CPAN Testers is only made possible with the support of our sponsors.
For more information on sponsoring, please visit the I CPAN Testers website.

Upgrade Notice

The CPAN Testers Blog site has been upgraded since you last accessed the site. Please press the F5 key or CTRL-R to refresh your browser cache to use the latest javascript and CSS files.

News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 22nd March 2015

Are you attending a YAPC or other large technical event this year? Willing to be a speaker at such an event? Are you familiar with CPAN Testers, even as a new tester?

As I haven't been able to attend YAPCs for a few years, I am looking for someone to help keep the CPAN Testers project fresh in people's minds. As such, if you've thought you'd like to do a talk at a YAPC, but haven't had the idea for a topic, or may be you've previously done a presentaion, and would like to do another, and you would be happy to do something that covers some aspect of CPAN Testers, please get in touch. It's an ideal opportunity if you are a new speaker for your first presentation at a large event.

There are plenty of topics around CPAN Testers you could promote, particularly about getting involved with CPAN Testers, either as just a tester, as a toolchain developer or even as someone that likes to analyse common errors. Your perspective is also likely to be very different from others and can be a great source of inspiration for new testers.

The subject of a CPAN Testers talk came up in a discussion, as YAPC::NA is coming soon, and having a presentation on CPAN Testers would be very welcome. Their deadline for talk submissions has sadly past, and I had wanted to post this a few weeks ago, but there might still be the opportunity to present as part of the beginners track. If you are interested, and can put something together quickly, we can see whether they have a spare slot, or a the very least would be able to keep you in reserve should anyone drop out.

Long term, I would be delighted to have others speak at any future YAPC::Europe, YAPC::NA, YAPC::Asia, YAPC::Brazil, YAPC::Russia, Perl Workshops and other large technical events. If you need resources, please feel free use already existing presentations, stats from the CPAN Testers Statistics site or contact me, and I can hopefully point you in the right direction. Sadly, I may not have time available to help write the presentation, but I am willing to proof-read anything, should you need me to. 

YAPC::Europe is happening in Granada this year, and it would be great to finally have another CPAN Testers presentation after several years. If you can submit a talk, please do. Let me know and I'll make sure we promote it too, both here in the blog and on the twitter feed. That goes for any CPAN Testers presentation at any technical event.

CPAN Testers needs you :)

So last month saw the London Perl Workshop take place. Several talks related to testing, and plenty of interest in CPAN Testers. Mark Keating and crew were videoing many of the talks. Sadly the microphone position meant the volume is quite low in places, but they are still worth watching. You can see testing talks from myself (slides), DrForr, and additionally my lightning talk (slides). If you missed the event, there are plenty of great talks you can now catch on the Shadowcat channel.

Also during last month there have been several fixes to the Reports Builder. Also following some conversations at LPW, I came away with a few ideas to improve the performance of the Feed and Builder components so that we can get almost real time production of reports. Over the coming months and likely during the 2015 QA Hackathon, I aim to work more on this and hopoefully have a solution working around the hackathon. Karen Etheridge also help to spot a fault with the Admin site, in that if a tester hasn't allocated a contact email address, any report that has been flagged isn't allocated to them, but to the Admin user. It does mean there is a bit of extra work for me at the moment, but ultimately I need to rework the way testers are notified, particularly in the event of the system using an old email address. If you've flagged any reports and haven't seen them removed as yet, please give me a nudge and I'll approve their removal.

One person I would to single out for making a great effort to promote testing in general, is Sinan Unur, who has been writing some great blog posts. TDD is all well and good, but who's testing the tests?, You've gotta quotemeta! and Tests should not fail due to EOL differences across platforms to mention a few. He has some great in depth Perl posts, and all are well worth reading.

A colleague of mine, Matt Wheatley, recently had a blog post published about how he works in development. Except the post isn't so much about how he works, but more about the value of a QA Department. Our QA team is awesome, and we perhaps rely on them a bit too much sometimes, but I imagine there are many awesome QA teams out there, and this is just one tribute to them all. I especially liked the reference to Bill Sempf's tweat.

