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Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?

by nysus (Priest)
on Dec 19, 2017 at 20:46 UTC ( #1205871=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

CPAN works flawlessly, and as every PerlMonk knows, it is one of the Seven Programming Wonders of the World. But I'm curious to know if there have been any efforts to overhaul and modernize the CPAN interface, particularly PAUSE and the bug reporting site at rt.cpan.org. Is anything in the works? Has this been a topic of discussion amongst Larry Wall or any of the other lesser Perl Gods who oversee it?

Personally, I would love to see these great resources brought up to date with a more modern interface. I know, I get it, these sites probably work without javascript and on every browser since Mosaic. But there must be a way to keep both the purists and developers who are into the superficialities happy.

I'm curious to know what the seasoned Monks think. Does CPAN need a facelift?

Downvotes and nasty ad homs welcomed and encouraged for entertainment purposes. More thoughtful comments are welcome as well.

$PM = "Perl Monk's";
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Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by stevieb (Abbot) on Dec 19, 2017 at 21:06 UTC

    CPAN::Uploader to upload to PAUSE; no more web UI. As far as RT, I use Github Issues, which integrates perfectly with the appropriate config in one's Makefile.PL on imho the much better CPAN front-end, MetaCPAN.

    Here's an example Makefile.PL that forces the use of Github properties on your MetaCPAN page for your distribution, making your dist page look like this.

      Let's say you are a new developer. You're eighteen years old and you are checking out Perl and CPAN. You sign up for an account on PAUSE and see an interface that was created in 1995, before you were born. Let's be totally honest, you aren't going to be excited by what you see.

      Yeah, CPAN and PAUSE are fine for me, too, and I've bypassed PAUSE and can get links on my man page to github with Dist::Zilla. I'm just trying to put myself in the shoes of others who will be judging books by their covers because they have little else to go on.

      $PM = "Perl Monk's";
      $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate Priest";
      $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
      Click here if you love Perl Monks

        I would hope that anyone who solely judges books by their covers don't bother even attempting to put anything up on the CPAN, so it's the base security measure for code quality uploaded :P

        I'm just trying to put myself in the shoes of others who will be judging books by their covers because they have little else to go on.

        They have all that is between the covers. This implicates turning a heavy page, for sure. Perl can't and won't lure people into its lair by shiney covers, because it can't deliver. It isn't: shiney. Well, for some time, before getting into it.

        perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'
Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by hippo (Canon) on Dec 19, 2017 at 22:46 UTC
    I'm curious to know what the seasoned Monks think. Does CPAN need a facelift?

    No it doesn't.

    As a counterpoint look at what has happened to CPAN Ratings this year. There was a facelift put in place there to make it look and feel more "modern". The only problem is that the new version doesn't actually work. It's still broken more than 6 months later.

    All the eye-candy for the fidget-spinner generation won't help anyone if the functionality is gone. Function first, then form.

    As stevieb has outlined there are plenty of ways to tailor the CPAN experience for those who would choose to. The same is also true of this very monastery. But few bother to go to those lengths because these systems just work.

      OK, but we will assume that it works for the sake of argument. Working well and looking good are not mutually exclusive (yes, it takes a hell of a lot of work). Take GitHub as an example. It's performant, easy to use, and has an appealing, minimalist design.

      $PM = "Perl Monk's";
      $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate Priest";
      $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
      Click here if you love Perl Monks

        > Take GitHub as an example. It's performant, easy to use, and has an appealing, minimalist design.

        It's also a service that gets money from its customers, unlike CPAN.

        ($q=q:Sq=~/;[c](.)(.)/;chr(-||-|5+lengthSq)`"S|oS2"`map{chr |+ord }map{substrSq`S_+|`|}3E|-|`7**2-3:)=~y+S|`+$1,++print+eval$q,q,a,
        OK, but we will assume that it works for the sake of argument.

        That is not an argument for me then because I am not foolish enough to assume the precondition.

        Working well and looking good are not mutually exclusive

        Working well is objective, looking good is subjective.

Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by Laurent_R (Canon) on Dec 20, 2017 at 21:54 UTC

      Ah, yes, this "Perl Toolchain Gang" kept coming up in searches related to my queries. I had never seen or heard of them until the last couple of days. I only vaguely surmised they were into helping to create tools for Perl's infrastructure. Thanks so much for these links.

      $PM = "Perl Monk's";
      $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate Priest";
      $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
      Click here if you love Perl Monks

Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by shmem (Chancellor) on Dec 20, 2017 at 17:00 UTC
    Does CPAN need a facelift?

