carton-faq - Frequently Asked Questions
The particular problem that carton is trying to address is this:
You develop a Perl web application with dozens of CPAN module dependencies. You install these modules on your development machine, and describe these dependencies in your Makefile.PL or some other text format.
Now you get a produciton environment on Cloud PaaS provider or some VPS, you install the dependencies using
cpanm --installdeps . and it will pull all the latest releases from CPAN as of today and everything just works.
A few weeks later, your application becomes more popular, and you think you need another machine to serve more requests. You set up another machine with vanilla perl installation and install the dependencies the same way. That will pull the latest releases from CPAN on that date, rather than the same as what you have today.
And that is the problem. It's not likely that everything just breaks one day, but there's always a chance that one of the dependencies breaks an API compatibility, or just uploaded a buggy version to CPAN on that particular day.
Carton allows you to lock these dependencies into a version controlled system, so that every time you deploy from a checkout, it is guaranteed that all the same versions are installed into the local environment.
If you experience difficulties with these tools, or are interested in what could be better in carton, keep on reading.
carton definitely shares the goal with these private CPAN repository management tool:
Manage the dependencies tree locally
Take snapshots/lock the versions
Inject private modules into the repository
carton internally does the same thing, but its user interface is centerd around the installer, by implementing a wrapper for cpanm, so you can use the same commands in the development mode and deployment mode.
Carton automatically maintains the carton.lock file, which is meant to be version controlled, inside your application directory. You don't need a separate database or a directory to maintain tarballs outside your application. The carton.lock file can always be generated out of the local library path, and carton can reproduce the tree using the lock file on other machines.