CPAN Testers at meta::hack v2

Two weeks ago, I was invited to meta::hack v2, the second annual MetaCPAN hackathon. As the primary maintainer of CPAN Testers, I went to continue improving the integration of CPAN Testers data with MetaCPAN and generally improve the performance of CPAN Testers to the benefit of the entire Perl ecosystem.

The first task on my plate was to complete the main task I started at last year's meta::hack: Make MetaCPAN consume CPAN Testers data via the CPAN Testers API. Fortunately, the MetaCPAN team has a Vagrant VM for developing on MetaCPAN. After about an hour getting set up, I was able to start hacking.

But getting set up hit a snag: On my machine and my machine only, the VM could not reach the Internet, but the parent machine could. Luckily, Carton, a module manager for Perl, has the carton bundle command which will fetch all the necessary module tarballs. From there, I could transfer all of the modules to the VM and then use carton install --cached --deployment to install from the tarballs. Problem solved!

From there, it was a quick task to write MetaCPAN::Script::CPANTestersAPI, make the MetaCPAN API integration tests pass, and open a PR.

Next, I set about moving the CPAN Testers CPAN mirror to relieve some I/O pressure from the main machine. This new machine was graciously donated by ByteMark, who has been hosting us for years. I spent all of Friday writing the appropriate Rex tasks to deploy the CPAN mirror and enable the BackPAN sync scripts, and thanks to Mohammad Anwar (manwar) for helping to test the BackPAN mirror to make sure it's working correctly.

Along with the CPAN/BackPAN mirror, this new machine is also running the backend processing for test reports. This has improved the performance of the report processing tasks, which are now able to process incoming test reports almost instantly. Thanks to Rex, it was trivial to move the backend processes from the main machine to this new machine.

Just before the hackathon, Sebastian Riedel (author of Mojolicious) released a Minion UI application. I spent Saturday morning making Minion::Backend::mysql work well enough to show the UI and try it out. Unfortunately, the MySQL Minion backend needs a bit more work before it will function properly (see this Github issue for Minion-Backend-mysql to help fix this problem).

Finally on Saturday I worked with Graham Knop (haarg) in tracking down a problem that started earlier in the day: Test reports with ASCII control characters would completely break the database. It turns out that MySQL would accept the JSON with escaped low-byte ASCII characters (0x00-0x1f), but when reading it back, would not re-escape them as JSON requires. A proper JSON decoder rightly died trying to process it, which I fixed by re-escaping the JSON using a custom DBIx::Class deserializer (released as CPAN::Testers::Schema v0.020).

On the last day I was able to work with Leo Lapworth (ranguard) to set up some custom error pages for Fastly to hopefully cut down on the number of people asking me about the downtime that comes with an overloaded machine, and especially a JSON error page for the API server to make it easier for users.

Meanwhile, Nick Tonkin added some new features to the CPAN Testers API, including being able to limit the results from the test release summary API by distribution maturity (dev or stable) and soon the API will be able to limit the results to only the latest version of the distribution. So, it will be possible to say "give me the test summary for the latest stable release of all dists on CPAN". As part of this, Nick implemented a limit query parameter to limit results returned and the maturity parameter to show only stable or dev releases in the results. Thanks to Nick for all his help so far!

I spent the rest of the last day working through a problem with the new backend server that ended up being incompatible Sereal versions. Unfortunately because of this, I wasn't able to get to some of the stuff I wanted to. But I've created Github issues for all the remaining tasks, and anyone is welcome to help contribute to CPAN Testers.

Some tasks left over from this hackathon:

Thanks to all the sponsors of meta::hack v2: Booking.com, cPanel, ServerCentral, and Kritika. Sponsoring events like this is how CPAN Testers a huge help to maintaining and enhancing the CPAN Testers project.

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user-pic I blog about Perl.