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Perl in a Nutshell

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Previous: VIII. Win32 Chapter 19 Next: 19.2 Win32::Console

19. Win32 Modules and Extensions

If you use Perl on a Win32 system, a number of extension modules are available to provide Windows-specific functionality. Extension modules consist of a regular module written in Perl and a library written in C or C++ that can implement native Windows calls. The core of available modules is bundled together as lib-win32 on CPAN, and with ActivePerl, Activestate's version of Perl for Win32. They provide such functionality as managing Windows processes, NT user administration, registry modification, and OLE automation.

The Win32 modules were originally written for Windows NT systems, so much of the functionality of the Win32 library is only applicable to Perl running on Windows NT. Many modules check to see which system they are on before installing. Many of the NT-specific modules such as NetAdmin and EventLog do not install at all on Windows 95. Modules like Registry do their best to work on both systems, despite the differences in their registries.

This chapter covers most of the modules and extensions included in lib-win32 and distributed with ActivePerl. Additional Windows modules are available at CPAN.

The following modules are described in this chapter:


Provide Windows clipboard interaction


Provide Windows console interaction


Create and use ChangeNotification objects


Read from and write to the Windows NT event log


Manage file attributes (read-only, system, hidden...)


Manage ACLs in Perl


Provide extensions for Internet services


Wait for objects (processes, mutexes, semaphores)


Create and use mutexes


Administer users and groups


Manage resources (servers, file shares, printers)


Start and stop Win32 processes


Read and manage the Win32 Registry


Create and use semaphores


Manage Windows NT services


Provide shell link interface

The reference material for the Clipboard, Console, Internet, and Shortcut modules was graciously provided by Aldo Capini, author and maintainer of many Win32 modules ( http://www.divinf.it/dada/perl/ ).

The final section of this chapter describes OLE automation in Perl programs and details the Win32::OLE modules.

19.1 Win32::Clipboard

The Win32::Clipboard module allows you to manipulate the Windows clipboard. You can use the clipboard as an object with the following syntax:

$clip = Win32::Clipboard();
This functions as an implicit constructor. If you include a text string as an argument, that text will be placed on the clipboard. You can just use the package-qualified method names instead of the object syntax, since the clipboard is a single entity.
$text = Win32::Clipboard::Get();
Win32::Clipboard::Set("blah blah blah");
Alternatively, you can use the clipboard as an object with this syntax:
$Clip = Win32::Clipboard();
$text = $Clip->Get();
$Clip->Set("blah blah blah");