Sunday, October 30, 2011

Further Tales of the CPAN

It’s been a CPAN weekend.

Now, several months ago, I talked about uploading my first module to CPAN.  I basically said then that I had no idea why it had taken me so long to finally get off my ass and upload something.

Well, now I know.  Because as soon as you start uploading crap to CPAN, people expect you to actually support it.  And, man ... that takes time.

It’s not that big a deal, really.  You don’t have to support your modules, of course, but I think I explained in some detail the whole “pride of ownership” thing, right?  And people judging you by your CPAN modules?  So you do end up feeling a sense of responsibility for making things work if other people are trying to use your code and having problems.  Plus you’d hate for your fellow Perlites to come along and think you were a slackass who never responded to bug reports.

So I try to keep up, and I try to make things work well.  Besides my first solo module, I’ve also been named comaintainer of another module that I’ve contributed heavily to, plus I agreed to take over yet another module that had a bug in it and its author had gotten out of the Perl game.  I’m still working on the first official release of that last one; I’ll probably have to spend part of what little remains of my weekend working on it, in fact.  There’s some weird problem in one of the test files, which I changed from the original because I found a bug in there, which I found when I tried to fix the original bug ... I’m dealing with three modules here, and I’m already starting to feel a bit overwhelmed!  How do people with a buttload of modules handle it?  Crazy, man ...

Actually, a big part of what I’ve been working on this weekend is repository surgery.  If you’re not a technogeek like me (and assuming you’ve bothered to read this far (which I don’t know why you would (but then I don’t know why you’d bother to read at all (reminder: see name of blog)))), perhaps you don’t know what I mean when I say “repository.”  It’s where you put your source code, for your software, when you want to keep track of all the history of it.  Now, as it turns out, some code that I originally wrote a long time ago, and have taken with me to various jobs, is actually being used by somebody other than me.  Not via CPAN, because I’m too much of a lameass to have put it up there, of course, but by a former co-worker who got it from me directly.  And recently (okay, like 3 weeks ago) he emailed me to ask me if he (or I) could put it up on CPAN now.  And, since I’m a bit less of a lameass now, I thought that was a pretty good idea.

So step 1 is to get the thing into a repository.  And, while it’s not absolutely necessary, I really would prefer for that repository to have the complete history of all the code.  But the code in question is only part of a larger repository that’s in an older format (i.e. Subversion) instead of the newer format I use nowadays (i.e. git).  So I have to convert and trim it down and move it over, and it still won’t be fit for release onto CPAN until I at least clean up the test suite a bit.  But I made a good start on that this weekend.  It’s not done, but ... well, it’s a start.

I’ve also been considering starting another blog.  Something a little more focussed on Perl, that perhaps might be more interesting to my fellow Perl travelers.  Which, on the face of it, is ridiculous.  First there’s my opinion on blogs in general, which certainly hasn’t changed.  And then there’s the fact that I barely have enough time to write this blog every week, much less write another one.  But, hey: I’m not gettin’ any younger ovah heah.  I’ve been doing Perl for about 15 years, programming professionally for over 20 (roughly half my life, at this point), programming in toto for around 30.  It’s not that I have a burning desire to be famous or anything.  But there’s a certain freedom that comes with recognition in your field, and I think it might be nice for a change to comment on a post on the Internet or somesuch and have people know that you actually know what you’re talking about instead of having a knee-jerk reaction of “who is this guy again?”  I dunno, maybe it is all selfish self-aggrandizement, but it seems at least worthwhile, if not strictly necessary.

If nothing else, it’ll give you twice as many options for ignoring me.

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