It has often been said that CPAN is Perl's 'killer app'. The biggest problem with CPAN however is finding what you want. is a fantastic tool for finding stuff but here's an idea for making it even 'fantasticer'...

When you click through to the main page for a distribution (eg: LWP) you get one link for CPAN Testers and another link for CPAN Request Tracker. Wouldn't it be great if there was another link called something like 'Discuss this module' that linked through to Perl Monks?

For this to work well, modifications would be required on both the search.cpan end and the PM end. On the PM side, the best idea would probably be to create a new section called 'CPAN Discussions' (perhaps some clever person could translate this to fit better with the monastery metaphor).

If someone followed a link to discuss the LWP distribution, the node they reached could include:

  • Links to reviews
  • Links to tutorials
  • Links to general comments
  • Links to version-specific comments
  • Links to relevant newsgroups, mailing lists, web sites ... (Edit: added)

Anyone could post replies to the main node in the standard PM style (eg: to say "this module is obselete, check out module 'XXX' instead"). When posting a reply, they could check a box to indicate whether their comment applied to a specific version of the distribution. A common use of replies would be to link through to relevant existing nodes.

I'm thinking that the link from might look something like:

But I have no idea how hard it would be to hack this into the Everything engine.

What do people think?

Update: Apparently Gabor thinks it's a good idea