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Re: Module abstract: Is its length still limited?

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James E Keenan
November 8, 2005 06:31
Re: Module abstract: Is its length still limited?
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Andreas J. Koenig wrote:

>>>>>>On Tue, 08 Nov 2005 10:41:27 +1300, Sam Vilain <> said:
>   > On Sun, 2005-11-06 at 07:51 +0100, Andreas J. Koenig wrote:
>  >> > So, the question I would now ask:  How rigidly should I enforce the 
>  >> > 44-character limit if I am guiding someone in the task of creating 
>  >> > proper Perl modules?
>  >> As the module list is dead, we cannot really argue in favor of 44
>  >> characters except with the one argument of tradition/best practice. I
>  >> believe when 3815 authos have managed to describe their modules in 44
>  >> characters, then it should be doable for some other 3815000 modules
>  >> too.
>   > Yes, let's keep it short.  But how about increasing the limit to 60 or
>   > so?  Many a time I would've liked an extra word or two.
>  >> There's an old business advice that you shouldn't start an enterprize
>  >> if you cannot describe its mission in a single sentence. I think its
>  >> true for modules too.
>   > There are very few sentences that fit in 44 characters.  60 characters I
>   > think still honours this principle.
> I will be very happy if you guys decide something and let me know.
> I'll adjust the code for the forms on PAUSE then.
It's not clear to me which "guys" get to make this decision.  I don't 
know how the original 44-character limit came about.

IMHO, 44 characters is nowadays too short and 60 maybe too short as 
well.  I'd prefer to err on the side of generosity and say 100 
characters.  Or perhaps:  Only as many characters as will fit in one 
line in a typical browser at a default font size on the author's home 
page on CPAN (68-ish).  Or perhaps:  the magic 78 recommended by Damian 
for lines in text editors.  As you can see, this is largely a question 
of taste.

But this decision can be informed by empirical research.  Perhaps we 
should take a look at ABSTRACTs for distros written by very prolific 
CPAN contributors such as DCONWAY, AUTRIJUS, BDFOY, etc., and see what 
they have done in this regard, i.e., how long are their ABSTRACTs?

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