We had another Metabase overflow last month, which means we've filled another bucket in AWS. David Golden has created a new one, but it does mean we need to think about moving to our newer architechure sooner rather than later. David, Neil Bowers and I have been in discussions recently, and I hope we will get some movement towards this in the coming year. There will be a lot of changes needed, both to code and routing, so it won't be a simple change. However, it will be a change that will help us grow more productively in the future.

More new coming next month. And my New Year's Resolution is to get these summaries out a bit more on time!

Last month had a bit of focus on London Perl Workshop. Aside from my own talk, there were a few other testing or CPAN related talks that were well worth attending. Neil Bowers gave us some background to his Adopt a CPAN Module list, and some of the plans to include more metrics. He also detailed some of the changes in his blog post Including CPAN Testers results in the adoption list . It was good to catch up with Neil, and several other more recently recruited CPAN Testers.

For my own talk, 'The Future of CPAN', I looked at some of the work that has been done over the past year, and took a look at the projects planned for 2014 and beyond. Some of the projects are already in progress, and some we hope to have released early in 2014. The future is looking good for CPAN Testers, and there are lots of ideas about how to make it better. There are several tweaks and improvements planned to the existing sites, and hopefully we'll have many more suggestions from you folks over the coming year. I spoke with Andreas König at LPW and we discussed promoting areas of CPAN Testers better. I'm going to look at that over the next year, so expect a slightly different focus each month, as we encourage others to get involved, or make better use of the testing resources we have.

One interesting aspect, included in my talk, was the fact that now we have the new server and are able to server the regular website from a separate disk, the response times have been dramatically improved. As a result, I've enable all the crawlers and spiders. I didn't announce it, as I wanted to see how quickly the spiders would notice, and second to see whether we could cope. The results were impressive. Google noticed almost immediately, although some of their bots have been allowed back in for a little while already, and then Microsoft noticed, followed by plenty of others. It was noticeable when a particular crawler bot spotted they could hit the site, as can be seen with the spikes in the requests. However, what is perhaps even more impressive is that the builder simply shrugged and dealt with it, resolving the requests within a few hours.

Splitting the disks for web and backend files has had such an effect, that we are now frequently less than an hour behind. The only time we aren't is when Amazon can't get their searches right. Thankfully, it looks like the code I've written to compensate for this is working well, and over the past few months the check with the tail log hasn't missed any reports. Once we move to the new Metabase servers, we should be able to rid ourselves of much of this checking code, and have even more reliability.

The biggest project over the last month for CPAN Testers, has still been the Admin site. The new testers database has been created, and the scripts are all in place updating the various tables, including the leaderboard table. The code to use the new leaderboard isn't live yet, but should be going live soon. The site is close to completion, and is undergoing some last minute testing to ensure I have everything covered. Over the Christmas period I hope to invite a few people to test the site and feedback any bugs they spot. All being well, I'd like to launch the site (finally) in the first week of January 2014.

The mailing list has been a little quite last month, although Gabor did post to promote my talk video from last year's YAPC::Europe in Frankfurt. David Wheeler asked about the RSS feeds that are posted from the reports site. As some authors/distributions can have many thousands of reports, is there a cut-off that should be employed. Perhaps the latest 1000 reports, or only those posted in the last 6 months or in the last year? Do you use the RSS feeds (PASS and No PASSes), if so what would your preference be? You can post on the list or email me, and I'll review in the new year the best limit to impose, although provisionally I'll be looking at the last years worth of reports.

The Statistics site will be getting a few extra metrics soon. David Golden suggested some metrics regarding CPAN and BACKPAN, that would be interesting to see. They're on my TODO list, and I hope to address them over the next month. If you have any ideas for more metrics, whether for CPAN or CPAN Testers, that you'd like to see on the Statistic site, please let me know.

That's all for the moment, but expect to see plenty of activity in the New Year. Happy holidays all

Posted by Barbie
on 10th December 2009

At the weekend, the Westminister University hosted the London Perl Workshop. The event was a great success, and many thanks to Mark Keating, his crew and all the sponsors for making it happen.

Chris Williams, our most prolific CPAN tester, presented a talk about CPAN Testing, which seemed to go down very well. Interestingly Tomas Doran made the observation that when anyone has problems with Catalyst distributions, the developers usually encourage people to submit a CPAN Testers report, as it includes all the information they need, rather than trying to explain to the person how to get it.

Chris' talk Rough Guide to CPAN Testing is now online.