Here’s a really cool development for ActivePerl users on Windows. MinGW is now available from the ActiveState PPM repository:
C:\>ppm install MinGW
This installs the MinGW tools (gcc, dlltool, ar, etc.) and dmake in ActivePerl’s ‘site/bin’ directory.
If you’re familiar with dmake and gcc, and how much of a hassle it used to be to get these tools working on Windows, you’ll already understand why having this available via PPM is good news. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s some explanation of why this is important:
Back when I used to handle technical support for ActivePerl, I’d occasionally get questions about installing CPAN modules that were not available from the ActiveState PPM repositories. Our PPM build system coverage of CPAN modules has improved greatly since those days, so there are a lot fewer modules that people need to install manually or with the CPAN shell. However, there are still occasions when building modules yourself is preferable or necessary.
To that end, we included some instructions for getting nmake or dmake in the PPM documentation. This was enough to get people building “pure perl” packages, but you would still need to install a compiler (MS Visual C/C++ or gcc) if you wanted to build binary modules. To quote CPAN’s module install guide:
Does the module require compilation (i.e. does it have files that end
in .xs, .c, .h, .y, .cc, .cxx, or .C)? If it does, you’re on your own.
Well, you’re not on your own anymore. Once you’ve installed MinGW with ppm on your Windows machine, you should be able to build and install binary modules with the CPAN shell.