes
	   should be enclosed in I<>.  For example, the	section	for the	option
	   --section=manext would be introduced	with:

	       =item B<--section>=I<manext>

	   Synonymous options (like both the short and long forms) are
	   separated by	a comma	and a space on the same	"=item"	line, or
	   optionally listed as	their own item with a reference	to the
	   canonical name.  For	example, since --section can also be written
	   as -s, the above would be:

	       =item B<-s> I<manext>, B<--section>=I<manext>

	   Writing the short option first is recommended because it's easier
	   to read.  The long option is	long enough to draw the	eye to it
	   anyway and the short	option can otherwise get lost in visual	noise.

       RETURN VALUE
	   What	the program or function	returns, if successful.	 This section
	   can be omitted for programs whose precise exit codes	aren't
	   important, provided they return 0 on	success	and non-zero on
	   failure as is standard.  It should always be	present	for functions.
	   For modules,	it may be useful to summarize return values from the
	   module interface here, or it	may be more useful to discuss return
	   values separately in	the documentation of each function or method
	   the module provides.

       ERRORS
	   Exceptions, error return codes, exit	statuses, and errno settings.
	   Typically used for function or module documentation;	program
	   documentation uses DIAGNOSTICS instead.  The	general	rule of	thumb
	   is that errors printed to "STDOUT" or "STDERR" and intended for the
	   end user are	documented in DIAGNOSTICS while	errors passed internal
	   to the calling program and intended for other programmers are
	   documented in ERRORS.  When documenting a function that sets	errno,
	   a full list of the possible errno values should be given here.

       DIAGNOSTICS
	   All possible	messages the program can print out and what they mean.
	   You may wish	to follow the same documentation style as the Perl
	   documentation; see perldiag(1) for more details (and	look at	the
	   POD source as well).

	   If applicable, please include details on what the user should do to
	   correct the error; documenting an error as indicating "the input
	   buffer is too small"	without	telling	the user how to	increase the
	   size	of the input buffer (or	at least telling them that it isn't
	   possible) aren't very useful.

       EXAMPLES
	   Give	some example uses of the program or function.  Don't skimp;
	   users often find this the most useful part of the documentation.
	   The examples	are generally given as verbatim	paragraphs.

	   Don't just present an example without explaining what it does.
	   Adding a short paragraph saying what	the example will do can
	   increase the	value of the example immensely.

       ENVIRONMENT
	   Environment variables that the program cares	about, normally
	   presented as	a list using "=over", "=item", and "=back".  For
	   example:

	       =over 6

	       =item HOME

	       Used to determine the user's home directory.  F<.foorc> in this
	       directory is read for configuration details, if it exists.

	       =back

	   Since environment variables are normally in all uppercase, no
	   additional special formatting is generally needed; they're glaring
	   enough as it	is.

       FILES
	   All files used by the program or function, normally presented as a
	   list, and what it uses them for.  File names	should be enclosed in
	   F<>.	 It's particularly important to	document files that will be
	   potentially modified.

       CAVEATS
	   Things to take special care with, sometimes called WARNINGS.

       BUGS
	   Things that are broken or just don't	work quite right.

       RESTRICTIONS
	   Bugs	you don't plan to fix.	:-)

       NOTES
	   Miscellaneous commentary.

       AUTHOR
	   Who wrote it	(use AUTHORS for multiple people).  It's a good	idea
	   to include your current e-mail address (or some e-mail address to
	   which bug reports should be sent) or	some other contact information
	   so that users have a	way of contacting you.	Remember that program
	   documentation tends to roam the wild	for far	longer than you	expect
	   and pick a contact method that's likely to last.

       HISTORY
	   Programs derived from other sources sometimes have this.  Some
	   people keep a modification log here,	but that usually gets long and
	   is normally better maintained in a separate file.

       COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE
	   For copyright

	       Copyright YEAR(s) YOUR NAME(s)

	   (No,	(C) is not needed.  No,	"all rights reserved" is not needed.)

	   For licensing the easiest way is to use the same licensing as Perl
	   itself:

	       This library is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
	       modify it under the same	terms as Perl itself.

	   This	makes it easy for people to use	your module with Perl.	Note
	   that	this licensing example is neither an endorsement or a
	   requirement,	you are	of course free to choose any licensing.

       SEE ALSO
	   Other man pages to check out, like man(1), man(7), makewhatis(8),
	   or catman(8).  Normally a simple list of man	pages separated	by
	   commas, or a	paragraph giving the name of a reference work.	Man
	   page	references, if they use	the standard "name(section)" form,
	   don't have to be enclosed in	L<> (although it's recommended), but
	   other things	in this	section	probably should	be when	appropriate.

	   If the package has a	mailing	list, include a	URL or subscription
	   instructions	here.

	   If the package has a	web site, include a URL	here.

       Documentation of	object-oriented	libraries or modules may want to use
       CONSTRUCTORS and	METHODS	sections, or CLASS METHODS and INSTANCE
       METHODS sections, for detailed documentation of the parts of the
       library and save	the DESCRIPTION	section	for an overview.  Large
       modules with a function interface may want to use FUNCTIONS for similar
       reasons.	 Some people use OVERVIEW to summarize the description if it's
       quite long.

       Section ordering	varies,	although NAME must always be the first section
       (you'll break some man page systems otherwise), and NAME, SYNOPSIS,
       DESCRIPTION, and	OPTIONS	generally always occur first and in that order
       if present.  In general,	SEE ALSO, AUTHOR, and similar material should
       be left for last.  Some systems also move WARNINGS and NOTES to last.
       The order given above should be reasonable for most purposes.

       Some systems use	CONFORMING TO to note conformance to relevant
       standards and MT-LEVEL to note safeness for use in threaded programs or
       signal handlers.	 These headings	are primarily useful when documenting
       parts of	a C library.

       Finally,	as a general note, try not to use an excessive amount of
       markup.	As documented here and in Pod::Man, you	can safely leave Perl
       variables, function names, man page references, and the like unadorned
       by markup and the POD translators will figure it	out for	you.  This
       makes it	much easier to later edit the documentation.  Note that	many
       existing	translators will do the	wrong thing with e-mail	addresses when
       wrapped in L<>, so don't	do that.

SEE ALSO
       For additional information that may be more accurate for	your specific
       system, see either man(5) or man(7) depending on	your system manual
       section numbering conventions.

       This documentation is maintained	as part	of the podlators distribution.
       The current version is always available from its	web site at
       <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/software/podlators/>.

AUTHOR
       Russ Allbery <rra@cpan.org>, with large portions	of this	documentation
       taken from the documentation of the original pod2man implementation by
       Larry Wall and Tom Christiansen.

COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE
       Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015	Russ Allbery
       <rra@cpan.org>

       Copying and distribution	of this	file, with or without modification,
       are permitted in	any medium without royalty provided the	copyright
       notice and this notice are preserved.  This file	is offered as-is,
       without any warranty.

perl v5.26.0			  2017-04-19		       PERLPODSTYLE(1)

NAME | DESCRIPTION | SEE ALSO | AUTHOR | COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE

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