    If it wouldn't be a fact that almost every time A Grand Idea thunders into my mind and, after quickly searching CPAN for such, I'd find that this Grand Idea had already been conceived, put into coding action and completed with the result of Some::Fine::Module, and if I were only a bit ahead of my time, I would have long ago written a vim macro which does make, make test, make clean, make dist and post it to CPAN by just issuing

    :publish

    in vim, which does all PAUSE interaction in a neat perlish way, using LWP, WWW::Mechanize and whatnot.

    And I would have extended that to also check whether that module is mine or somebody elses, and derived from that whether to just commit or issue a pull request and whatnot. Maybe I'll do that some day and publish the result here or elsewhere, but for now that isn't anywhere on my workbench queue.

    Do I need JavaScript or fancy CSS to install Modules? No. Why should I need such to publish? There's perlbug to report perl bugs, mailing lists etc. Why should I use a browser?

    So, no, CPAN doesn't need a facelift. It doesn't even need to have a face. It lives because of its content.

    perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'
Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by 1nickt (Monsignor) on Dec 20, 2017 at 11:57 UTC

    You should go back to Drupal. It has shiny web pages and form always trumps function.

    You should also give some thought to why your posts and even questions are receiving downvotes, rather than being so cavalier and dismissive about it. You claim to be here seeking the wisdom of "seasoned monks" but in fact you disregard almost everything you're told.

    The best thing you personally can do for CPAN is not clutter it up.


    The way forward always starts with a minimal test.
Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 20, 2017 at 06:25 UTC

    Downvotes and nasty ad homs welcomed and encouraged for entertainment purposes. More thoughtful comments are welcome as well.

    Great!

    So some guy can't be arsed to RTFM,

    wants somebody else to spend money to "modernize" (whatever that means),

    some interface which 1) works as is

    2) is not used that much

    because he is unhappy ?

    Classic asshole :)

Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 20, 2017 at 07:19 UTC
Re: Efforts to modernize CPAN interface?
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Dec 22, 2017 at 16:15 UTC

    CPAN is a very-mission-critical software system that presently works.   It is used by an unknowable number of projects throughout the planet.   Function, and predictable stability, is far more important than appearances.   (Kindly notice that PerlMonks continues to look and, to function much as it has done for ... decades.)   Suggestions for functional or use-case improvements should be welcomed, but an engineering tool whose purpose is to provide access to a vast software repository has no particular need to be “sexy” ... nor to be possibly-destabilized in pursuit of it.   Freight locomotives are not good-looking, except to railfans . . .

    I would absolutely treat any such proposal just as I would for any client, as one which inherently manifests a substantial amount of business risk.   You should bring to the table a concrete set of proposed changes, along with an assessment of the perceived benefits and potential risks.   If the proposal gains traction, a very-detailed project plan and test plan will then be expected, along with an assessment of costs, calculated just as though the developers who were tasked with doing (and gruelingly testing) the changes were making their salary and not volunteering.   (If they actually are, in this case ...)

    It will not be easy and, if I may suggest this just might be why it has never been implemented.   I am certain that it has been proposed many times before.

    But, if you would like to have a go start with your detailed change-plan and benefit/risks assessment . . .

      For now, I would just say an effort could be made to make only the most superficial, easiest fixes for now that entail about zero risk. If your house has no curb appear, do the easy stuff first. So if, for example, you've got an old couch sitting on the front lawn, start by getting rid of that instead of scraping off the peeling paint and repainting. Like, just what the hell is that box in the upper left of the page on PAUSE? OK, it's a pause in a musical score. Pure geek humor. But really, it looks like the site is badly broken the way it's executed. And the menu literally looks like it's from 1995.

      Now, these are very simple fixes. And it seems to me that if someone were thinking about these kinds of things, they would have been done a long time ago. And so I'm asking myself, why have people left a couch sitting on the front lawn for 20 years? Why didn't someone move it? Perhaps this is done purposefully and the decidedly dated design is a kind of statement that Perl is no nonsense (I don't think the approach is working and there are probably much better ways to pull that effect off). Or maybe Perl programmers by nature don't pick up on these things and stop to think these superficialities are important. Personally, I think they are important.

      And I'm not knocking anyone here. I'm grateful for whoever put PAUSE up. But we all have our strengths and weaknesses and we also tend to focus on what we are good at and prioritize those things. And that's absolutely fine.

      $PM = "Perl Monk's";
      $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate Priest";
      $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
      Click here if you love Perl Monks

        So you've switched to couchy shoes on your monitor?

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