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Re: Effective communication OR Is POWERman the sacred cow

by tye (Sage)
on Sep 15, 2006 at 18:37 UTC ( #573221=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Reliable software: SOLVED (was: Reliable software OR Is CPAN the sacred cow)

Calling all of your modules POWER::* gets you plonked into the "kooks who don't 'get' CPAN" category. All modules must be well named. 99.9% of your modules have horrid names. Nobody of powerman cares at all about effective communication. A module that is 100% reliable is no good if nobody can find it and nobody wants to use it because the author comes across as a ranting loon.

Complaining about the quality of what is on CPAN when none of your modules are on CPAN also costs your credibility points. If you think CPAN can be done so much better, then please prove it by actually producing a module that would be admired by the Perl community and could serve as an example of how to do CPAN modules right. But please don't upload modules named POWER::* and really don't upload a module with a totally useless name like POWER::Utils.

Actually, I'm not sure that you uploading modules to CPAN is a great idea. I'm glad that you put a lot of stress on reliability and identify some features that can be important if you need very reliable solutions. However, reliability isn't the only desirable feature of a CPAN module and I don't think you'd be good at meeting the other desirable features. Good Enlish documentation is required. If all of your modules require POWER::Utils then I suspect you don't have a good enough grasp on modularizing parts of software. Then naming modules isn't an easy task and it is one that is very often not done well enough on CPAN, and I worry that your contributions wouldn't be an improvement on this front.

Please do contribute to CPAN. But I think it would be better if you contributed to CPAN by, as clearly and politely as possible, identifying where existing modules fail in ways you consider important and working with the maintainers of those modules to get improvements made. I currently get frustrated that CPAN seems to stress ownership too much and contribution too little, so it will require your best diplomacy and communication skills to get your contributions successfully into existing CPAN modules. The best case would probably be if some module authors would let you write code (perhaps provided to them as patches). Alternately, you could find someone to help you with your weaknesses and produce reliable code while they ensure that it is more modular, better named, and better documented so that it would make a good CPAN module.

I think you raise some important points. But I don't think you've raised them in a way that is going to do anyone any good. Software can't just be reliable. It must also "work for me", else it won't get used and all of that work making it reliable is wasted.

I agree that CPAN in general would benefit from more attention to issues of reliability. It would be great if you could focus your energy on this point to actually get this improved reliability up on CPAN where people will find it and be able to use it is not just reliable but also "works for them". Doing that isn't always easy. I certainly can find many examples of where I haven't done this.

- tye        

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