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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 12th May 2011

Another milestone in CPAN Testers history was reached today, 11th May 2011, with over 12 million reports now stored within the database, as can be seen via the Interesting Stats page. Incredibly, as David Golden recently noted, we have submitted over 6 million via the HTTP API over the last year alone. At the current rate, I expect us to be close to 16 million reports by the end of the year.

Congratulations to Chris Williams for posting the 12 millionth report. It was a PASS for Weather-TW-0.33.

The biggest event for CPAN Testers last month was undoubtably getting caught up in the Amazon EC2 outages in North Carolina. In order to cope with fluctuating demand, the HTTP API to the metabase is hosted on an EC2 instance. While perhaps the architecture needs some revision to ensure the instances are better prepared in the event of failure, the set-up has worked pretty well for us so far. Although we don't see the millions of hits other sites do, we do see enough submissions that we want to be able to accept all without a problem. Thankfully the downtime has only affected those testers who do not use Chris Williams' metabase-relayd, which is able to stockpile reports, waiting until the API responds. Many thanks to David Golden for working with Amazon to get us back online. Reports are now flowing again, and with the initial flood peaks contained, the remainder of the ecosystem is getting back to normal again.

A new release within the CPAN Testers stable last month was the codebase to support the CPAN Testers Blog. This has also seen further releases from Labyrinth and associated plugins, and means I'm a little closer to releasing the full codebase for the Reports site. There is a lot of it, so I will likely release it in two parts, the website driven code, and the supporting builder code. It will then give more opportunity to those who wish to suggest enhancements and fix any bugs. After that I shall look to release the code for the Preferences and Admin sites. The latter is still waiting in the wings, and hopefully will see a release this year.

Despite the hiccup with the EC2 servers, we have still seen a healthy contribution of reports, with April having our second highest number of submissions in a month. We have had a consistent spread of platforms and perls over the last few month, but there several more we would like to see. If you do have an unusual setup, please consider adding a CPAN Testers smoker to your install process, as even if you don't have the capacity to run automated tests during any downtime, such as running overnight, the small contributions during real installs are just as valuable. If you can run automated testing so much the better, and you'll be a welcome addition to the high volume testers. If you're unsure how to prepare your installer for CPAN Testing, please see our How To Test During Install page on the CPAN Testers Wiki.

A plan for the future with CPAN Testers, is to write an single smoker that brings together all the best of the current smokers, but one that can interface with both primary installers (CPAN & CPANPLUS). In addition we would like to see more structured metadata being constructed within report submissions. Regarding the latter one of the plans for Devel-Platform-Info was exactly this. In the coming months are looking to work on a plugin that can provide this type of metadata, and we'll be writing up our progress. If you have ideas of metadata that may be useful, or wish to help structure existing metadata better, please take a look at the current smokers and the report structured data to understand how the system currently works. It was one of the suggestions for a Google Summer of Code project, but unfortunately it wasn't taken up. If you're interested in getting involved with the CPAN Testers project from a code perspective, this could be an ideal way to help out. Join the mailing list and let us know.

We're getting closer to 12 million reports, and I fully expect us to reach this sometime in May. With around 500,000 report submissions each month now, I wouldn't be surprised to see us close to 16 million by the end of the year. And its all helping to make CPAN a more stable and an envied cross-platform code repository. Until next time, keep on testing :)

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