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News & Views

First off this month, some progress on the CPAN Testers Admin site. My thanks to David Golden and Andreas König, as they spotted some initial problems with the mailing side of things, which i hadn't noticed. It led me to spot another issue with the way additional addresses were confirm and associated with a single account. In order to get more eyes on the site, I will be opening the net slightly wider this month. Hopefully if there are no further problems or bugs spotted, it will get a more formal launch soon.

Neil Bowers recently contacted me about some of the APIs to the CPAN Testers, as he wanted to build on his CPAN Report 2013, with the aim of using CPAN Testers in a future report. In addition, he was also looking at ways to improve his Adoption list. As a result he has released CPAN::Testers::Reports::Counts to CPAN. The module uses the raw data files of the CPAN Testers Statistics site, which allows the module to filter based on month and/or year. The distribution made me think about how better to provide APIs to the CPAN Testers data, for anyone who wanted to play with the numbers like this. I hope to work on some of these at the QA Hackathon next month.

Speaking of the QA Hackthon, this year's event will be in Lyon. Although attendee spaces are pretty much filled now, if you have suggestions for projects people can work on, or are able to create a remote event (like the Tokyo satellite event last year), or will have time during the event to work on projects from home, please get involved. There are plenty of projects already planned to be worked on, but as many key people will be in one room together, it is an ideal opportunity to discuss specifics, or move designs on, more than we would over email. For the past 6 years the QA Hackathon has helped to output a vast vareity of projects, code and ideas, and I'm sure this year will be no different.

Although not specifically related to CPAN Testers, I did want to mention something that Neil Bowers has been looking at. Over the years there have been many discussions about modules/distributions on CPAN that bear no merit and/or have long since been abandoned. In some cases the code in question may only need someone new to take pity on it and breathe new life into it via the Adoption list. However, several are half formed ideas, have been deprecated for other better distributions or were never used as they were too badly broken. At the end of last year, Neil posted about his plans to review these older modules and distributions and see whether they are worth deleting from CPAN. They wouldn't be lost forever, as they would still reside on BACKPAN, but it would help to make CPAN a slightly leaner and even more relevant repository of code. Although caution has been urged, which Neil was already planning, the idea has generally been well received. The modules Neil has started looking at are from 1996, and have not seen a further release in the last 17 years. His first candidate, Win32::FUtils, has now been removed. You can read more in his Curating CPAN one dist at a time post.

Every so often, Gabor Szabo has been looking at popularity of Perl sites compared to other languages. In a post about the changes throughout 2013, Gabor notes there has been some improvements relating to the Alexa rankings. While not a definitive indication of popularity, it is encouraging to see most of the sites having much improved rankings from the previous year. I was particularly amused to see jump from 553,281 to 265,792, which I think has been due to me allowing the various web crawlers and spiders back onto the CPAN Testers Reports site. Hopefully continued promotion of Perl and associated projects will help keep these Perl sites and others moving up the rankings. I look forward to seeing Gabor's post next year.

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