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Searching and Browing (was: Re: New module: FLV file parsing)

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John M. Gamble
December 2, 2005 16:10
Searching and Browing (was: Re: New module: FLV file parsing)
Message ID:
Austin Schutz wrote:

>On Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 04:04:11PM -0600, Chris Dolan wrote:
>>So, I already published it as FLV::Info, but this discussion has  
>>convinced me that FileFormat::FLV is the best option.  I may use that  
>>name for v0.02.  My only hesitation is that nobody else seems to be  
>>using that top-level namespace at this time.
>>The FF:: namespace is a terrible idea, in my opinion.  I expect that  
>>it will be meaningless to the majority of module searchers.  The  
>>argument that search makes names irrelevant is just silly.
>	..because?
>	Ok, I want to do something with my flash file. I search for
>'flash file'...  Oh look, there's a flash file parser. Do I care what it's
>called? No. I concur that the module name is effectively meaningless, but I
>don't see that it makes any difference to the searcher.

Two bad assumptions here: 1) the searcher always knows what words to
search for, and 2) searching is an acceptable substitute for browsing.

In this case of course, 'flash' is pretty obvious and searching for it
should give one everything on CPAN, but in other cases this might not be
true. For example, I had a little trouble with the RSS and Atom
distinction, and had I been even more ignorant, I might have missed some
useful modules.

Taking the other side of the coin, browsing is much more useful when the
module has a name that can catch the eye. Right now we only have two
'browsing' modes in CPAN, the Recent Arrivals list, and the
all-but-useless Module List Chapter. I'd like to see true browsing,
arranged in a tree structure (e.g., a list of top level names that one
could click on, which would bring up a list of the
TopLevelName::NextLevelNames, and so on). Granted that I'm using a
non-existent feature [1] to demonstrate a point, but just how useful would
an FF top level name be in this situation?

>	It's marginally helpful to have a useful name when including it
>in a module so code doesn't look like $flv = new ASDFsdafs::sjhsdlk, but
>beyond that, what tangible and practical difference does it make?

Choosing meaningful variable names in your code is considered good
programming practice. Why wouldn't it be an equally good practice for
naming modules?


[1] In theory, this means that I just volunteered to work on this.
Given that, does this idea interest anyone?

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