Better Perl

Dave Cross dave at
Mon Apr 7 15:35:05 BST 2008

Quoting Iain Barnett <iainspeed at>:

> On 7 Apr 2008, at 9:27 am, Dave Cross wrote:
>> Quoting Iain Barnett <iainspeed at>:
>> Personally, I'm all in favour of renaming Perl 6. Ain't gonna happen tho'.
> Why not? (sincerely asked)

Because no-one who would have the power to make that kind of change  
has ever expressed any interest in it happening.

>>> - Do what Apple have done with their business model (and M$ with their
>>> developer support) - which is produce a vertical model for perl. So
>>> newbies can get started within minutes, no /(f|m)ucking/ around with
>>> the command line. The advanced people are more advanced and can just
>>> get on with it.
>> I'm probably being a bit thick here, but what is a "vertical   
>> model". What exactly needs to change in order for newbies to get   
>> started within minutes?
> Horizontal is choice, like the pc - you can pick any NIC, any
> motherboard, any RAM... Apple use the vertical - one OS, all the parts
> are chosen for you. You don't get to choose the latest super dooper
> graphics card, but all the drivers work, everything just works, quickly
> (and well).
> Starting up on Perl is very horizontal, choice is it's central
> philosophy, but it's also becoming a weakness - as others have a more
> vertical model (Python, Ruby). If there was a vertical model for the
> beginners, perhaps where they were shepherded away from choice (This Is
> The Way To Do It), and then as they get more advanced show them

Ok. Thanks. That makes sense. Something like Damian Conway's "Perl  
Best Practices" or Tim Maher's "Minimal Perl" books. So, yes, that's  
an issue which _is_ being addressed.

>> Do you know that you can already rate CPAN modules? See   
>> Also CPANTS ( includes measures for   
>> "has_test_pod_coverage" and "no_pod_errors". Is that a move in the   
>> right direction?
> Yep, I've seen it but very seldom are things rated more than twice. I
> was thinking more along the lines of auto-checking (perhaps a regex? ;)
> to how fully the docs are done - a standards checker, if you like.
> Maybe several scores - one for tests, one for docs, one for ratings,
> one for downloads? Otherwise it ends up like the Amazon book reviews, I
> loved it = 5, I didn't like it = 1.

CPANTS _is_ an automatic system. All modules uploaded to CPAN are  
automatically run through the CPANTS tests.

And the has_test_pod_coverage test checks that the distribution  
includes a test for Pod coverage (see You can be pretty sure that  
if an author goes to the bother of including the Pod coverage test  
then they are pretty happy that their documentation is going to pass  
that test.

If you have any other suggestions for CPANTS tests, then the CPANTS  
developers would love to hear them.

I have the same reservations as you do about Amazon ratings, but it's  
worth pointing out that the CPAN ratings system has recently started  
collecting separate ratings for documentation, interface and ease of  

So, once again, I think this is an issue that the community is aware  
of and working on.

>> As Jonathan Stowe hinted at in his reply to you. The Perl community  
>>  is volunteer-driven. Many of your suggestions are really good ones  
>>  and the best way to make them happen is to get involved. You   
>> obviously have a lot of ideas. I'd love to see you follow them   
>> through.
> Well, in fact, I already am trying to. I've started learning Java and
> reading up on Eclipse so that I can help with these projects, as I do
> see them as important. But having read the docs so far, I'm a way off
> being any help yet! - I'm not a Java programmer and I don't
> particularly want to be, but I can see the benefits to others so I'm
> willing to make the effort.
> I'm not being critical for the sake of it. I am trying to get involved,
> and part of that is suggesting, as a relative newcomer to the language,
> some of the things I think could be improved. It's not to take away
> from the outstanding contribution that's already been made.

Glad to hear it :-)

I'm not speaking for The Perl Foundation here so I can't be sure, but  
I'd guess that work on EPIC would something that they'd consider  
giving a grant for.


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