Wow, the last time I wrote about what's up with Mason was almost two years ago.
So here's the "latest" news
Soon after my last update, we released Mason 1.30, which was the culmination of development work that had been going on for about a year or so. The big focus of that release was incorporating various speed enhancements from Amazon.
Since then, the 1.3x series has seen a few more releases, with 1.36 coming any day now. This series has been entirely bug fixes or minor features, and that's not likely to change.
The main reason for this is that Mason is a pretty mature product. It works well for what it's designed to do, and as a templating system it has enough features that we're not scrambling to add a lot more. There are improvements that are worth making, but we're also concerned about backwards compatibility, so we're limited in terms of what we can change.
Historically, Mason has always been more than a templating system. A few years ago, I thought this was great, and I even extended it further with modules like Mason::WebApp.
Recently, Jon Swartz and I have both been trying out Catalyst for new apps. I like it pretty well, and I think Jon does too. We discussed the future of Mason and we both agreed that there's not much point in making Mason a better framework. Catalyst and Jifty just do a better job of this, and there's no point in trying to compete with them, especially since if you like Mason you can use it with either of them (and other frameworks as well).
However, we both still like Mason as a templating language. We talked about what a Mason 2.0 might look like, and agreed that one primary goal would be to separate the templating portion of the system from the framework portion.
I put some notes about this on the Mason HQ site at Mason20Notes. My personal preference would be to simply focus on the templating language portion, and build something suitable for use with Catalyst or Jifty. I'd also like to take this as a chance to break some backwards compatibility. However, there's still no firm plans on whether Mason 2.0 will happen, or exactly what will change.
I think that though Mason is "old" it's still pretty darn good. I haven't seen a new templating system come by that I think looks better, though I am intrigued by Jesse Vincent's Template::Declare. The Mason community is still active, primarily on the mason-users mailing list. It's also still showing up as a desired skill in jobs posted to the Perl jobs site. One interesting thing I've noticed is several UK jobs mentioning Mason, whereas a few years ago it seemed like TT2 had a lock on the UK. I don't think the total # of Mason jobs has changed greatly, but maybe they're moving around.
Ok, see you in two years or so