pod2man [__--section__=''manext''? [__--release__=''version''? [__--center__=''string''? [__--date__=''string''? [__--fixed__=''font''? [__--fixedbold__=''font''? [__--fixeditalic__=''font''? [__--fixedbolditalic__=''font''? [__--official__? [__--lax__? [__--quotes__=''quotes''? [''output''? ...]
pod2man is a front-end for Pod::Man, using it to generate *roff input from POD source. The resulting *roff code is suitable for display on a terminal using nroff(1), normally via man(1), or printing using troff(1).
input is the file to read for POD source (the POD can be embedded in code). If input isn't given, it defaults to STDIN . output, if given, is the file to which to write the formatted output. If output isn't given, the formatted output is written to STDOUT . Several POD files can be processed in the same pod2man invocation (saving module load and compile times) by providing multiple pairs of input and output files on the command line.
--section, --release, --center, --date, and --official can be used to set the headers and footers to use; if not given, Pod::Man will assume various defaults. See below or Pod::Man for details.
pod2man assumes that your *roff formatters have a fixed-width font named CW . If yours is called something else (like CR ), use --fixed to specify it. This generally only matters for troff output for printing. Similarly, you can set the fonts used for bold, italic, and bold italic fixed-width output.
-c string, --center=string
Sets the centered page header to string. The default is ``User Contributed Perl Documentation'', but also see --official below.
-d string, --date=string
Set the left-hand footer string to this value. By default, the modification date of the input file will be used, or the current date if input comes from STDIN .
The fixed-width font to use for vertabim text and code. Defaults to CW . Some systems may want CR instead. Only matters for troff(1) output.
Bold version of the fixed-width font. Defaults to CB . Only matters for troff(1) output.
Italic version of the fixed-width font (actually, something of a misnomer, since most fixed-width fonts only have an oblique version, not an italic version). Defaults to CI . Only matters for troff(1) output.
Bold italic (probably actually oblique) version of the fixed-width font. Pod::Man doesn't assume you have this, and defaults to CB . Some systems (such as Solaris) have this font available as CX . Only matters for troff(1) output.
Print out usage information.
Don't complain when required sections are missing. Not currently used, as POD checking functionality is not yet implemented in Pod::Man.
Set the default header to indicate that this page is part of the standard Perl release, if --center is not also given.
-q quotes, --quotes=quotes
Sets the quote marks used to surround C quotes. If quotes is a single character, it is used as both the left and right quote; if quotes is two characters, the first character is used as the left quote and the second as the right quoted; and if quotes'' is four characters, the first two are used as the left quote and the second two as the right quote.
quotes may also be set to the special value none, in which case no quote marks are added around C
Set the centered footer. By default, this is the version of Perl you run pod2man under. Note that some system an macro sets assume that the centered footer will be a modification date and will prepend something like ``Last modified: ''; if this is the case, you may want to set --release to the last modified date and --date to the version number.
Set the section for the .TH macro. The standard section numbering convention is to use 1 for user commands, 2 for system calls, 3 for functions, 4 for devices, 5 for file formats, 6 for games, 7 for miscellaneous information, and 8 for administrator commands. There is a lot of variation here, however; some systems (like Solaris) use 4 for file formats, 5 for miscellaneous information, and 7 for devices. Still others use 1m instead of 8, or some mix of both. About the only section numbers that are reliably consistent are 1, 2, and 3.
If you would like to print out a lot of man page continuously, you probably want to set the C and D registers to set contiguous page numbering and even/odd paging, at least on some versions of man(7).
Lots of this documentation is duplicated from Pod::Man.
For those not sure of the proper layout of a man page, here are some notes on writing a proper man page.
The name of the program being documented is conventionally written in bold (using B function(), Pod::Man will take care of this for you. Literal code or commands should be in C manpage(section), and Pod::Man will automatically format those appropriately. As an exception, it's traditional not to use this form when referring to module documentation; use L 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.
The major headers should be set out using a =head1 directive, and are historically written in the rather startling ALL UPPER CASE format, although this is not mandatory. Minor headers may be included using =head2, and are typically in mixed case.
The standard sections of a manual page are:
Manual page indexers are often extremely picky about the format of this section, so don't put anything in it except this line. A single dash, and only a single dash, should separate the list of programs or functions from the description. 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.
A short usage summary for programs and functions. This section is mandatory for section 3 pages.
or whatever is appropriate for your documentation.
(Writing the short option first is arguably easier to read, since the long option is long enough to draw the eye to it anyway and the short option can otherwise get lost in visual noise.)
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 as is standard. It should always be present for functions.
Exceptions, error return codes, exit statuses, and errno settings. Typically used for function 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.
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.
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.
Since environment variables are normally in all uppercase, no additional special formatting is generally needed; they're glaring enough as it is.
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
Things to take special care with, sometimes called WARNINGS .
Things that are broken or just don't work quite right.
Bugs you don't plan to fix. :-)
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 L syntax to keep pod2man and pod2text from being too verbose; see perlpod(1).
If the package has a web site, include a URL here.
Who wrote it (use AUTHORS for multiple people). Including your current e-mail address (or some e-mail address to which bug reports should be sent) so that users have a way of contacting you is a good idea. Remember that program documentation tends to roam the wild for far longer than you expect and pick an e-mail address that's likely to last if possible.
Programs derived from other sources sometimes have this, or you might keep a modification log here.
In addition, 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. Documentation of object-oriented libraries or modules may use CONSTRUCTORS and METHODS sections for detailed documentation of the parts of the library and save the DESCRIPTION section for an overview; other large modules may use FUNCTIONS for similar reasons. Some people use OVERVIEW to summarize the description if it's quite long. Sometimes there's an additional COPYRIGHT section at the bottom, for licensing terms. AVAILABILITY is sometimes added, giving the canonical download site for the software or a URL for updates.
Section ordering varies, although NAME should 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.
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 (including this one currently) will do the wrong thing with e-mail addresses or URLs when wrapped in L