develooper Front page | perl.module-authors | Postings from April 2008

Re: Idea: CPAN Category Reviews

Thread Previous | Thread Next
Shlomi Fish
April 5, 2008 05:16
Re: Idea: CPAN Category Reviews
Message ID:

Thanks for your email.

On Saturday 05 April 2008, Guy Hulbert wrote:
> On Sat, 2008-05-04 at 14:02 +0300, Shlomi Fish wrote:
> > Hi all!
> >
> > In regards to the previous discussion about trimming down CPAN and
> > finding
> I don't think trimming is necessary if you are successful with this.
> IMO the problem is just finding things, which your proposal addresses.

I also don't think trimming is necessary, though a voluntary marking modules 
as "deprecated", "unmaintained", etc. may be nice. I believe CPAN-Forum's 
tags (see ) are a partial solution to the 
problem, but there should also be a way for a maintainer to conclusively tag 
the status of his module as such.

> > better ways to find quality modules, I got an idea of making CPAN
> > "category" reviews. The idea was originally derived from
> > where they often
> [snip]
> > etc. he should note it. Now that I think about it, it may be a good idea
> > to also define a machine-readable format (XML etc.) for the conclusions
> > (possibly more) so they can be processed by the various CPAN interfaces.
> not XML ... there already seems to be a format, viz:
> 	.cpan/sources/
> 	authors/01mailrc.txt.gz
> 	modules/02packages.details.txt.gz
> 	modules/
> so you could add:
> 	modules/04categories.gz

Well now we end up with the following extra questions:

1. Is this something that should be centrally maintained by the CPAN admins? 
Or can it be a side service?

2. If not XML, then YAML or something else? I don't have a lot of problems 
with XML for many things (especially if I want to write free-form text with 
tags in it)[1], but sometimes a different format would be preferable. In any 
case, I'd like the containing format to be extensible, so that would probably 
leave out most ad-hoc custom formats.

3. I was talking about a format for the category reviews, not the 
categorisation. By all means, I don't want the category reviews themselves to 
be distributed as meta-data along with the rest of CPAN.

Since a category review also contains a lot of free form text, possibly with 
markup, it makes more sense to use XML than YAML or JSON. At least to me.

4. Perhaps it would be a good idea to allow authors to categorise their 
modules using PAUSE or the META.yml. We could use something like's TROVE categoricalisation - - 
or we can simply let them put arbitrary tags and/or categories into the 

Naturally, this depends on authors actually taking the extra effort to do so, 
but this is true of many other CPAN quality indicators.

> you'd also need a web interface at

Or elsewhere.

> [snip]
> > So what do you think - is there an interest in this?
> Sure.  Can you write something more concise, and definite.  That would
> make it easier to discuss.

Why do you feel my previous email was not concise or definite? I admit it was 
a sort-of brainstorming email, but it was not too long. If you want a one 
paragraph summary then:

I suggest having a feed of human readable (and possibly machine readable) 
reviews of the modules in various CPAN categories, as an indication of which 
modules are recommended and when and which are not.

That's even one choice.

> > I'm attaching here a list of OOP modules I found on CPAN (probably not
> > fully
> That's a good choice for an example (again, IMO).



	Shlomi Fish

[1] - the whole argument that XML is basically just S-expressions in desguise 
is quite silly, in my opinion. We might as well argue that every data can be 
encoded as 1's or 0's, or that we can write any program using NAND gates. 
Both of these claims are correct, but they still miss the point.

What do you find clearer:

<body>Hello <b id="name">Guy Hulbert</b>! Today is <b 


(body "Hello" ((b :id "name") "Guy Hulbert") "! Today is "
	((b :id "day") "Saturday"))

Likewise, S-expressions are more suited for writing Lisp code in than XML 
markup is. Syntax, no matter how superficial people believe it is, is still 
very important.

Shlomi Fish

I'm not an actor - I just play one on T.V.

Thread Previous | Thread Next Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
Comments to Ask Bjørn Hansen at | Group listing | About