Devel::Cover recommendations... or maybe not?

Paul Johnson paul at
Wed Mar 14 23:39:03 GMT 2007

On Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 04:18:26PM +0100, Luis Motta Campos wrote:

>   The POD scares everybody, stating clearly "this is alfa code".  
> It's almost like saying "go away" what is pretty strange for an open- 
> source module...


After six years of people saying this, although probably not quite so
bluntly, which might be why it took so long to get through to me, it
finally occurred to me to wonder why so many people equate alpha code
with low quality or a disinterest in any problems associated with the

I started to write down my thoughts, but they grew long and meandering,
and so they ended up at and just
the précis is here.

Alpha code says more about the interface than is does about anything
else.  Interfaces may change between alpha releases.

Wow.  Did I really write 8000 words when 19 would have sufficed?  Well,
just so you don't feel cheated, here's the long and rambling conclusion:

When I say that Devel::Cover is alpha software, what I mean is that I
may still change the interface to it.  Over the last six years and 60
releases I've been pretty good at not changing the various interfaces,
but there are some that I don't particularly like, and as soon as I come
up with something better (or if I'm lucky someone else will do this)
then I want to be able to change the interface without having to bump
the major version number.

I also mean that there are some features missing that I would like to
add at some time, and that there will be bugs so don't get upset if you
find one, but mostly I mean that the interface might change.

It's really not a big deal, but since I don't have a marketing
department telling me that I have to have a new major release in time
for a certain trade show and that it must include the following
check-box features because the brochures have already been printed and
the press release has been sent out, then I'm happy staying at an alpha
version until I really am happy with the interface.

And anyway, if being in perpetual beta is a mark of being Web 2.0,
surely being in perpetual alpha is a mark of being Web 3.0, which puts
me well ahead of the game, even six years ago.

That's why Devel::Cover is still alpha software, and that's what being
alpha software means for Devel::Cover.  Since I now realise that this is
probably not what most people understand when they read my
documentation, I'll just have to explain things in more detail.  I
suppose I should really be glad that not too many people read the docs.

Anyway, good luck with Devel::Cover, and thanks for finally getting me
to think about this, even if it was at the expense of what I was
supposed to be doing tonight.  Questions are traditionally asked
anywhere I can be found, and a number of places where I can't, but the
official forum is

Paul Johnson - paul at

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