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criticism(3pm) User Contributed Perl Documentation criticism(3pm)


criticism - Perl pragma to enforce coding standards and best-practices


  use criticism;
  use criticism 'gentle';
  use criticism 'stern';
  use criticism 'harsh';
  use criticism 'cruel';
  use criticism 'brutal';
  use criticism ( -profile => '/foo/bar/perlcriticrc' );
  use criticism ( -severity => 3, -verbose => '%m at %f line %l' );


This pragma enforces coding standards and promotes best-practices by running your file through Perl::Critic before every execution. In a production system, this usually isn't feasible because it adds a lot of overhead at start-up. If you have a separate development environment, you can effectively bypass the "criticism" pragma by not installing Perl::Critic in the production environment. If Perl::Critic can't be loaded, then "criticism" just fails silently.

Alternatively, the "perlcritic" command-line (which is distributed with Perl::Critic) can be used to analyze your files on-demand and has some additional configuration features. And Test::Perl::Critic provides a nice interface for analyzing files during the build process.

If you'd like to try Perl::Critic without installing anything, there is a web-service available at <>. The web-service does not yet support all the configuration features that are available in the native Perl::Critic API, but it should give you a good idea of what it does. You can also invoke the perlcritic web-service from the command line by doing an HTTP-post, such as one of these:

  $> POST <
  $> lwp-request -m POST <
  $> wget -q -O -

Please note that the perlcritic web-service is still alpha code. The URL and interface to the service are subject to change.


If there is exactly one import argument, then it is taken to be a named equivalent to one of the numeric severity levels supported by Perl::Critic. For example, "use criticism 'gentle';" is equivalent to setting the "-severity => 5", which reports only the most dangerous violations. On the other hand, "use criticism 'brutal';" is like setting the "-severity => 1", which reports every violation. If there are no import arguments, then it defaults to 'gentle'.

If there is more than one import argument, then they will all be passed directly into the Perl::Critic constructor. So you can use whatever arguments are supported by Perl::Critic.

The "criticism" pragma will also obey whatever configurations you have set in your .perlcriticrc file. In particular, setting the "criticism-fatal" option to a true value will cause your program to immediately "die" if any Perl::Critic violations are found. Otherwise, violations are merely advisory. This option can be set in the global section at the top of your .perlcriticrc file, like this:

  # Top of your .perlcriticrc file...
  criticism-fatal = 1
  # per-policy configurations follow...

You can also pass "('-criticism-fatal' => 1)" as import arguments, just like any other Perl::Critic argument. See "CONFIGURATION" in Perl::Critic for details on the other configuration options.


Usually, the "criticism" pragma fails silently if it cannot load Perl::Critic. So by not installing Perl::Critic in your production environment, you can leave the "criticism" pragma in your production source code and it will still compile, but it won't be analyzed by Perl::Critic each time it runs.

However, if you set the "DEBUG" environment variable to a true value or run your program under the Perl debugger, you will get a warning when "criticism" fails to load Perl::Critic.


The "criticism" pragma applies to the entire file, so it is not affected by scope or package boundaries and "use"-ing it multiple times will just cause it to repeatedly process the same file. There isn't a reciprocal "no criticism" pragma. However, Perl::Critic does support a pseudo-pragma that directs it to overlook certain lines or blocks of code. See "BENDING THE RULES" in Perl::Critic for more details.


Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer <>


Copyright (c) 2006-2007 Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer. All rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself. The full text of this license can be found in the LICENSE file included with this module.

2022-06-12 perl v5.34.0