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Re: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?

by tinita (Parson)
on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:32 UTC ( #676089=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What can bring the excitement back to Perl?

a note about CPAN: what i think is important for the future is to centralize it. At the moment you have PAUSE for your account to upload modules, you have an account for the request tracker, an account for the discussion forum, an account for annocpan, an account for, an account for the ratings (oh wait, this is the same as the rt-account, isn't it?), ...

what i also miss is the source for the various cpan-sites. if it has scaling problems people might want to have a look at the sources and maybe make suggestions.

  • Comment on Re: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?

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Re^2: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?
by zby (Vicar) on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:42 UTC
    I totally agree with you that it needs a single sign on (maybe CPAN could provide an OpenId account?) - but I don't think that requires centralisation.

    And talking about the scaling problems. What I had in mind was not problems on the infrastructure layer - the technology should work OK with even much bigger repository - but rather things like: the dependency problems, difficulty of finding the right module and duplication of modules making it confusing for newcomers and aggravating the other issues.

      I totally agree with you that it needs a single sign on (maybe CPAN could provide an OpenId account?) - but I don't think that requires centralisation.

      well, if you have a module on CPAN, you'll get emails directly to your cpan address, you will get emails from RT (people even post bug reports on annocpan where they don't belong), to check out the ratings you have to check out the web page, to check out the discussion forum you have to check the web page (or subscribe to get postings per email? haven't tried it out), to get the latest tests you subscribe to an RSS feed (this is something i like).

      there is no pointer to how to set up a gravatar (mine has worked for a couple of days before it vanished, and i don't know why).

      don't get me wrong, it's nice that there are many tools but there are kind of thrown together, and with gravatar as an example, poorly documented (in the orignal posting on perlbuzz it says 'create a gravatar-account with your cpan-address'. which one? the private or public address? i had to try out both. where can i ask?)

        which one? the private or public address?

        Setting it to the "Publicly visible email address (published in many listings)", as specified on my Account Info page, worked for me ... though *my* public address is not "CENSORED". (I love spam ... already won over 2000000 Euro, this week alone.)

      It could provide, or just simply have support baked in. Either way, it would beat having multiple logins for the same site.
Re^2: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?
by whakka (Hermit) on Mar 25, 2008 at 18:59 UTC

    CPAN could definitely be more user-friendly. I came to it as a complete newbie to programming and was overwhelmed at first, it was absolutely imperative for me to glean as much wisdom from perlmonks as possible. But is that the best way to go about things if you're trying to attract users? I still have to dig through perlmonks to find the appropriate module for some specific task X, and then test out a bunch before I settle on one I can manage fairly easily.

    I have read from someone here before that CPAN shouldn't be changed to accommodate users like myself since that would favor the older, popular, and (perhaps, perhaps not) more inferior modules. But why is this such a Bad Thing? It seems the Perl community is deathly afraid of any action that may stifle innovation. But to me there's obvious parallels elsewhere in the open source world, and I think Firefox's extensions is one such thing (see here). You have a compact front page with links to search and popular extensions as well as major categories. Individual extension pages have short snippets explaining the major functions of the extension. I install with a mouse-click on a big green button. Extensive documentation is several clicks away. The rating system is widely used (let's be honest - CPAN's is somewhat worthless). With this setup I don't have to go mucking about tech blogs to find extensions that I like and use on a daily basis.

    Aside from being ignorant, my other problem is being a Windows user (a fatal combination, I know). Installing modules is can be somewhat of a pain for me if I can't use ppm, and then ActiveState's repository is rather poor on updating (even with widely-used modules) so I have to go fishing for repositories that do update if I want to be able to install an updated module easily. Otherwise I have to go get some Microsoft executable and change something else (obviously I haven't figured that one out).

    All that whining aside, I love Perl and the ease with which I can do any number of things with little effort. It has been a joy to learn and the community is really what keeps it viable. It would be nice, even from my perspective, if it didn't have to rely on it so much though.

      It is such a "Bad Thing" because it would reduce the power of CPAN. The community feels very strongly that what we have definitely needs to stick around.

      BUT . . . it doesn't have to be the only thing. If you want to set up an easier way to find and install modules, go right ahead! In fact, if you're willing to put in some work, I'm pretty sure Andreas would love to have help with CPAN. I've discussed some things with him in the past and he's a great guy to work with. Just talking about it doesn't help anybody. Go ahead and do it. Just make sure it's compatible and life is good.

      As for Win32, check out Strawberry Perl.

      My criteria for good software:
      1. Does it work?
      2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

        Thank you, dragonchild, first and foremost, for the reference to Strawberry Perl.

        I didn't mean to belittle the opinion that CPAN shouldn't be touched, nor that I should just sit around and complain, nor that those who contribute don't provide an invaluable service to everyone, not least of which myself. Rather I was trying to constructively point out my own mini wishlist, thinking that making CPAN and the better parts of Perl more accessible to the uninitiated may be relevant to a discussion of drawing new users to Perl. The fact that you dismissed it out-of-hand shows that it's a tired argument, and I apologize for that.

        > As for Win32, check out Strawberry Perl.

        To be honest, what he REALLY wants is Chocolate Perl.

        For a while now, it's been my intention that we have...

        Vanilla Perl - Experimentation

        Strawberry Perl - Perl people that don't know Windows.

        Chocolate Perl - Windows people that don't know Perl

        Having a viable Chocolate Perl is the big pay day, because with the cornucopia of CPAN behind it we are in a position to create a high profile scripting language for doing Windows sysadmin and utility programming that doesn't rely on Microsoft, that won't change unexpectedly, that doesn't cost anything, and that you can whip up a quick solution to your problem even with nothing but Notepad.

        That would be exciting!
      It's a common misconception what CPAN is. CPAN is a distributed archive where users may store perl-related resources for public use. Additionaly there's a little bit of infrastructure around it (a permission system for module namespaces etc.)

      Anything else is just an add-on around the core CPAN. is just a useful view at CPAN, but it must not be the only one . In fact, there's also kobesearch providing an alternative view. There you find a listing of PPM packages for Win32 for every distribution.

      And it's quite easy to provide an additional view to CPAN. Recently I wrote the CPAN Testers Matrix because I was not satisfied with the test report presentation on Currently it's ennobled by being linked from both and kobesearch.

      I happen also to like the cpanratings. It's usually the first page I am reading each morning.

        Actually I have a patched version of the module that generates the CPAN Testers gui. Unfortunately it has not yet been installed on the production server.

        It can be seen here CPAN Testers at szabgab with the extra part being here: stats

        It also has a cross reference of successful reports like this one ACME::Error

      CPAN is not
        For newbies and non-programmers, it most certainly is.

        To the user, the user interface is the application.


Re^2: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?
by perrin (Chancellor) on Mar 25, 2008 at 14:25 UTC
    There was an attempt at single sign-on using Bitcard, but it hasn't covered all services yet. Maybe it needs to be extended.
Re^2: What can bring the excitement back to Perl?
by eserte (Deacon) on Mar 25, 2008 at 20:29 UTC
    Many sources are at CPAN itself: AnnoCPAN and CPAN::Forum, RT is available from Best Practical. Gravatar is not perl IMHO. PAUSE itself is only available via svn, but I think there are hardly any problems with it.

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