The Perl Toolchain Summit Project List

The Perl Toolchain Summit (PTS) is the annual event where we assemble the people who are actively working on the Perl toolchain, and give them 4 days to work together. In this blog post, we'll look at how we decide what everyone will work on, and give you a chance to make suggestions.

This blog post is brought to you by Perl Jobs by Perl Careers, which as well as helping Perl programmers find jobs, supports a number of community events, including the QA Hackathon last year.


In one of Philippe's blog posts about the summit, he described how the attendees are selected: we pick the people who have been working on the most important toolchain projects over the last year or so. We start off with the core tools, and ask their developers who they've been working with. The focus is tools that support Perl in Production.

As new tools emerge and become popular / important, the basis of selection evolves. Furthermore, people move on to new projects, or stop contributing to open source, and others step into their shoes. So over time the attendee list gradually changes. I think there's only one person who has been to every QA Hackathon / Toolchain Summit: H. Merijn Brand ("Tux"), who you may also know as the maintainer of Text::CSV_XS.

One of the benefits of the summit is having four days surrounded by others who have similar interests and motivations, with related and sometimes overlapping experience. As well as coding, this makes discussions one of the big values of attending: the chance to try and solve tricky problems that cross multiple systems, and to bounce around ideas for moving things forward.

The Project List

Everyone invited to the summit is expected to turn up with a pretty full backlog of things that need working on. You can see who's coming this year on the attendees page.

To facilitate preparation, collaboration, and avoid any surprises, we set up a project list. This is on the wiki that is part of the summit's web site.

All attendees are asked to list the projects they would like to work on at the summit. Hopefully this has a number of benefits:

  • Other attendees may be interested in helping on one of your projects, perhaps having relevant experience, or even having worked on it already. This can lead to discussions before the summit, so people arrived raring to go. Over time you'll see multiple names getting added to some projects.
  • Seeing other people's ideas can remind of you of things that are on your mental "must get around to" list.
  • Triggering "oh, while you're doing that, maybe you could also do this" type comments.
  • There are certain areas of the toolchain where multiple ideas get listed. As a result we can get everyone together for a chat at the start of the summit, to minimise people tripping over each other, and ensuring things are done in a sensible order, etc.

Items on the list aren't necessarily coding-related tasks, they might be discussions, or even a presentation.

What do you think?

The project list is public, so the entire community can have a look and suggest new ideas. Are there specific things you'd like to see addressed in the toolchain?

  • Bugs in specific tools that bite you on a regular basis?
  • Features you'd like to see added to cpanm, MetaCPAN.
  • New tools you think we'd all benefit from.
  • Good ideas we could borrow from other programming language communities.

Take a look at the list, and let us know if you'd like to suggest things for the list. You can add comments on this blog post, or reddit. Or you can email one of the organisers: neilb at cpan dot org, or book at cpan dot org.

Obviously there's no guarantee that your idea, bug, or request will actually get worked on at the summit, but throwing it into the mix can't hurt, and may prompt others to chip in.

About Perl Careers

Perl Careers is a Perl-focused recruitment consultancy, run by a Peter Sergeant, a CPAN contributor (PAUSE id SARGIE) with a recruitment background, rather than by a non-technical person. Peter works with clients and candidates in London, the US, and Australia. Peter is not only sponsoring the Toolchain Summit, he's attending it as well, to work on some of his Test modules.

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About Neil Bowers

user-pic Perl hacker since 1992.