Development Tools-As-Services Are A Cash Crop
These days, lots of software development tools are turning into hosted services. GitHub and VCS hosting are the most obvious example, but there are others too. Most recently, I came across http://codeclimate.com which provides static analysis services for Ruby code. I think there are some great opportunities for an enterprising Perl developer to cash in here. Read on to learn more...
I am biased, but I honestly believe Perl has the best static analyzer among all the major dynamic languages. I think you could easily put together a web service for running Perl::Critic with nice reports and graphs and gauges. That's what I had always wanted for perlcritic.com. In fact, if I wasn't already knee-deep with Stratopan, that is probably what I would be doing.
I think Code Climate proves there is real money to be earned here. Their enterprise package costs $399 a month, and all they really provide is complexity and security analysis. Perl::Critic can already do all of that and more. A lot more. You just need a good UI and some hooks into Git. Businesses really do want a succinct dashboard to help them understand the health of their code.
And there are other possibilities too. For example, imagine a service that runs Devel::NYTProf on every commit and helps me identify bottlenecks and tracks application performance over time. Or one that tracks test coverage (see http://coveralls.io). Yes, all this can be done by hand. But why bother? Many businesses would much rather hand over a few bucks every month for a service than pay expensive developer time to configure and maintain these tools locally. Heck, I would rather pay them than spend my own time.
I think there is a world of opportunities out there. And since we are a bit behind the curve, you can probably command a premium for supporting Perl. And eventually, you can branch out into other languages and services. These may not be GitHub-sized businesses, but they are plenty big enough to support several enterprising Perl developers.
So who's going to be the first to harvest some of this cash?