CPAN Testers Summary - March 2012 - Brain Salad Surgery

So March ended on quite a high, following the 2012 QA Hackathon. With so many key people in one room, it was impressive to see how much got done. You can read reports from myself (parts 1 & 2), David Golden, Ricardo Signes, Miyagawa, Paul Johnson, Ovid and Dominique Dumont, and there were several tweets too, during and after the event, and the wiki also has a Results page. There was a significant number of uploads to PAUSE during and after the event too. And CPAN Testers has benefited hugely from the event.

Arguably the two biggest significant developments during the event were thanks to Breno G. de Oliveira, who not only added support for CPAN Testers within cpanminus, but also began the work on the long desired CPAN::Testers::Common::Client. While working on the former, Breno noticed that there was a lot of common reporting tasks (and differences) performed within CPAN::Reporter and CPANPLUS::YACSmoke. As he wanted to replicate this within his client for cpanminus, he asked whether it would make more sense to wrap this into a separate library, to which David and I were full of encouragement for. Breno set about setting up a GitHub repository and has been doing some fantastic work bring all the reporting together. You can follow his efforts of GitHub, as garu, and hopefully we shall start to see this distribution on CPAN and in Smoker clients soon.

While that may have been the most significant output for CPAN Testers, other parts of the toolchain also made some giant leaps. Having Andreas, David, Ricardo, Schwern and Miyagawa all together meant David's idea of changing the way we look at indexing CPAN, allowed kinks and ideas to be ironed out in minutes rather than weeks. David's idea is to distance the indexing system from the repository. This will allow other repositories, such as the many DarkPAN repositories out there, to use the same system and enable toolchain installers to point to different repositories as needed. Nick Perez is now working on CPAN::Common::Index, which will form the basis for the new system. You can read the details in David's write-up of the event. Hopefully this will be a major step forward to enable CPAN Testers to be used for independent repositories, which has been a request for many years.

In other news we finally announced the sponsorship website and CPAN Testers Fund. Over the past 10 years the CPAN Testers has been funded largely by the developers. In the last 5 years hosting, network and bandwidth has been increasing, with the developers and being the principal donors. While this is great, and we really do appreciate this, the bigger CPAN Testers becomes, the more support we need. As such we are hoping to encourage sponsorship from businesses and corporations, especially if they use Perl. If you would like to know more, please get in touch. Many thanks to the Enlightened Perl Organisation for managing the CPAN Testers Fund for us.

On the mailing list there was a discussion about the reports not showing the differences in tests where strings look identical, but where one may contain control characters. Personally I feel trying to fix this in the browser is too late. As we treat the test report as a complete piece of text, we cannot currently isolate the test output to know what control characters to highlight. It could end up confusing the viewer. Andreas also thought that the author should include more appropriate tests in their test suite, and suggested the use of Test::LongString, Test::Differences or Test::HexDifferences.

As we've mentioned a few times, the SQLite database download is no longer as reliable as it once was. Andreas believes that we may have a unusual text pattern that is causing the problem, but whatever it is, it's not something we know how to solve. As the database file is high maintenance, I would like to abandon it sooner rather than later. If you currently consume the SQLite database, please take a look at the new CPAN::Testers::WWW::Reports::Query::Reports release. This now the preferred way to request records from the master cpanstats database. For the summaries, you now also have CPAN::Testers::WWW::Reports::Query::AJAX. If you have any problems or suggestions for improvements, please let me know.

On a final note, please be aware that CPAN Testers will be down for maintenance on Thursday 12th April. We'll try get everything back online as soon as possible. Thanks to Bytemark Hosting for helping us with the disk upgrade.

Cross-posted from the CPAN Testers Blog.

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