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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 10th September 2012

August was quite an exhausting month, with several news worthy items. The YAPC::Europe 2012 conference, as mentioned last month, featured a few talks relating to testing, including my own looking specifically at the main components of CPAN Testers. I have often been asked about how the infrastructure of CPAN Testers works, and hopefully my talk gave some insight into that. The process diagram featured in the talk will be added to the CPAN-Testers distribution soon, and will be expanded at a later date to try and capture all the parts of the current CPAN Testers environments. CPAN Testers has grown substantially from its early beginnings, and its much easier to get involved. With so many parts to the whole system, it would be great to get more and more new contributors to the code base. See the Development site, which also needs updating now, for further links. It also intrigued me to see Test::Reporter::Transport::Metabase in the (xvii) MetaCPAN favourites weekly report post. Hopefully whoever up-voted it, has been looking at contributing too :)

Kenichi Ishigaki was also at YAPC::Europe, and he previewed some of the forthcoming changes to CPANTS. He's done a lot of work behind the scenes getting the site back online. Working alongside his CPANAuthors site, the CPANTS site now looks a lot more modern, and hopefully will get used a little more again. While watching a twitter feed during the conference, I also happened to notice that Brian Cassidy posted about reaching the next goal for his CPAN::Changes Kwalitee Service. As of writing this, he needs another 12 distributions to pass the tests to reach 10,000 passes. While it's not a necessity to have your Changes files in a machine readable format, it is useful to have a convention that works for other uses. It highlights Kwalitee rather than Quality :)

In the last few weeks I've been cleaning up some of the code behind the CPAN Testers Reports site, including some requests posted in RT. As such, the distribution CPAN-Testers-WWW-Reports got a major update and now has better crawler detection, now displays the report counter headers for each distribution release and fixes the summary displays. The backend code has also had a bit of a clean up to improve some of the performance. In the coming weeks as promised some of the crawlers will be let back into the site again. Another big change has been to match the convention used elsewhere so that TRIAL distributions are now marked as development releases. I have also worked through old reports and changed the settings to reflect this too.

Proof, if proof were needed, why we need to move away from Amazon's SimpleDB, is the recent catch-up I started running recently, to collect all the missing reports from the last 3 months, that SimpleDB failed to extract from the Metabase. It's a constant source of confusion from testers as to why their reports are not appearing. The catch-up added 245989 reports to cpanstats database. That's over 80,000 reports that are currently being lost each month. For the money they charge every month, that's exceptionally poor service as far as I'm concerned.

Special thanks this month are reserved for Steffen Schwigon, aka renormalist, who has made a significant personal contribution to the CPAN Testers Fund. Steffen was one of the people who pushed us to get a CPAN Testers Fund set-up a few years ago, so we are delighted to see him come good on his promise to donate. If you'd like to make a personal contribution, please visit the donation page and contribute.

The CPAN Testers Fund is growing, and while we are grateful for every contribution, big or small, we'd love to see more, so we can help pay for all the running costs every year. Over the last month, Mark Keating had been throwing some ideas my way of how he could promote CPAN Testers, and at YAPC::Europe the light-bulb was most definitely on. Mark launched a corporate donation programme for CPAN Testers, whereby companies could contribute a regular monthly donation, rather than a big lump sum. Mark's idea is that if we could get 20 companies all contributing monthly about £20, that would be enough to cover our current expenses for a year. Taking the first step, ShadowCat are the first company to now make a regular donation to CPAN Testers. You and your company can too by simply visiting the CPAN Testers Fund page and setting up a regular recurring payment.

On a final note, I'd like to thank chromatic for mentioning CPAN Testers in a post about why he uses Perl testing. As chromatic notes, the Perl community's attitude to testing, and they have produced to support testing, has made Perl the success it is.

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