It’s possible to disable the autohistory feature in Term::ReadLine backends and take control of how to populate history.

From time to time I use Term::ReadLine to provide a nicer interface to the user. I’m not exactly fond of these CLIs, but they can be useful.


Term::ReadLine is in Perl core so you don’t have to install it.


Remember to install a decent backend. By default you get a stub implementation that does not really support much, like basic history management. Without it, I find it on par to a simple readline.

At the very minimum you might install is Term::ReadLine::Perl; if possible, you might want to look at Term::ReadLine::Perl5 or even Term::ReadLine::Gnu.

It might be that you will need to install Term::ReadKey. It’s not entirely clear to me where this is indeed necessary; in my small test in a Linux box I just got a warning that I was able to silence without losing the functionalities I was after.

Enough with installing.

History Control

One thing that you usually get out of the box is autohistory: whatever is typed gets automatically added to the history, avoiding repetitions. This is a decent default, but fails miserably when you don’t want to save some commands (e.g. with passwords).

I have to thank LanX on Perl Monks for this post, where this concern is addressed and solved! This is a sample code based on that example:

#!/usr/bin/env perl
use 5.024;
use warnings;
use Term::ReadLine;

my $term = Term::ReadLine->new('Hello, World!');
my $out = $term->OUT || \*STDOUT;
say {$out} 'using ', $term->ReadLine;

# This disables autohistory

my $last_added = '';
while (defined (my $input = $term->readline('input> '))) {
   say {$out} "you told <$input> (use up arrow to recall past inputs)";
   next if $input eq $last_added;
   $input =~ s{\A password .*}{password }mxs;
   $last_added = $input;

When you run it, you will notice that when you write e.g. password 53cr31 you then get password in the history.

Thanks LanX!