Book Wishlist: Mastering CPAN

I have been thinking recently that it would be so cool if there were a Mastering CPAN book, both for CPAN users and for CPAN authors. The best way to get the job done with CPAN is sometimes just so non-obvious. Such a book would be useful both for newcomers who still feel intimidated by CPAN as well as for more experienced users looking to learn some neat advanced techniques. A sample Table of Contents may look like this:

Part I: Using CPAN

  • Basics - what is CPAN, who hosts it, who contributes to it, etc.

  • Finding stuff on CPAN

  • Installing stuff from CPAN, CPAN.pm and CPANPLUS.pm, other shells, manual installation, PPM packages and repositories, .deb and .rpm packages, ActiveState Perl vs Strawberry Perl, compiling modules on Win32 with AS Perl and Visual Studio Express, understanding the overwhelming output of the cpan shell and figuring out which messages are important, failed tests and forced installs

  • Structure of a CPAN distribution, info you can find in META.yml, finding usage examples in the tests directory

  • Reporting bugs and finding support for a module

  • Creating your local minicpan, running a webserver for pod documentation

  • Advanced commands in the cpan shell, creating bundles for all of your installed modules, other local maintenance tasks

  • Other useful tools and websites: cpan testers, cpan dependencies, annocpan, cpanhq, diff and grep on search.cpan.org

Part II: Authoring CPAN Modules

  • The stuff from "Writing Perl Modules for CPAN" that is still relevant

  • EE::MM, Module::Build and Module::Install, including advanced options

  • Basic info on writing tests, testing modules on Win32 via the Microsoft Open Source Network CPAN Author Lab, cpantesters

  • Distribution management and upload tools

  • Basic techniques to write code that works with older versions of perl

Posted in Better CPAN
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