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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 25th May 2009

Launch Day

After much anticipation, I am delighted to finally announce the launch of all the new designs for the CPAN Testers family of websites. Or at least the ones I look after. This is a major step forward for the websites, as they have long been in need of a facelift to bring them into line with each other. While my design skills are now l33t by any stretch, hopefully they have served me well enough to give the sites a more professional and polished look.

The New Designs

If you haven't seen the sites yet, follow any of the links below. You can then click one of the options from the family navigation bar to see all the others :)

The Static Reports

As mentioned on several occasions now, there is now a static site version of CPAN Testers Reports. However, please bear in mind that some of the pages are huge and will take your browser several minutes to render. The static site is provide as a companion to the dynamic site for those who either wish to not use Javascript, or their method of viewing does not support it. All the same code is used to generate the pages of both sites, so rest assured that any future fixes will be replicated into both sites at the same time.

Once any potential issues are ironed out, I hope to get Jos to switch the DNS for the old testers.cpan.org to point to the new static site. As such, if you currently use the old site and feel there is anything missing from the new site, please let me know as soon as possible.

The CPAN Testers Blog

Another new addition to the CPAN Testers family of websites is the new CPAN Testers Blog. Initially this will just contain the summaries and some of the announcements (as ported from the blog on the old CPAN Testers Statistics site) that have been made over the past couple of years, but in time I hope to encourage others involved with CPAN Testers to contribute news and articles for inclusion.

Feedback

It seems like it's taken forever to these changes done, though in reality it has only been about 2-3 months. It has been an intense working regime, having spent most of my waking, non-employer working hours on the sites, and pretty much full-time during April. I'd personally like to thank Nicole, partly as an art advisor critiquing some of the colour choices, but mostly for putting up with me sitting on the sofa in the evenings for the past few months, while I've been getting all the changes done

As per usual, if there are any problems or (helpful) suggestions you have regarding the new design or a specific site, please let me know.

Now it's time for a rest!

After much talk about the ideas for improving the CPAN Testers Reports, I'm finally please to announce the completion of the work so far. There have been 3 significant changes to the site behind the scenes, all of which will hopefully improve the way everyone interacts with the site.

Phase Two was to finish off a number changes to enable a dynamic site. As it's turned out a full dynamic site hasn't been possible, as some of the pages still take several minutes to retrieve all the records from the database and render the pages. The 'ADAMK test' took over 30 minutes! As such a redesign of the caching was implemented that now means the pages are updated in the background. It means that the most frequently visited pages are more likely to be up to date now.

Phase Three was to implement a flat HTML site, that was similar to the old site, before the Javascript was included, but also benefits from all the fixes that have been implemented into the current site. As a result of the caching changes in Phase Two, this was actually extremely easy to implement, as it only meant adding templates.

With all that done, I was virtually ready to implement the sites on the live server. However, following a post by Adam Kennedy about the state of some of the Perl websites, I decided to hold back and concentrate on Phase Four. This last phase wasn't just planned for the reports sites, but aimed at covering all the CPAN Testers websites I'm responsible for. When I first created the Statistics website, I was more interested in making the the data and information available, and always figured I'd get around to designing a proper layout at some point. With me taking a month out during April, the time was ripe to completely redesign all the sites. So taking an inital design from the OSWD site, I amended it appropriately for my uses, and I have now converted all the CPAN Testers sites I look after across to the new design.

Hopefully the new design will meet with everyone's approval (Leon, fear not there is still an orange colour scheme in there :)), and the changes to the functionality improve the way people are able to use and access the site. For the time being the old path mappings should remain working, but I would advise moving to the new path structure when the sites go live.

So when are you going to get to see all these changes? Well very very soon. I'm currently setting up the new designs on the server and once everything is in place I'll be doing a symlink switch. Please be patient .. just a little while longer ;)

So this month has mostly featured a lot of work after the QA Hackathon, without too many announcements. While there has been a lot of changes behind the scenes, we've mostly been getting on with stuff. David Golden and Ricardo Signes have been continuing with the Metabase, to the point David can now submit reports locally. There is still a bit of work needed to get the rest of the pieces all synced and working, but we are getting closer to CT2.0.

The mailers managed to highlight a fault recently, that has now been fixed, so if you've been wondering why the Summaries haven't been appearing, they should start filtering through again soon. As announced during April, there are now Weekly and Monthly Summary reports available, as well as the ability to receive individual mails again. Check the appropriate pages on the CPAN Testers Preferences website and update as you require.

As mentioned in my blog last week, my time over the last month has featured work on the dual dynamic and static sites for the Reports. I'm pleased to say the underlying code is now complete. It will take a little while to carefully change the live system, as there are some significant database changes required, so I want to make sure the changes don't have any adverse affects. In addition, prompted by Adam Kennedy's blog post about the state of many Perl websites, I took some to look at some designs and found one that looked perfect for the job. I've now reskinned several of the CPAN Testers sites and just have 1 publicly visible site left to do. There is another that has been waiting in the wings for some time, but I may wait until CT2.0 is available before unleashing it. However, with all the changes going on, there is one site that will be new (sort of), although it really is just a fork one of the existing sites. Seeing as I don't want to spoil the surprises, you're just going to have to wait for a little while longer to see all the results :)

We passed 3.5 million test reports last month, and although there were quite a number of reports posted last month, considering that last month CPAN had the most distributions submitted in a month ever (1897), it wasn't quite as many as I would have expected. Unfortunately the graphs on CPAN Testers Statistics have reached their Google Chart limit, so I'll be altering the graphs slightly for next month.

We topped 149 testers submitting reports last month, so thank you again to everyone involved. The mappings this month included 24 total addresses mapped, of which 10 were for newly identified testers.

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