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Dear Monks:

Perl::Critic is a static source code analyzer that I've been working on for several months now. There is still much work to do, but I think the project is starting to reach a critical mass and I'm hoping to get some feedback from the Perl community. Some of the issues I'm concerned about are:

  • Interface and Configuration. I imagine that most folks will use Perl::Critic via the perlcritic command-line interface and use the .perlcriticrc file to configure Perl::Critic. Are these sufficiently robust and user-friendly?
  • Extensibility. I wrote Perl::Critic with the hope that other developers would create their own Policy modules to suit their own tastes. Doing so requires a working knowledge of PPI, which is the Critic's underlying mechanism for parsing the source code. Are the PPI and Perl::Critic APIs simple enough to encourage other developers to contribute to the project?
  • Editor Integration. Right now, Perl::Critic offers some degree of integration for savvy emacs and vim users. How can I get tighter integration with a broader range of editors and make the setup easier for non-guru types of people?
  • New Policies. As of version 0.13, Perl::Critic has Policies for about 50 of Conway's "best practices." Over time, I hope to implement as many of them as possible. Of the remaining practices, which ones would people like to see first?
  • Politics. Coding practices are always a sensitive area. Although I have used Conway's book as a reference, Perl::Critic is not limited to his rules and will even support contradicting rules. How can we design and represent Perl::Critic to serve the greater-good without alienating people or starting flame wars?
  • Next Steps. In the near future, I hope to enhance Perl::Critic to actually correct the code instead of just complaining about it. But I have no idea how that feature should be implemented or how it will affect the current architecture. What are your thoughts on this?

If you're not already familiar with Perl::Critic, I invite you to download it from CPAN and give it a try. Even if you don't agree with it's Policies, I think you'll find that it has the potential to be a very useful tool. I look forward to getting your feedback.



In reply to Request for Comments on Perl::Critic by jthalhammer

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