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rjbs (4671)

rjbs
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http://rjbs.manxome.org/
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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Sunday June 04, 2006
08:05 PM

mail audit and other nightmares

[ #29801 ]

I actually did have some bad dreams a few days ago, but I can't remember what made them so bad. I remember being told that I needed a haircut, but that's about it -- and I doubt that was especially traumautic.

This has been a mixed weekend. On one hand, on both Saturday and Sunday I found myself hanging out at St. Nick's Greek Orthodox church with Gloria and other friends, eating delicious Greek food and relaxing. I watched some good movies, ate some ice cream, and relaxed a bit. On the other hand, various computer-related things are making me lose my hair.

On Saturday night, one of our few remaining not-quite-redundant servers went down, which led to a trip to our colocation facility. It really wasn't so bad, except that it happened at all. At least it means that one of our non-standard boxes will soon be history. Also, it gave me a chance to have some diet Mountain Dew, which I haven't had in quite a while.

Both yesterday and today I've been working on Mail::Audit. We use it quite a bit at work, and it's in the Phalanx 100. A lot of people use it, but its behavior isn't very strictly defined, so I'm trying to figure out how much of its behavior is really relied upon. I hate the idea of releasing a "bug fix" version of software that's been stable (or stagnant) for years, only to break a lot of people's email filters. I'm fighting a few things: the interface and behavior aren't always well documented and are entirely untested; further, the existing undocumented behavior is sometimes clearly sub-optimal or just wrong. I really don't want to break existing code, but I also don't want to go ahead and document bad things.

What I really need is a formal deprecation schedule, but those aren't quite so useful when a module has been stagnant so long that people believe it's dead. It would be nice if there were a more uniform, universal way to alert module consumers to news.

$ cpan-announce Mail-Audit "In six months, the 'noexit' feature will change."

Oh well. For now, I think I'll stick to just documenting things... although I will probably make a list of things I want to change. Is there some useful place I should post such a list, which I just can't think of?

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  • Isn’t it dead because it’s been superseded by Email::Filter [cpan.org]? Hmm, I was going to say that that’s where I’d start with my own filtering efforts nowadays, but that looks quite dead too, with 2-year-old bugs in the tracker.

    Anyway, how about just leaving inline notices that a behaviour may change when you document it, as well as adding to the TODO and/or BUGS AND LIMITATIONS sections in the POD?

    • Right. Like much of the "Perl Email Project," Email::Filter is languishing with open bugs and no real development. I could migrate our code from one to the other, then implement the features that were dropped form Email::Filter, and then realize that Email::Filter is being ignored.

      I feel that my employer and I are much better off starting with the inferior-in-code tools and improving them until they're as good. Since we trust the maintainer (me), we don't need to worry about lists of ignored bugs.
      --
      rjbs