If you have a Makefile.PL, either because you are using ExtUtils::MakeMaker, or because you are using Module::Install you do the following to created the distribution:

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Firs of all you run:

perl Makefile.PL

this will check if all the dependencies are installed and if all the files listed in the MANIFEST file were included. Then it will generate the Makefile itself without any extension.

Then we run


part of the "C toolchain". If the module is partially based on C os XS, this will compile the necessary code. Then it will copy all the necessary Perl files to the blib/ directory. (blib stands for build lib).

Then we run

make test

this will run all the unit- and other automated tests.

Then here comes the command that will create the MANIFEST file from all the files in the development directory excluding the files that have a matching entry in MANIFEST.SKIP file. This command is only needed if you maintain the MANIFEST.SKIP. If you maintain the MANIFEST file manually then you would not run this command.

make manifest


make dist

will take all the files listed in the MANIFEST file, copy them to a special directoy with the name and the version number of the distribution and then create a tarball (a .tar.gz file) from that directory.

This is the file you'd upload to PAUSE if you wanted to distribute it via CPAN, or that's the file you'd distribution in your in-house CPAN repository, or just send it to your clients and users.

Installing the module

When installing the module the first 3 steps are the same:

Perl Makefile.PL
make test

but then instead of the other 2 steps you'd just run

make install

that would install the module in the right place.

On MS Windows, instead of make you'd probably have either dmake or nmake depending the toolchain you have.