Alexander Brett

Bundling App::SFDC for fun and profit

12 August 2015


Whilst installing perl and App::SFDC along with a (quite large) number of dependancies is fun, effective and powerful, it’s not always the best solution for Salesforce deployment tools. When you’re deploying from throwaway AWS instances or sending your tools to developers in foreign countries who want something that just works now, you may want to provide a ready-to-go bundle of code. Fortunately, programs such as PerlApp provide a pretty good way to achieve this.

I’m going to run through how to bundle App::SFDC to a standalone .exe suitable for deploying and retrieving metadata on a windows machine.

Introduction to PerlApp

The idea behind PerlApp is pretty straightforward: you point it at a script, and it calculates the module dependancies and bundles the perl interpreter along with all required modules into a .exe, which can then be run without a local perl installation - essentially, you run perlapp --exe SFDC.exe C:\perl64\site\bin\ .

Loading prerequisites

Of course, when you do this and run the resulting executable, there are some modules missing - it’s hard to detect all of the prerequisites, especially when they’re being dynamically loaded in. Examples of this are that WWW::SFDC loads in modules by running:

for my $module (qw'
    Apex Constants Metadata Partner Tooling
    has $module,
      is => 'ro',
      lazy => 1,
      default => sub {
        my $self = shift;
        require "WWW/SFDC/$"; ## no critic
        "WWW::SFDC::$module"->new(session => $self);

In a similar way, when you create a screen appender for Log::Log4perl , it quietly loads in Log::Log4perl::Appender::Screen. To fix this sort of issue, we add a few more arguments to perlapp:

perlapp  --add MooX::Options::Role^
 --add App::SFDC::Role::^
 --add Log::Log4perl::Appender::Screen^
 --add WWW::SFDC::^
 --exe SFDC.exe C:\perl64\site\bin\

Fixing SSL certification

Perl isn’t great at picking up a system’s SSL settings, especially installed certificates - and when the entire purpose of a script is to send HTTPS requests, it’s something that you just have to get right - lest you get errors like 500 C:\Users\ALEXAN~1\AppData\Local\Temp\pdk-alexanderbrett/Mozilla/CA/cacert.pem on disk corrupt at /<C:\Dev\App-SFDC\SFDC.exe>WWW/ line 66..

One successful workaround I’ve found to this sort of error, which works whenever curl is installed, is to use curl’s Certificate Authority file instead of perl’s. You can find this by running curl -v >nul and looking for the lines like:

* successfully set certificate verify locations:
*   CAfile: C:\Program Files (x86)\Git\bin\curl-ca-bundle.crt

Then, you set HTTPS_CA_FILE=C:\Program Files (x86)\Git\bin\curl-ca-bundle.crt and your HTTPS connections start working again. This amount of manual faffing around is more than most developers or AWS images want to do, and fortunately PerlApp has our back again - we can bind in arbitrary files, and specifiy arbitrary environment variables. Let’s add more arguments to perlapp:

--bind certs/cafile.crt[file="C:\Program Files (x86)\Git\bin\curl-ca-bundle.crt",text,mode=666]^
--env HTTPS_CA_FILE=certs/cafile.crt^

Binding Retrieve plugins

Since we’re going to be wanting to use App::SFDC::Command::Retrieve, we need to make sure the plugins and manifests mentioned are, in fact, included. By default they are installed to the perl share/ location, and PerlApp won’t see them! This is how to bind in the default values:

--bind manifests/base.xml[file=C:\perl64\site\lib\auto\Share\dist\App-SFDC-Metadata\manifests\base.xml,text,mode=666]^
--bind manifests/all.xml[file=C:\perl64\site\lib\auto\Share\dist\App-SFDC-Metadata\manifests\all.xml,text,mode=666]^
--bind plugins/[file=C:\perl64\site\lib\auto\Share\dist\App-SFDC-Metadata\plugins\,text,mode=777]^

We should also ensure any dependencies from are loaded:

--scan C:\perl64\site\lib\auto\Share\dist\App-SFDC-Metadata\plugins\

This is the point at which you may want to override these values! If you have specific requirements for your manifests, for the folders you want to retrieve, or anything like that, create your own versions of those files and bundle those in instead.

Why doesn’t it work yet?

This was all great up to v0.13, but now this approach stopped working from v0.14 onwards. At that point I moved from a monolithic everything-in-one package approach to a dynamically loading plugin-oriented architecture, which allows anybody to create a command by naming their package App::SFDC::Command::Foo. The code that makes that happen is:

       wanted => sub {push @commands, $1 if m'App/SFDC/Command/(\w*)\.pm'},
       no_chdir => 1
   grep {-e} map {$_.'/App/SFDC'} @INC;

…and this approach is completely broken by PerlApp - when running this, you get the error invalid top directory at /<C:\Dev\App-SFDC\SFDC.exe>File/ line 472., because PerlApp doesn’t create any recognisable directory structure for bundled modules - it provides an overloaded version of require which gets the required module from somewhere non-obvious.

After trying a few different things, it seems that the simplest way to achieve a nicely-bundled .exe is going to be to write a new script which avoids the pitfalls of detecting commands at runtime. We can, in fact, write a small perl program which writes the script for us (compare the output of this to - it’s the same idea, but static):

use strict;
use warnings;
use 5.12.0;
use App::SFDC;

my $commandArrayDefinition = 'my @commands = ("'
    . (join '","', @App::SFDC::commands) . '");';

say <<'HEAD';
package SFDC;
use strict;
use warnings;

say "use App::SFDC::Command::$_;" for @App::SFDC::commands;

say 'my @commands = ("'
        . (join '","', @App::SFDC::commands)
        . '");';

say <<'BODY';

my $usage = join "\n\n",
    "SFDC: Tools for interacting with",
    "Available commands:",
    (join "\n", map {"\t$_"} @commands),
    "For more detail, run: SFDC <command> --help";

my $command = shift;
exit 1 unless do {
    if ($command) {
        if (my ($correct_command) = grep {/^$command$/i} @commands) {
        } else {
            print $usage;
    } else {
        print $usage;


Tying it all together

Using perl -x in a batch file, we can combine the perl script-writing script and the call to PerlApp into one easy-to-digest package, by using some syntax like:

perl -x %0 >

perlapp ^
 --info CompanyName=Sophos;LegalCopyright="This software is Copyright (c) 2015 by Sophos Limited This is free software, licensed under the MIT (X11) License"^
 --norunlib --force --exe SFDC.exe

goto :endofperl

use strict;




For a full version, I’ve created a gist to play with.

Tags: SFDC Perl