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Re: I am most likely to install a new module from CPAN if:

by Tux (Abbot)
on Apr 02, 2019 at 14:00 UTC ( #1232012=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to I am most likely to install a new module from CPAN if:

First of all: does it give me a/the solution to the problem I have.

  • It has a recent release
    Depends on the reason. A proven well-behaving module might not need a regular release.
    Way more important is a good ChangeLog with the release.
  • The newest release passes all its tests
    Depends on the coverage (sorry BrowserUK, this *does* matter). It is easy to make a module to pass all tests if there is only one test that tests nothing: ok (1, "Make it PASS!"); is a legal but useless test
    I certainly prefer the release to pass all tests, but if the only FAIL'ing test is an ill-written test that depends on floating points being rounded to 12 digits instead of 32 on a system with long long long doubles, I do not really care. Likewise fir 1 nanosecond differences in speedtests.
  • Its tests have good coverage
    Yes, but with well-defined tests. It is not hard to write a test suite that covers all of the code, without testing its functionality.
  • It is of high kwalitee
    Prefered, as that shows that the author is aware of possible issues, but in the end it doesn't say a thing about the functionality, the usability or the correctness of the code.
  • It has many MetaCPAN ++s
    Depends if the ++'s are recent. ++'s on version 0.12 from 2001 are not useful at all if the current version is 2.34 from 2019.
    And ++'s do not have to be for the part of the code I am interested in.
  • There are no long-standing open bugs
    Depends. If I am working on Linux and the open bugs only affect Windows or vice-versa, I do not care at all.
  • It is pure perl (ie. no XS)
    Preferably the other way around :) Most XS modules are way faster than the PP counterparts.
  • It has no/few non-core dependencies
    CORE deps are fine: they will be there. Period.
    Non-core deps depend. There is no use in writing a DBD module without using DBI.
    I *hate* authors depending on useless non-core modules (however useful for them) like Modern::Perl, sanity, and common::sense. Depending on those are a red flag to me.
  • Many other modules use it
    I agree here with BrowserUK: a useless metric if all those are from the same author. That would be an indication of reinventing a wheel.
  • The author is prolific
    That is a void option. Way more important is if the author is responsible and acts/reacts in a mannered way to bug reports and/or questions. Check (recent) issues and tickets for questions and answers to see if the level of support is meeting your needs.
  • It is as generic as possible
    Non-issue. Why would this be a reason to use/reject a module?
  • The licence is acceptable (Artistic/GPL/BSD - delete as appropriate)
    *I* don't care, as long as I am licensed top use it for free.
  • It has good reviews*
    Where? By whom? Do the reviews talk about the functionality I want to use or just about how well the GUI looks that I do not plan to use?
  • It has extensive and clear documentation
    Very important. It must be up-to-date, complete and easy to read (not full of typos or words that only someone with a native tongue will recognize).
  • It is recommended by a Monk
    That might help, though it of course depends on how well I trust that monk (agreeing with BrowserUK again).

And additionally

  • A well defined minimum version of perl (with a reason)
  • A complete META file
  • A location for tickets (RT/GitHub)
  • A location for help (IRC/MailingList/GitHub)
  • An examples section in the docs or an examples folder in the dist with easy to understand code chunks
  • Consistent code style. At least in the documentation
  • A README and/or INSTALL doc if make install is not enough
  • Conforms to standards (when applicable)

Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: I am most likely to install a new module from CPAN if:
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Apr 02, 2019 at 15:22 UTC

    Only one bone of contention here:

    Depends on the coverage (sorry BrowserUK, this *does* matter). It is easy to make a module to pass all tests if there is only one test that tests nothing: ok (1, "Make it PASS!"); is a legal but useless test

    Coverage tools have there place; and that place is for authors, not users!

    An automated coverage tool can act as a sanity check; as a guide for the author to decide if s/he has written all the test s/he believes are necessary.

    But the moment the numerical summation produced by a dumb code evaluator becomes a tool for users to judge the quality of an author's work and decisions, software development goes to hell in a hand basket.

    Until code coverage tools get smart enough to actually write the tests for all the places they suggest need one; they should serve only as suggestions to the human being charged with writing them. And any user who believes that 100% coverage tells them anything about the quality of the testing is in for a very rude awakening.

    In the end, always run my own sanity check of the functionality I import from 3rd party modules, and if it appears to produce the correct results for my usage, all the gibberish numbers (supposedly good or bad) produced by the automated test/coverage/kwality/et al tools and processes are entirely meaningless.


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". The enemy of (IT) success is complexity.
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Suck that fhit

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