Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Using multi-line commenting in Perl to inactivate blocks of code during testing

26th December 2019

Recently, I needed to inactivate blocks of code in a Perl script while doing some testing. This is something that I often do in other computing languages so I sought the same in Perl. To do that, I need to use the POD methodology. This meant enclosing the code as follows.

=start

<< Code to be inactivated by inclusion in a comment >>

=cut

The =start line could use any word after the equality sign but it seems that =cut is needed to close the multi-line comment. If this was actual programming documentation, then the comment block should include some meaningful text for use with perldoc but that was not a concern here since the commenting statements would be removed afterwards anyway and it is good practice not to leave commented code in a production script or program to avoid any later confusion.

In my case, this facility allowed me to isolate the code that I needed to alter and test before putting everything back as needed. It also saved time since I did not need to individually comment out every executable line because multiple lines could be inactivated at a time.

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