A three part think

Simon Wistow simon at thegestalt.org
Fri Oct 12 17:58:29 BST 2007

Part the first: I know that it's impossible to accurately gauge the 
absolute number of downloads for a given CPAN module but we can probably 
guess the relative popularity if we get the download figures from, say, 
search.cpan.org and cpan.org. 

Accuracy would be improved if we could get the logs for several of the 
bigger mirrors.

Part the second: What percentage of modules on CPAN use XS? 

Additionally - Is there any way to programmatically work out how 
complicated that XS is - maybe by getting total lines of code, removing 
obvious boilerplate, sub declarations and argument marshalling and then 
looking at the remainder? Would it be possible (or, more accurately, 
easy) to work out how much is calls out to external libraries rather 
than hairy XS code?

Would this even be useful?

Part the third: Given a list of features in Perl - AUTOLOAD, Formats, 
EXPORTER, pseudohashes, globs, typeglobs, BEGIN blocks, string eval, 
etc - how easy would it be to work out what percentage of modules on 
CPAN use those features?

Presumably something like PPI and MAD could help with the last two. 

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