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jj (2990)

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Software development manager for OpusVL [], member of Birmingham Perl Mongers [] and maintainer of [].

Follow me on Twitter at [].

Journal of jj (2990)

Monday August 16, 2010
02:57 PM

TPF News website redesign

I've just uploaded a new design for Based on the style, it implements Phil Smith's idea for the "Explore Perl" toolbar. I'll blog in more detail about this later, but essentially we've now got a single list of links that appear on multiple sites but are maintained in a single place.

Many thanks to Ask, Squeaky, Phil Smith, and Karen for their help and ideas.

P.S. As with any redesign there may be the odd browser issue or bug, so if anything looks amiss please email me at and I'll look into it.

Thursday September 24, 2009
09:02 AM

Building Web Mashups with Catalyst

Last night I gave my talk Web Mashups with Catalyst at the Birmingham Perl Mongers technical meeting.

We also had two guest speakers - Stuart Langridge talked about the future of Python web development, and Nick Harewood demonstrated Microsoft Silverlight and Expression Blend.

It was very interesting to hear about these different approaches to web development. Of particular interest was SketchFlow - seems like a great way to prototype and get feedback on the functional parts of a design without getting tied up over the visuals.

Wednesday September 09, 2009
06:54 AM

Easy thumbnail images from Catalyst

A couple of days ago I released Catalyst::View::Thumbnail, which provides an easy way to serve thumbnail images. It should work with any model that can put raw image data onto the stash (you don't need the MIME type, it's automatically detected), so a controller to produce thumbnails 100px high would look like this:

sub thumbnail :Local :Args(1) {
   my ($self, $c, $filename) = @_;

   $c->stash->{image} = $c->model('Images')->slurp($filename);
   $c->stash->{y}     = 100;


Have a read of the tutorial, Creating thumbnails with Catalyst, and please let me know of any fearure requests or bug reports.

The source code is on GitHub at, and on CPAN at



Wednesday August 26, 2009
08:59 AM

local::lib installation walkthrough

I've put together a short guide to installing Perl modules without root access using local::lib.

If anyone has any corrections or suggestions for improvement, please let me know!



Update: Yasuhiro Matsumoto has kindly posted a Japanese translation of the guide. Thanks!

Monday August 24, 2009
05:27 AM updated for Perl 5 version 10.1

Hot on the heels of the Perl 5 version 10.1 release, I've updated with the new documentation. Thanks to Dave Mitchell and everyone else involved in getting the 10.1 release out, well done!

The old Perl 5 version 10.0 documentation has been moved to



Friday August 14, 2009
12:24 PM source code on GitHub

Today I uploaded the source code to GitHub, the repository is at Issues, feature requests, and patches are all very welcome!

I've also made a few additions to the perldoc FAQs on the project page.



Saturday August 08, 2009
08:15 AM

YAPC::Europe 2009

Just wanted to say a big thanks to Cog, Alberto, Joana, and everyone else involved in putting on such a fantastic conference!

I saw many excellent talks, caught up with lots of friends in the hallway track, enjoyed many bottles of Super Bock, and generally had a grand time. Thank you!

Oh, and my YAPC::Europe photos are now online.



Tuesday July 28, 2009
11:36 AM

Fixing Firefox Flicker

A few people have pointed out to me that scrolling down pages on was causing their screens to flicker.

Unfortunately I've not been able to reproduce the problem, even when using exactly the same web browser and OS versions. From the reports I've had, it only appears to affect Firefox, only affects a very small number of people, and has nothing to do with CPU power.

However, after some more investigation and help from those affected I think I've found a fix.

The perldoc CSS uses visibility: hidden; to hide the draggable page index window - this gets changed to visibility: visible; when the "Show page index" link is clicked. Today I updated the site to use display: none; and display: block; in addition to setting the visibility property, and according to reports this seems to have solved the problem.

Apologies to those affected, and thank you to Martin von Wittich, Offer Kaye, and Michael Ivanchenko for their help in testing.

Today's update also adds a preferences page which allows you to change the positioning of the navigation bar from Fixed (the default - the nav bar is anchored to the top of the screen) to Standard (nav bar scrolls with the page content).


JJ -

Wednesday July 22, 2009
05:39 AM

Improving load times

Following the perldoc design update, I've now started work on various fixes and optimisations.

The first of these is page load time.

After profiling in Safari, it became apparent that a large proportion of the load time was due to latency, and that the JavaScript files were blocking the loading of images, delaying the final page render.

These issues are now fixed, and the stats for the perldoc homepage are as follows:

  • Images
    Reduced from 10 to 3
  • JavaScript files
    Reduced from 4 to 1
  • HTTP requests
    Reduced from 19 to 9 (3 of which are for Google Analytics)
  • Total download size
    Reduced from 222Kb to 165Kb

With a few extra tweaks to the object load order and placement of JavaScript files, the overall page load time should now be significantly reduced.

Friday July 17, 2009
08:53 AM

Major update to

I'm pleased to announce a significant update to, the Perl documentation website.

The main change is a complete new visual design, bringing a fresh, modern look to the site. Additionally there are a number of new features to aid navigation and usability - a floating page index window, recently read pages list, improved Pod rendering, and many more.

Over the next few weeks I'm planning a few more updates, including extending the site to hold documentation for all Perl 5.8.x releases.

I've tested the new design using a variety of browsers, but if anything looks amiss please email me at with your OS and browser versions, and if possible a screenshot.



JJ -