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TeeJay (2309)

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Working in Truro
Graduate with BSc (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks
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Journal of TeeJay (2309)

Sunday September 26, 2004
11:30 AM

managing the perl websites

[ #21055 ]
I followed a link through planet perl *cough*dogfood*cough* to Jeremy Smith's rant about perl websites.

He makes a very good point, works for me (but is probably still eating into pudge's free time), but other sites can suffer as they are small or pet projects and/or disorganised.

People have put a lot of effort into producing good sites, but as time moves forward they have new things to worry about (work, family, going to japan as a missionary, etc) and the sites can be left neglected or just fall behind the standards set by 'competitors' in other languages.

I know I have ideas about how to improve the searching for (who hasn't? some have even written there own alternatives) and feel strongly that we need to start pulling together on official or semi-official perl websites - not just the interesting and active ones like perlmonks and use.perl, but the ones that require decent copy, improvements and being kept up to date or follow improvements on sites and tools for other languages.

Often it can be off-putting to contribute to a website when the author is or appears to be hard to reach. Also when somebody runs a server they are sensibly reluctant to give out accounts or the privilidges to fix or modify the site.

Recently I have been working to get the tech talks page up to date. I expected it to be relatively simple but ate a lot more time than I expected and this has put me off volounteering to take on any more website fixing until it becomes quicker and easier.

Oddly it can be easier to get patches into a major piece of code than to get a small fix on a website. There aren't any mailing lists to discuss problems with a given perl website, no cvs of the current codebase,documents,images, etc and no bug/request tracking to make life easier for the maintainers.

If we could apply some of the techniques used to load-balance software projects to some of the perl websites it should make it quicker and easier to fix them. We can build informal webs of trust much like those that allow shared CVS access to a project or peer review of ideas and suggestions, FAQs, splitting or sharing of tasks, etc.

If I knew I could share responsability for maintaining a site that I would be interested in like graphing or OOPF or applications I would make a start next week. The perl applications page at could integrate nicely with apprentices, and rt, etc.

We could also use the websites to showcase cool perl technology like buscador to track lists, or siesta to manage lists, the perl SVN bindings or version tracking and bugzilla/rt are both perl, it can't be hard to port planet to perl either.

I don't have much freetime, but I would be prepared to contribute at least a few hours to helping organise something.

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  • Actually, you are referencing my points that I raise in the comment section of his post.
  • Sorry, you made some good points hopefully I have reinforced them here.

    Interested in forming a cabal - it would be nice if we had a list of who to contact about which websites and could try and make their lives easier.

    A little mailing list would be cool if anybody could set one up.


    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
    • Interesting idea. But how would a list address the issue of trust that I keeps rearing its ugly head?

      Perhaps what we need is a committee that oversees (important) Perl websites. This committee could make "suggestions" to website managers, such as the ones in Jeremy's article. The committee could also set goals for the different websites, and perhaps arrange for trusted volunteers to lend assistance where necessary. And this committee should have a mailing list.

      The importance of Perl's net presence shoul

      • You would build a web of trust as you would for development - people who submit patches and fixes will eventually be given cvs access, etc after the website maintainer feels they are trustworthy.

        With a mailing list, maintainers of websites will be able to share information and contributors will be able to prove their trustworthyness by the contributions to the list, face to face at meetings/conferences and irc. same as for development.

        If you have a committee it could get in the way and might not be suit


        @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
        print reverse @JAPH;
        • Anything helps! I am all for a list. Sign me up!

          I think an informal committee would help add an air of legitimacy (among the other things I already mentioned) to our efforts. I view this as a problem that should be addressed by the community at large. It would be nice if the Perl foundation could get involved somehow, too.

  • A good start would be to get in contact with Ask [] and get a mailing list going. Then, members can be recruited and people can all congregate on the list and discuss ways of moving forward.