|The stupid question is the question not asked|
Would you stay with Perl if there were no CPAN?by sedusedan (Monk)
|on Apr 19, 2013 at 01:10 UTC||Need Help??|
I guess Perl would be pretty useless then. But that's actually a red herring question, because if CPAN doesn't exist now, people will soon create it or something like it.
The real question to ponder is: if you were to design something like CPAN today (a.k.a. 2013 instead of 1995), how would you design it? Assume things like RubyGems, PyPI, Packagist, npm are already there for us to steal good ideas from. Would you design it completely differently, or do you want nothing to change at all?
We are talking about the whole ecosystem here (PAUSE, the metadata, the clients, the accompanying services like CPANTesters, MetaCPAN, etc).
API instead of filesystem. Looking at the trends, the static pages and filesystem-oriented design are out, replaced by an API-/service-oriented one. A feature will soon be added, one which always remains absent from current CPAN: download/install counters.
More centralized. Servers are now usually powerful enough (in terms of CPU and bandwidth) to host something like a CPAN web application, so being distributed and FTP-/mirror-friendly now perhaps do not need to be a primary design criteria. A caching/proxy/minicpan-like mechanism can always be added later.
Client. The main CPAN client will be something no fuss and configless like cpanm right from the start, as there are no mirrors etc or static index files to choose/download anyway. Features like installing from github/bitbucket by pointing at a URL will be standard.
Metadata. Things that CPAN do right like separating build/test/runtime dependencies (something which most other languages do not bother to do) are certainly still in.
I actually love the Text::Something::Blah or WWW:: namespace style, so that will also stay in (it's a good balance between full reverse DNS style in Java like org.mycompany.Package.SubPackage, and unique+cryptic names in the Ruby/Python/npm world like cucumber/jinja/twig/whatever). One thing that should be popularized is for authors to add tags or categories metadata to its distributions (it's something that's already in the spec but rarely, if ever, used).
Updating module status, like marking it as deprecated, should be doable without creating a new release.
Something like BackPAN should definitely exist.
Other ideas: Live inside a single git repo or as a github project?
It's still early here and I'm still half awake. But I'll add more later.