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Re^3: CPAN - wheat from the chaff

by jfrm (Monk)
on Aug 21, 2006 at 23:04 UTC ( #568710=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: CPAN - wheat from the chaff
in thread CPAN - wheat from the chaff

Well, I agree that it is an important question as it is just this sort of issue that can put off potential PERL converts before they get involved.

Naturally, I'm not keen on the "nothing" idea or I wouldn't have asked the question. The Module Review sounds like one of those ideas that is fine in theory but unlikely to work in practice as it sounds like it would require a lot of startup and ongoing work.

The popularity of something is not necessarily a good indicator that it's the best thing to use so I'd suggest this is not the right road.

I don't think I quite agree with the comment on chaff. Of course one man's chaff is another's wheat but, if we agree that the word chaff should be replaced with something less contentious - then there are certainly still modules that I (and as I'm a fairly typical semi-competent developer, I expect I speak for many) don't want to see when searching and they are easily categorised into 3 types
1. "inadvisable" modules (poorly written, no support, not cross-platform etc.) 2. modules that have been largely superceded by something else for most general purposes. 3. modules that are to all intents and purposes only used as submodules and are not useful by themselves.

I'm not sure any of the proposed courses of action would give me this TBH. But the categorised Q&A would meet the requirement without too much additional work so may be a good compromise.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^4: CPAN - wheat from the chaff
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 22, 2006 at 12:29 UTC
    Possible automatic checks for
    Inadvisable
    Check for documentation, version and last modification
    Superceded
    Superceded modules are mentionened in the documentation of the superceding module (as such), not used in the source and not downloaded as often as the superceding module
    Submodules
    Submodules are used by their parents and start with the name of the parent
      Yes, these are good tests. I'm not sure if you're meaning that we should try to automate them or I should just spend time doing them manually. If it's the latter, while what you say is true, it misses my point which is that it would be a lot more efficient to just have a list of the "good" (sorry to be contentious again, let me call them "key") modules.

      For example: I want to do object database work. Here is my vision:

      I spend 10 mins looking through the list of "good" modules/libraries (whatever you want to call them) and see that either Rose or DBIx are the currently recommended starting places.

      Here is the status quo:

      I spend a couple of hours searching the Internet and perl monks and CPAN and find that there's a well-used module called Class::DBI. I spend half a day reading the documenation and tinkering with it and realise it's OK. I then post a couple of questions re implementation. Another half a day later, someone points out to me that Rose and DBIx would be a better bet. I spend another 2 or 3 hours trying to ascertain the truth of this, reading their documentation to see if it's good and nothing is deprecated and reading comparison reviews before finally realising that indeed I should switch to Rose or DBIx.

      I prefer my 10 minute vision to the "days of wasted time" scenario.

      The only part about this is that isn't true is the fact that the "days of wasted time" scenario isn't an example - it's the reality that happened to me last week. It's also about the third time that I have been through a similar frustrating process when after different modules. Probably some readers at this point are thinking "what a dork - he should have done this or realised that" Well, I realise that I am not an expert developer but I'm not especially stupid either. CPAN is all about not wasting people's time - resuable software is about not wasting time. So, my question is this - why does the CPAN index waste so much of my time?!
        ... ummmm.

        And who buys the hours and days for you?

        Please note, that's two questions in one.

        The less interesting is the one re finding someone to spend her time to save your time; the more interesting is "why would you expect one evaluator/indexer's estimate of 'the right size' to fit all?"
        Or is it your vision that your needs will always be satisfied by someone else's evaluations?

        So why does my remark bite chase its own tail? Perhaps because the pros and cons re the OP do so likewise?

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