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Posts Tagged ‘portability’

Disappearing CPAN Modules

Somewhere in my Super Programming Languages post, I asserted that in some of my scripts, 95% of the work has already been done by third party libraries. Such is the power of the CPAN! And other folks obviously use Perl for similar reasons – there are libraries available that solve at least part of their problem.

So, I’m surprised when people complain that libraries have been provided that help them out.

Steve obviously had second thoughts over publishing this post (google cache). Is blogpost necrophilia reasonable here? I’m afraid I’ve seen other people make similar arguments, and I can’t remember the location of their posts. Sorry Steve.

Ok, so from that, I can gather this: I’m screwed because I used perl for a script, and now the module author has decided to completely abandon the module, because it is based upon another module that doesn’t install worth anything. Cool!

He used an extremely useful and mature scripting language and a module that solves part of his problem. Because the module doesn’t work with a later version of that excellent scripting language, he’s doomed, doomed, DOOMED I tell you. And of course, it’s Perl’s fault.

The first thing is that he’s not doomed. He is simply going to have to find an alternative module or implement the functionality provided by the module himself. He’d have had to do that if the module wasn’t provided anyway. So in no way was he disadvantaged by having the module (and Perl) available.

The other thing is that this happens in every changing environment. Say your C++ compiler upgrades and you were inadvertently depending on a particular bug. Oops! (Don’t laugh – it happens). If your firm upgrades Excel to version 2000007, maybe your macros aren’t going to run any more. We’re moving to a 64-bit OS and I’m glad there’s a bunch of Perl that I can be confident will more or less work. I’m not looking forward to porting the C++ though.

To try and add a fair and balanced viewpoint, I should point out that part of the argument does make sense. It is disappointing that Daemon::Simpler has gone from Backpan. Having said that, sometimes it is important to take some responsibility. Any module that I bring into our production environment is archived as is the current version of perl we’re using.

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