Quick Quack Hack: perl-autoinstall

March 27th, 2017

Quick Quack Hack: perl-autoinstall

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you try to run a Perl script, and it barfs because it lacks a dependency. So you install the said dependency, run the script again only to have it stumble on the next dependency. And so on, and so forth for waaaay too long.

Now, I could try to fix that by analyzing the script, try to figure out which modules are used and pipe that all to cpanm. Or… or I just could be a brute and delegate that boring try-install-try-again loop to a script. After all, computers love loops.

So say hello to perl-autoinstall.fish.

function perl-autoinstall

    set deps dummy

    while true;
        set prev_deps $deps

        set output ( perl $argv 2>&1 )
        echo $output

        set deps ( echo $output | perl -nE'say $1 if /you may need to install the (S+) module/' )

        if test -z $deps

        if test $deps = $prev_deps
            echo "dependencies didn't change"

        echo $deps | cpanm -n


The logic is simple. Run

$ perl-autoinstall the_script_of_a_thousand_dependencies.pl

and perl-autoinstall will try to run the script. If it fails with the dependency error we all dread, it’ll run cpanm to install it, then try again. And just to protect ourselves of infinite loops that a uninstallable dependency would cause, we stop trying if we hit the same dependency twice in a row. Nothing really elegant, but then again, when one plows through dependencies, one doesn’t elegance. One needs stubborn determination, and this this script delivers that in spade.

Also, I’ve used a fish shell script, because I roll that way, but it would be pretty easy to convert that to bash, perl or whatever else one might fancy.