2010 Grant Proposal: CPAN Reviews


CPAN reviews


Alexandr Ciornii ('chorny' on IRC and PAUSE).


[hidden email] (backup) [hidden email]

Amount Requested:



Many CPAN modules have good documentation, many have bad documentation. But there is no such thing as enough documentation. There are many good reviews, examples, descriptions outside CPAN. I propose to collect them and cataloguize.

I want to make a site with links to reviews of CPAN modules. In general this site should be community-moderated, community-edited and allow users adding links to do minimal work first and enhance later, i.e. use this site as a bookmarking service.

Benefits to the Perl Community

Simplify learning CPAN modules for novices and mature users - no need to scan google search results, and be able to see is it worth reading review or not, by opinion of others.

Ability to store list of useful links and share it with others.

Possibility of integrating list of links into author own page.

Additional benefits:

A ready code of site to copy and use for similar purposes.

Support for OpenID/Bitcard in CGI::Application.


Code of web app (under open license)

Working site

CPAN module to support for OpenID/Bitcard in CGI::Application.

After release I will maintain and enhance code and site further.

Project Details

I plan to develop it using CGI::Application. I will need to develop CGI::Application::Plugin::Authentication plugin for OpenID/Bitcard.

Users will be able to vote up/down for link, report spam or dupe link, comment. Every link will have title and description (only one from them will be mandatory), language, date (original), tags, list of modules described in review. After adding link, some info will be fetched automatically, so user will need to edit it.

No users registration at all, OpenID/Bitcard only.

There would be ready JavaScript widgets for other sites:

  1. To display list of links for a module (sorted by popularity).
  2. To display number of links for a module.

They would be customizable, by language of links or language list can be received from HTTP headers. Also JSON output should be available.

Site would be able to get list of links from RSS feeds by tag (I propose "cpanreview", but this will be discussed with Perl community). Also tags like "cpanreview-Module::Name" or "cpanreview-Dist-Name" would add association with module. Unassociated links would be displayed separately on special page for anyone who would like to review some links.

It would be possible for any user with sufficient number of upvotes (for ex. 2) to modify title/description/module_list of link. Number of votes should be customizable for every operation.

Later I want to ask owners of http://search.cpan.org and http://kobesearch.cpan.org/ to include links to corresponding pages on modules pages.

Github will be used for hosting code.


  1. OpenID/Bitcard plugin
  2. Adding links
  3. Automating fetching data about link added by user (title, modules mentioned)
  4. Voting/spam/dupe
  5. Comment system
  6. Community editing
  7. JavaScript output, export to JSON
  8. RSS fetching
  9. Refactoring based on opinion of Perl community on real version.

Project Schedule

I will begin work immediately, with 10-15 hours a week. First version with reduced capabilities should be available in 1.5 month, full version in 3 month.


I'm Perl programmer from Moldova (Europe). I've working in Perl from 2000, joined Strawberry Perl project in 2006. I'm active memeber of Perl community, maintain 18 modules on CPAN and several more are planned for release next month. I have big number of patches for Perl modules, including CGI::Application plugins, ExtUtils::MakeMaker, Module::Install.


This would be great. The current CPAN Reviews site is a hassle for new users (bitcard--) and all of these features sound great. I think importing the reviews from the existing CPAN reviews would be cool too, but that could be done after this is finished.

Where is the site going to live once it is up and running?

Does this grant application cover the costs of hosting the site?

Shouldn't this augment cpanratings instead? Would it be impossible to start from what exists?

> Shouldn't this augment cpanratings instead? Would it be impossible to start from what exists?

CPAN Ratings has different goal. CPAN Ratings reviews are small and choice oriented. CPAN Reviews reviews should not be limited to choice, but also have comparison of modules, complementing documentation, etc. And it would be more complex system.

CPAN Ratings is written in Combust which requires mod_perl 1.3/Apache 1.3. Apache 1.3 was recently EOL'ed.

> Where is the site going to live once it is up and running? Does this grant application cover the costs of hosting the site?

I have possibility to host this site for free.

Hi Alexandr,

CPAN Ratings is running on Apache 2.

$ curl -sI http://cpanratings.perl.org/ | grep ^Server
Server: Apache/2.2.14 (Unix) mod_apreq2-20090110/2.7.1 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.8.8

Will you host the site for free forever? If not, for how long?

Also: For the "extra features" that CPAN Ratings doesn't do now -- what will make people post their module comparisons to the new site rather than their weblogs. blogs.perl.org etc? For tips on documentation - isn't that AnnoCPAN?

- ask

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Alberto Simões published on February 6, 2010 5:00 PM.

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