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News & Views

Last month had a bit of focus on London Perl Workshop. Aside from my own talk, there were a few other testing or CPAN related talks that were well worth attending. Neil Bowers gave us some background to his Adopt a CPAN Module list, and some of the plans to include more metrics. He also detailed some of the changes in his blog post Including CPAN Testers results in the adoption list . It was good to catch up with Neil, and several other more recently recruited CPAN Testers.

For my own talk, 'The Future of CPAN', I looked at some of the work that has been done over the past year, and took a look at the projects planned for 2014 and beyond. Some of the projects are already in progress, and some we hope to have released early in 2014. The future is looking good for CPAN Testers, and there are lots of ideas about how to make it better. There are several tweaks and improvements planned to the existing sites, and hopefully we'll have many more suggestions from you folks over the coming year. I spoke with Andreas König at LPW and we discussed promoting areas of CPAN Testers better. I'm going to look at that over the next year, so expect a slightly different focus each month, as we encourage others to get involved, or make better use of the testing resources we have.

One interesting aspect, included in my talk, was the fact that now we have the new server and are able to server the regular website from a separate disk, the response times have been dramatically improved. As a result, I've enable all the crawlers and spiders. I didn't announce it, as I wanted to see how quickly the spiders would notice, and second to see whether we could cope. The results were impressive. Google noticed almost immediately, although some of their bots have been allowed back in for a little while already, and then Microsoft noticed, followed by plenty of others. It was noticeable when a particular crawler bot spotted they could hit the site, as can be seen with the spikes in the requests. However, what is perhaps even more impressive is that the builder simply shrugged and dealt with it, resolving the requests within a few hours.

Splitting the disks for web and backend files has had such an effect, that we are now frequently less than an hour behind. The only time we aren't is when Amazon can't get their searches right. Thankfully, it looks like the code I've written to compensate for this is working well, and over the past few months the check with the tail log hasn't missed any reports. Once we move to the new Metabase servers, we should be able to rid ourselves of much of this checking code, and have even more reliability.

The biggest project over the last month for CPAN Testers, has still been the Admin site. The new testers database has been created, and the scripts are all in place updating the various tables, including the leaderboard table. The code to use the new leaderboard isn't live yet, but should be going live soon. The site is close to completion, and is undergoing some last minute testing to ensure I have everything covered. Over the Christmas period I hope to invite a few people to test the site and feedback any bugs they spot. All being well, I'd like to launch the site (finally) in the first week of January 2014.

The mailing list has been a little quite last month, although Gabor did post to promote my talk video from last year's YAPC::Europe in Frankfurt. David Wheeler asked about the RSS feeds that are posted from the reports site. As some authors/distributions can have many thousands of reports, is there a cut-off that should be employed. Perhaps the latest 1000 reports, or only those posted in the last 6 months or in the last year? Do you use the RSS feeds (PASS and No PASSes), if so what would your preference be? You can post on the list or email me, and I'll review in the new year the best limit to impose, although provisionally I'll be looking at the last years worth of reports.

The Statistics site will be getting a few extra metrics soon. David Golden suggested some metrics regarding CPAN and BACKPAN, that would be interesting to see. They're on my TODO list, and I hope to address them over the next month. If you have any ideas for more metrics, whether for CPAN or CPAN Testers, that you'd like to see on the Statistic site, please let me know.

That's all for the moment, but expect to see plenty of activity in the New Year. Happy holidays all

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