Expanding Your MetaCPAN Author Profile

Now that you can log in to MetaCPAN via Twitter, Github and Facebook it's trivial to update your author profile. For example, if you look at my author page, you'll see some pretty icons with links to various other sites I care about. All of this takes just minutes to set up and it does two things:

1) It makes your author page sexier
2) It makes you easier to find, follow, pester etc

One aim of MetaCPAN is to make it easier to contact authors in the Perl community. The author info is available via the API. For example, if you want a list of every author to date who has logged in to update her info (91 at the time of writing):


Now, let's look at some interesting ways you might use this data.

1) Find PAUSE authors on Twitter:


In combination with Net::Twitter, this info could be used to create a PAUSE authors list which anyone could follow.

2) Find PAUSE authors on Github:


In tandem with the Github API, there are lots of very cool ways you can use this. Also, this could be a source used in updating Acme::CPANAuthors::GitHub

3) Create an world map of authors

Some authors have chosen to share their locations (lon/lat), this could make for interesting maps.

Now, this really scratches the surface, since there are many other profile types authors have chosen to share like slideshare, coderwall, google+, facebook, stackoverflow. With so many APIs to choose from, the mashup possibilities are certainly there.

If you look at existing modules, the Acme::CPANAuthors::CountryName namespace could be tweaked to use MetaCPAN. It's probably much easier to handle author tracking via the API than by manually adding author ids to a module which you constantly have to upload to CPAN for any minor edit.

Now, what's missing here? First off, very few authors have added their IRC names. It would be great to have this as it provides a trivial method of mapping IRC nicks to actual people.

Secondly, with a few simple additions, MetaCPAN could be used to create a very powerful Perl jobs site. We'd need some more info, though. Something like:

coding_perl_since: YYYY-MM
may_contact_with_offers: 1|0
willing_to_relocate: 1|0

Those are just some parameters off the top of my head. The way I see it, we have decent Perl listings for passive job searches. As an employer you can post on jobs.perl.org and wait for applicants to contact you. However, with current author information in an API, we could easily put together a powerful search which could help potential employers locate authors who are looking for work and who also match a certain set of parameters (location/willing to relocate/years of experience/etc).

It's a very practical use for the MetaCPAN API and it could help to keep Perl developers employed. It could also reduce some of the frustration for employers experience as they wait for the resumes to trickle in.


A few remarks to make it more awesome:
1. I can't find where to put my IRC nickname ?
2. What's the benefit of signing on with github ? It doesn't even add a github profile link. (Likewise for twitter)

Metacpan itself doesn't have logins, it uses those of other sites to auth you. And it doesn't add those by default so you can have different auth logins and public profiles if you wish to, or keep your profiles private.

right, that was a good excuse to start using metacpan rather than search cpan.org. What I did was sign on with my PAUSE account, and then update my old bookmark associated with the keyword "cpan" to read:


Now in firefox anyway I can type cpan in the url bar and instead of my old search.cpan.org shortcut it now sends me to metacpan with the search term already filled in. Thanks!

Looks good but how do I can my avatar?

shawnhcorey: you need to create an avatar with gravatar.com and associate it with the email address on file with your PAUSE account.

@Nick Patch: I did. It never showed up. :(

Thanks for setting me up with a tiny idea: Some sort of index where you can see a list of CPAN authors and their Github data. So I can check out new people I did not know
before and see what interesting projects they have :)!


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About Olaf Alders

user-pic I hack on MetaCPAN, CPAN modules and other fun stuff.