File::Tasks - A set of file tasks to be executed in a directory


  # Create a script
  my $Script = File::Tasks->new;
  # Add some new files
  $Script->add( 'Foo' );


File::Tasks allows you to define a set of file tasks to be done to a local filesystem. There are three basic tasks, Add, Edit, and Remove.

A single File::Tasks object is used to assemble a collection of these tasks, and then execute them on a new or existing directory somewhere on the local filesystem.

The File::Tasks will take care of making sure that the task paths are all compatible with their resulting location, and that the tasks match the current state of the filesystem.

Once fully verified, it will execute the tasks and make the changes to the filesystem.


new @params

Create and return a new File::Tasks object. Takes as argument a number of parameters in <Key = $value>> form.


Provide a custom Data Provider. The passed object must be a sub-class of File::Tasks::Provider.

Returns a new File::Tasks object.


Returns the Provider object for the File::Tasks


Returns the original File::Find::Rule for the files to be ignore provided to the constructor.


Returns as a sorted list the file paths of all of the Tasks


Returns all of the Tasks as a list, in the same order as for paths.

task $path

Access a single File::Tasks::Task object by its path

add $path, $source

The add method creates an "Add" task and adds it to the File::Tasks. An Add task creates a new file where no file currently exists. Upon execution of the File::Tasks, if a file already exists at the location, execution will fail.

Returns the new File::Tasks::Add object as a convenience. Returns undef if the path clashes, or the source is not valid.

edit $path, $source

The edit method creates as "Edit" task and adds it to the File::Tasks. An Edit task replaces the contents of an existing file. Upon execution of the File::Tasks, if no file exists the execution will fail.

Returns the File::Tasks::Edit object as a convenience. Returns undef if the path clashes, or the source is not valid.

remove $path

The remove method creates a "Remove" task and adds it to the File::Tasks. A Remove task deletes a file currently on the filesystem. If no file exists, execution will fail.

Returns the File::Tasks::Remove object as a convenience. Returns undef if the path clashes.

remove_dir $dir [, $Rule ]

The remove_dir method is specifically designed to remove an entire directory. The directory passed as the first argument is scanned using File::Find::Rule to find all the files in it, and then a series if "Remove" tasks are created and added based on the relative location of the files in the existing directory.

A pre-built Rule object can be provided as the second argument to modify the behaviour of File::Find::Rule when searching for files. In one example, you might want to add Remove tasks for all the files in a CVS checkout, without removing the .cvs directories.

  # Create the "leave .cvs dirs intact" rule
  my $Rule = File::Find::Rule->new;
  $Rule = $Rule->or(
  # Add the Remove tasks
  $Script->remove_dir($dir, $Rule);

Returns the number of Remove tasks added, which may validly be zero. On error, such as a bad directory, bad second argument, or failed Remove Task addition, returns undef.

set $Task

For a File::Tasks::Task object created outside of File::Tasks, the set method attempts to add it to the Script.

Returns the Task object as a convenience, or undef on error.

clashes $path

The clashes method is used to determine if a path clashes with an existing Task in the File::Tasks object. Generally this is because a file already exists for a directory you want to add, or vica versa.

Returns true if the path clashes, or false if not.

test $dir

The test method does a complete dry run of the execution of the File::Tasks object. This includes:

- Ensuring that no paths clash

- Checking that all files that should exist do

- Checking that all files that shouldn't exist don't

- Checking we have the correct permissions

Returns true if the test run was successful, or undef otherwise.

execute $dir

Executes the File::Tasks. This will create, modify or remove files as described in the Tasks.

Due to the delicate and somewhat complex nature of the installation, you almost certainly will want to do a test run with <-test($dir)>> before the live call.

Returns true if completed successfully, or undef otherwise.

overlay $Under, $Over

To keep complexity down, a great way of generating File::Tasks objects that will "overwrite" a previous installation is to do it in two parts.

  # Create a script to remove the old installation
  my $Old = File::Tasks->new;
  # Script for a fresh install spat out by some module
  my $Install = My::Module->build->Script;
  # Overlay the new install over the old removal to create
  # a combined script that will "shift" the current files as needed.
  my $Script = $Old->overlay($Install);

Where this gets really cool is that if the new file is the same as the old file, the Task will be optimised away.

This means that if the underlying data for a process changes, and you rerun a generator of some sort, the only output files that are touched are the ones that will actually change as a result of the underlying data changing.

Given two File::Tasks objects, will create and return a new Script that represents the combination of the two. Returns undef on error.

The + operator is also effectively overloaded to this method

  # The explicit way
  my $Script = $Old->overlay($Install);
  # Via the overload
  my $Script = $Old + $Install;


- Much more detailed unit testing

- Add various caching options


Bugs should be reported via the CPAN bug tracker at

For other issues, contact the author.


Adam Kennedy <>,


Copyright 2005, 2006 Adam Kennedy.

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

The full text of the license can be found in the LICENSE file included with this module.