Adding tab completion for perlbrew

perlbrew is a command-line utility I’m using quite a bit recently: while developing Bencher feature of benchmarking against multiple perls, for trying out cperl, or just updating to the latest perl release. So I thought it would be nice to add tab completion feature to perlbrew.

The obvious choice (for many people anyway) to write tab completion feature in is bash, but I’m more comfortable with Perl. And besides, there are a few nice completion features in Complete::Util I’d like to use.

The result is App::ShellCompleter::perlbrew. You install it by first installing App::shcompgen from CPAN and then:

% shcompgen init

then install App::ShellCompleter::perlbrew from CPAN.

Some of the things that the completion can do:

Complete subcommands, option names, option values, arguments

For example:

% perlbrew un<tab>

will complete to:

% perlbrew uninstall _

The completion features “word-mode” matching, so you can also do something like this:

% perlbrew i-cp<tab>

and it will complete to:

% perlbrew install-cpanm _

Display the list of available perls to install

% perlbrew install <tab>

The first time you do this, it will take several seconds because the completion script will fetch the list of available perls from “perlbrew available”. After that it should be instantaneous because the completion script caches the result in a temporary file.

Display the list of installed perls

It can also do “char-mode” or “fuzzy” matching for increased convenience. For example, type this:

% perlbrew switch 10<tab>

and it will complete to (assuming you have perl 5.10.1 installed):

% perlbrew switch 5.10.1

Source code

The source code for _perlbrew is about 300 lines and I believe is fairly easy to write.

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