One Unit of Stepping Up
In the mold of Buddy Burden’s great post Stepping Up, I wanted to share a recent pleasant result of contacting a wayward author.
One or two of you may have seen my MooseX::Types::NumUnit which brings “dimensional” (read: units) types to Moose objects. I had been using two different unit engines Math::Units::PhysicalValue and Physics::Unit. This was essentially because I hadn’t been able to figure out how to get the functionality of both out of just one, though I was rather sure it should be possible. Recently though, I spent some of my diversion time on the problem and settled on using only Physics::Unit. This is new version was pushed to CPAN a few days ago.
Now that I have settled on one underlying module, it came time to address some of my druthers with that module. Notably it lacks the shortcut for
mm. I was able to hard code that shortcut into my module so my users wouldn’t see that wart, but one that I couldn’t fix was
nautical miles rather than the much more common (at least in my field, physics; sorry navigators)
nanometers. There was no way to override the preset.
I have taken on a lot lately and didn’t really want to take another CPAN module, but it seemed like that was going to be the case seeing that Physics::Unit hadn’t seen a release since 2003. Worse than that, seeing as units haven’t changed much since then, the author Chris Maloney (KLORTHO), hadn’t published any other modules, so 2003 was his last activity. I opened GMail with a heavy heart, “its time to try to find a wayward author, just to take over another module, just to make a few minor changes”. The first email bounced. I tried again, googling for his name. But here is where the story changed.
To my delight, his reply started “Wow, this is a blast from the past! I’m very happy to get this email, and especially that you find the module useful. I have always had it on my to-do list to go back and update my CPAN entry with a few things, including my email address.”
He and I have been working on the changes I envisioned, he is using it as a reason to learn git and GitHub. It has me very excited, not just for a new release of an old module, not just for the improvement of my higher-level module, but for the human experience of CPAN. I know there have been some public kerfuffles lately; I hope that doesn’t put off too many people. CPAN and the Perl community have so many nice people, even those that have strayed for nearly a decade.
Reach out to the author of that module on your mind and ask a question, offer to help, its time to Step Up. It might be more pleasant than you expect.