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News & Views

Well a lot has been happening this month! After a quiet revamp of the Statistics website, the work to complete the revamped Reports site continued on. At least for a few days. Following some rather large threads on the perl-qa mailing list, it was decided that part of the change for CPAN Testers, to bring about a centralised author notification system, should be brought forward. With the increased volume of reports and the fact that some authors are uninterested in the reports as a whole, a daily summary report was generated, as part of the Authors Notification System, and a new version of Test-Reporter was released, which would stop smoke testers sending reports directly to the authors. However, this turn of events also received an equal if not bigger resistance, as a number of authors requested to have their direct mails turned back on! Unfortunately, we won't be turning them back on (yet!), but we do have plans to enable the direct mails to those authors who want them, by way of the Preferences system, which will be launched as soon as we have the pieces in place. This was to be part of a major CPAN Testers 2.0 launch, but it looks like we may end up releasing parts in stages now. However, if an author wishes to still receive these emails in the short term, they can download David Golden's App-CPAN-Testers-Remailer, and configure it to read the NNTP server as and when it updates.

The new Reports site has now finally been launched, and initial feedback was positive. There are still some improvements to be made, but after 3 months of solid work, please don't expect anything soon. The biggest drawback with the current static site, is that it creates 3.7GB worth of files, and takes several hours just to generate those files that need updating each day. The dynamic site will improve on this considerably, by only caching files that are actually requested. In addition the preferences system can then use AJAX calls to update the page rather than trying to load everything up front. This will then mean that the update system can be made much more responsive, and once the full HTTP submission system is working, the websites can be updated every few hours. Though perhaps more importantly, those authors who wish to receive reports the moment they hit the server, can then open the floodgates to their own mailservers as much as they want ;)

Chris and David have been hard at work releasing updates to CPANPLUS-YACSmoke and CPAN-Reporter respectively, with David also patching and CPANPLUS to implement some of the fixes to the toolchain for testers. The testing tools have moved on leaps and bounds within the last year, and setting up an automated smoke tester is now much easier than it once was. With David and Chris being much more responsive to the updates of the smoke test tools at the moment, it should be noted that CPAN-YACSmoke hasn't had much attention from Rob or myself. There is a version 0.04 in existence privately, which may see a final release, but largely the plan is to move any useful functionality into CPANPLUS-YACSmoke, where Chris can look after it more attentively.

One of the changes implemented by David, was following a clarification by Graham Barr over the use of the UNKNOWN grade. For the last few years it has been taken to mean that the test suite could not be found for the distribution, and therefore it is unknown whether the distribution passes or not. However, Graham has since stated that the grade was to also include those instances in the build stage where something goes wrong that is unclear whether the fault is with the distribution, environment, a prerequisite or something else. Previously the build stage errors were reported as FAIL, and have been a great cause of debate for authors when FAILs appear that were out of their control. The reassignment to UNKNOWN will hopefully allow authors to ignore these reports, and for testers to investigate further whether they need to fix their own environment or send a specific bug report. Following on from this, David Golden has written a "nagbot" that will be emailing testers to alert them when their testing environment need upgrading.

Another quiet launch was the CPAN Testers Development Site. This is a central resource that is updated daily with the data files and source code snapshots for the collection of CPAN Testers websites, so you have a central source to refer to. However, for the source code repositories for the whole CPAN Testers ecosystem, you should refer to the Contributing page of the CPAN Testers Wiki. Here you will find all the known repositories for the smoke testing tools and website generation tools. Patches, as always, are welcome, so if you feel a burning desire to fix some part of the system, now you know where to find the latest code versions.

Again we had over 100 testers submitting reports last month, with 23 new addresses mapped, of which we had 15 new testers identified. Rick Myers, a recent addition to the CPAN Testers community, caught out Chris with an extra 481 reports to become top tester of the month, and we've seen a slight rise in testers last month too, with 120 posting reports.

I expect a quiet a month for October, as we let the dust settle and allow David to follow Chris (nothing new there then ;)) and become a new Dad. That's not to say we will be idle, as there is still plenty to be getting on with, as we move closer to CT2.0.

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