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Re^3: RFC: New rootlevel CPAN namespace: XHTML (mean)

by tye (Sage)
on May 08, 2003 at 16:31 UTC ( #256584=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to (jeffa) 2Re: RFC: New rootlevel CPAN namespace: XHTML
in thread RFC: New rootlevel CPAN namespace: XHTML

Why is it "mean" to improve someone else's work? The only hope for CPAN to "scale" is for this attitude of "Don't touch my/his/her module!" to go away.

We all have blind spots. In my experience, the best software has been touched by several hands, each making improvements that the previous author was (relatively) "blind" to.

Also, once one succeeds at the challenge of getting a module working well enough to bother to upload it to CPAN, the motivation to work on it will typically decrease, often by a large amount.

Your first choice should be to improve an existing CPAN module. The idea of taking your turn at "taking over" the module should not be an unpleasant thought. Nor should the thought of letting someone else take over for you (if you aren't up to directing the merging of their improvements in). I'd think that most new authors would allow previous authors to have influence on the module if they wish to.

Try to think of the greater, common good. Be respectful of each other and of the history/heritage of the module, but please don't run away from making one really great module instead of yet another similar (better in at least some ways) module such that it just continues to get harder and harder to pick which module to use.

                - tye
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Re: Re^3: RFC: New rootlevel CPAN namespace: XHTML (mean)
by Rich36 (Chaplain) on May 08, 2003 at 16:47 UTC

    Is there a standard way to request that someone contribute to a module? It would be nice to have something on CPAN like the "Project Help Wanted" link that's on where people could view postings about people who need assistance in developing or maintaining a module. I've always wanted to contribute something to CPAN, but have had a hard time coming up with anything that's not already there. Helping with maintenance or a rewrite would be a great option.


      Repeat after me: "You don't need permission"

      If you want to help out, do the following:

      • Download modules that you find interesting.
      • Review their source.
      • If you find any problems or think of new features, contact the author (preferably with some code).
      • Give the author adequate time to respond, and email again in a week or so if they haven't responded yet. Do a little asking around in case they're on vacation or something.
      • If they still haven't responded release the code on your own.

      Don't worry too much about stepping on toes. Any good open source author will take the time to maintain his or her work or pass control on.

      Thanks for contributing :)

Re: Re^3: RFC: New rootlevel CPAN namespace: XHTML (mean)
by elusion (Curate) on May 08, 2003 at 19:46 UTC
    If you take over a CPAN module that needs help, do you redesign the interface if it needs it? Breaking the interface is considered bad, I think... but sometimes it's too broken to keep.

    elusion :

      I was waiting for someone with more experience in this matter to answer your question ... but since no one has i will share my opinion. Breaking an interface is considered bad, unless no one was using it in the first place. At the very least, instead of simply yanking out API calls and replacing them with new ones, you should instead keep the old calls and 'deprecate' them. By this you could emmit a warning when an old API call is called, telling the module coder to instead use the new API call. Then, after some time has passed, you might get away with yanking out those old API calls.

      The idea is to first give some an indication that certain methods are going to go away -- just don't make the users have to make a trip to the local planning office cellar and have to search by torchlight for a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard" to find out that their favorite API call is being demolished to make way for a new bypass. :D


      (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)

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