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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 10th June 2012

It is with great pleasure that we officially announce a new sponsor for the CPAN Testers Project. Webfusion have provided us with a Dedicated Server, for us to use with some of the supporting websites. As such, we will be using it for the Analytics and Matrix websites, as well as a secondary failover site for the Static Reports site.

Webfusion was established over 15 years ago, using their expertise to become one of the UK's largest web hosts. Specialising in delivering cost-effective, feature-rich hosting products to a diverse business orientated market and offer bespoke solutions tailored to your business requirements.

The Webfusion portfolio includes web hosting products, from Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers to flexible managed hosting solutions and high performance cloud hosting. All WebFusion web hosting solutions are designed to suit your business needs and help your business grow.

Webfusion are also hiring in the UK, and require Perl developers in both Bromsgrove and London.

May proved quite an interesting month. Firstly, I got several confused emails relating to the Status page on The CPAN Testers Reports site. Secondly, we ran out of slots in the namespace for Amazon. And then thirdly a very involved discussion on versions on the mailing list.

During the begin of the month, I started running a regeneration script to find missing reports from the past year. It seems there were several thousand missing, due to the way Amazon's Simple DB works. I will be running the script again soon to catch any missing reports from May. On the Status page, it lists the last stored report, which some found rather confusing. The Status page itself is just a simple dashboard to help highlight whether there are any problems that need investigating, but also help to identify how far behind the feed is. In this case it didn't give a true picture, until the normal feed was restarted. If you spot any listings for older reports, it is likely I am running the regeneration script again to find missing reports. It is perhaps also worth repeating what the status on the page means. The status (Excellent, Good, Manageable, Struggling and Overloaded) simply refers to the number of requests in the queue to be processed by the Reports Builder, though not necessarily the number of reports waiting. I may look at adding an extra variable to determine the status, based on the age of the youngest report, which might give an additional indication of something being wrong.

Relating to the feed, the namespace we were using within the SimpleDB instance ran out of slots. This meant David Golden had to quickly update the Metabase to a new namespace. Thankfully he was available and online, having got up early, even though he was on holiday. So big thanks to David for fixing so soon. The current namespace should keep us going for some time, and hopefully will not be a problem as we're looking to move to a new system soon.

Phillip Moore has recently taken over the NetApp suite of modules, and discovered the problems encountered with versioning. He began a thread asking for suggestions on the best way to rework the modules, some of which he wanted to split into their own distributions. Version numbering has been covered many times, and although new authors and modules follow more reasonable version numbering, before the discussions and recommendations, CPAN had all manner of version numbers. As such, trying to change the varying version numbers in the NetApp suite has proved interesting! It has proved how important consistency in numbering can be, especially when subsequently abstracting modules into their own distributions.

We passed the 22 million reports mark last month, which highlights a reduction in the reports being submitted, as well as the number of testers we have at the moment. We still have over 100 voluteers submitting reports, but the report submissions have fallen to just over 500,000. This is still a fantastic amount, but with the numbers we saw towards the end of last year, I wondered whether we would see further increases. I guess a recruitment drive might be worthwhile at some of the forthcoming conferences. Speaking of which...

This month sees YAPC::NA taking place in Madision, Wisconsin. The conference itself is now sold out, but for those attending, there is an great selection of talks to choose from. Anyone interested in testing, might like to check out James E Keenan talking about "Perl Testing 101: 82% of What You Need to Be a Competent Perl Tester", and/or Belden Lyman presenting "A Test-Driven Developer's Cookbook". August will have YAPC::Europe to look forward to, so hopefully there'll be a few testing related talks there too. For any one presenting a testing talk, whether at a YAPC, Workshop or user group technical event, please get in touch, and I'll happily advertise it for you.

Finally this month, David Cantrell posted that he was having trouble with Ukraine spiders. It seems that some just cannot learn from the mistakes of others. Now they've been blocked. Possibly CPAN Testers are a victim of their own success, but it doesn't bode well for search engines in general if they ignore robots.txt and/or launch unnecessary (even accidental) DOS attacks on sites. Maybe if some of them wanted to donate to the CPAN Testers Fund, then we'd be more willing to let them back in.

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