Kieren Diment
and 1 contributors



Why the Monthly is not a Catalyst App

Back in the old days when web frameworks were new and shiny it made sense for developers to show off how the framework makes development quick easy and fun with little demonstration applications. Create a blog in 5 minutes is the classic example. the Catalyst Advent Calendar code was another. And it served well for quite some time.

So when the time came to retire the calendar and replace it with this monthly we needed some new infrastructure. Well the obvious answer was to replace it with some new infrastructure. At first thought you'd think that we might want to write a new Catalyst app. But think again.

Basically all we really want to do is to provide a location on the web where these articles appear. Putting them into an RSS feed would also be handy. Finally publishing that RSS feed onto their own page would be useful too.

While we could use Catalyst to do this, why should we? Given we've got a good packaging and distribution mechanism (the CPAN), and given we've got a CPAN browser with a nice API (MetaCPAN), and given we've got a nice documentation formatting mechanism (pod), that's already all we need. We don't need Catalyst for this, because it's not especially big or complicated. For big and complicated things like CPAN, a Catalyst application is a useful thing, which is why we've got MetaCPAN. To use an analogy, just because we've got a hydraulic nail gun (Catalyst) doesn't mean we should go about shooting everything we own with nails.

But although we don't need a Catalyst application we do need volunteers.

Making the Catalyst Monthly a Success

Here's what we need to make the Catalyst Monthly a success:

  • Articles. They can be longer (like last month's), or shorter (like this month's). It shouldn't take more than an hour to write a decent-ish article based on work you've already done. Remember there are always editors available to look at your work and fix writing issues.

  • Infrastructure. We need an RSS feed created based on the MetaCPAN API distribution, and/or from the Monthly's <L|git repository>.

  • Readers. Commenters might be nice too. But we can get them after we get the infrastructure up, maybe by exploiting the Disqus service. We get more readers from having better infrastructure.

Remember, Catalyst is glue to make web-like programing easy, efficient and DRY (don't repeat yourself). It's not a universal nail gun for all of your programming problems. It's the sign of a good web framework that it gets out of your way until you need it, then it allows you to accomodate your prior assumptions.

Words and a little bit of code: Kieren Diment <>


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