Development

MetaCPAN Needs You!

Our code base is based on current best practices and modern web technologies. Our stack includes Catalyst, Plack, ElasticSearch, jQuery, Bootstrap and nginx. We also use Puppet for deployment and Vagrant + VirtualBox for development VMs. We have integration with Twitter, Github, PAUSE, Facebook and Google. All code is managed on Github and we have an active channel (#metacpan) on irc.perl.org. Try the mibbit web client to access the channel. The IRC channel has an archive as well.

There are many available projects within MetaCPAN which you could take on or contribute to and there is also room for you to suggest improvements which you would like to make.

The wishlist contains (larger) items that we want to 'get around to'. The project list is ever growing and subject to change as volunteers take items on, but here's a sampling of what we'd love for you to consider working on.

Improve Search

metacpan.org already has workable search functionality, but it could be improved a lot. This is our main pain point. We need help in the following areas:

  • Porting our Elasticsearch from 0.21 to 1.x
  • Optimizing current searches so that they return results faster
  • Improving the current search to return more relevant results
  • Adding the ability to search on other things, like authors
  • Including TRIAL releases in search results

You do not need to have any working knowledge of Elasticsearch in order to take this on. We are here to point you at the resources you need to be successful with this. Taking this on means you'll learn a lot about Elasticsearch and you'll get experience working with a lot of data at once. These are skills which can benefity you greatly in your professional life working in IT.

Bug Fixes

There are hundreds of outstanding issues waiting to be resolved. The large number of tickets is not indicative of a lack of response on the part of MetaCPAN developers (we try to stay on top of them), but it indicates the enthusiasm with which people are helping us track ways to improve. Starting with some open issues would be a good way to familiarize yourself with our codebase.

API Documentation

Because things traditionally have changed so rapidly, our documentation has either not kept up or not been written to completion. You can help us (and many Perl developers) by documenting the API and posting example code for both new and experienced MetaCPAN users. For example, most people do not know that MetaCPAN can function as an OAuth provider and could, therefore, be used for authenticating users across a range of Perl services. You could post example code for this use case and help facilitate MetaCPAN OAuth integrations.

MetaCPAN is used by web, command line, Android and iOS apps, so there are many kinds of examples which could be documented.

What Can We Offer you?

It's already clear from the materials above that there are many ways for you to make your mark on MetaCPAN, but what can we offer you? You will have the chance to be mentored by experienced (and employed) Perl developers. We will carefully review all of your code and give you constructive (and kind) feedback. We will help you improve your code and your coding practices. MetaCPAN is a positive place. We will help you get from A to B with your code, but your work won't be trashed and you won't be insulted. We value all contributions and we want every contributor to know that she or he is appreciated. There are some harsh places on the Internet and in Open Source. This is not one of them.

You'll have the chance to learn about the technologies as listed in our "stack" above. You will have help and guidance in working with these technologies from people who are quite familiar with them. Your code will deploy on robust hardware (think 30+ GB of RAM). Your code will often deploy within hours or even minutes of being submitted. Your work will immediately be put to the test by our many users on our very busy services. You'll gain experience in NoSQL (ElasticSearch), git, and also in participating in an Open Source project which functions as a highly available web service. You will gain experience not just in writing code, but in participating in the full cycle of code deployment, skills which are quite valuable in the real world.

If any of this sounds remotely interesting to you, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can contact me directly via the information listed below. If you just want to see how you like the project, feel free to get involved via github, IRC or both. We'll guide you through the process and you can decide for yourself if it's a good fit for you. We look forward to hearing from you.

A good first read is the "How to contribute" document.

Main repositories:

Front end: https://github.com/CPAN-API/metacpan-web

API: https://github.com/CPAN-API/cpan-api

Example scripts: https://github.com/CPAN-API/metacpan-examples