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Re: CPAN Module Evaluation Red-Flags

by greenFox (Vicar)
on Jul 28, 2003 at 09:44 UTC ( #278374=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to CPAN Module Evaluation Red-Flags

Here's my list of green flags
  • The module is a standard one in the Perl distribution.
  • The module shows signs of maintenance, ie a release history and/or a recent release date.
  • The module has an active support community such as the Perl-LDAP or Perl/Tk modules have.
  • I have seen the module (often) recommended as a solution here.
  • I have seen the module recommended elsewhere, ie merlyn's columns perl.com article etc.
  • The module has a review here with positive comments.
  • The author is well known in the community.

I think asking here is a fair approach too, something along the lines of "I am trying to solve X and I have found modules <list> on CPAN of which I can see <blah>, does any-one have any experience with this? " which shows you have thought about it and especially if it comes with a promise to write a review on which ever module is chosen :)

--
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. -Basho

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re: CPAN Module Evaluation Red-Flags
by liz (Monsignor) on Jul 28, 2003 at 12:44 UTC
    ...The module shows signs of maintenance, ie a release history and/or a recent release date...

    But a non-recent release date is not necessarily a red flag. Nicholas Clarke raised this at the YAPC::Europe. Some modules are just perfect the way they are. And releasing a new version just to appear to be a "good" module, seems like a waste of everybody's time to him (and me for that matter).

    So I personally would give this a way lower weight in the determination of the usability of a module.

    Liz

      Right. Just as I don't mind using a 1902 edition of Calculus text book. Still the same Calculus.

        I haven't looked at 1902 Calculus texts, but I have looked at Victorian trigonometry books. The mathematics hasn't changed, but the discussion, the presentation are very different. Frankly, the old books are very hard to understand.

        --
        TTTATCGGTCGTTATATAGATGTTTGCA

      I agree completely, thats why I listed green flags, I am looking for the things that give the module a pass. Also I wouldn't make a judgement based on any one thing on my list I am looking for clusters of ticks.

      --
      Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. -Basho

      MJD said the same thing about Text::Template :)

      Greetz
      Beatnik
      ... I'm belgian but I don't play one on TV.
Re: Re: CPAN Module Evaluation Red-Flags
by shenme (Priest) on Jul 28, 2003 at 16:07 UTC
    The module shows signs of maintenance, ie a release history ...

    I really like to check a module's changelog looking particularly for this:

    • evidence that input from others has helped improve the quality and/or feature set of the module
    I see this as a direct reflection that:
    • people are using the module and pleased enough to want to improve it
    • the module author cares enough about the module to respond well (even to ego bumps)
    • the module is evolving into a better implementation under the best testing - use in the real world
    In the absence of a maillist archive for the module the changelog is a view into how well the module/author/user has succeeded in the real world. This helps me feel good about how well it will succeed in my world.
      Good points ++ I would also see these as evidence of my third point that the module has an active support community- I am looking to see that the module will get supported no matter what.

      --
      Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. -Basho

Re: Re: CPAN Module Evaluation Red-Flags
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Jul 28, 2003 at 11:58 UTC

    The module is a standard one in the Perl distribution.

    I agree with this, but you have to caveat it with "which distribution" (there are a few) and "for which version of perl". IMO anything that gets in either the base standard distro or the AS distro at any version is good (beyond version specific stuff like the new 5.8 IO:: modules.)


    ---
    demerphq

    <Elian> And I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in having an OO assembly language...

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