FAQ
Naming a new module or other Perl project is difficult. Perhaps the
process cannot be easy but it seems more difficult than necessary.
Various people may be consulted but while they may be ready to express
an opinion on a suggested name, they are less motivated to originate
one. I believe it is a circular dependency: A specific name arouses a
specific interest; an interested party discusses one name and perhaps
suggests another. I'd like to look for an independent way to inject name
suggestions and get the cycle started.

The required data is at hand: CPAN itself, in the form of POD. Each
module describes itself and while this is not perfect, it's good and
it's available.

My concept has the projector of a new module *begin* by describing his
project as best he can, in a plain English text file, preferably as POD
for the imagined module. This "search text" can then be compared with
the POD database and a list of *existing*, related modules generated.
That list may serve as a starting point for the projector to select a
name or two to submit to closer, human examination.

As a trivial side effect, if the search text includes a tentative name
for the new project and the name is already in use, this will be
flagged. As a more significant effect, if the search text matches any
existing module *too* closely, it may be taken as a sign that the new
project so closely duplicates existing effort that the projector might
better consider collaboration. A byproduct of this service is an
alternate method of locating modules for direct use. Both Google and
CPAN search have limitations.

I'd love to discuss the technical aspects but first, like all projects,
this one requires a name (and is not yet available to suggest one for
itself!) So, please, take a moment to think about this; the sooner you
offer an acceptable name, the sooner you will have to deal with fewer
requests of the same sort.

--
-Xiong

Search Discussions

  • Nadim khemir at Aug 24, 2010 at 11:13 pm
    Xiong, with all due respect, the signal to noise ratio of your mail is very
    low. Although you write a very agreeable English, I feel less and less
    inclined to answer you because you mails get more and more fuzzy and goalless.

    You remind me one of my students who delivered a dissertation about Software
    engineering when I asked him for a programming project. Great read but I
    benched him.

    Yes, starting with Perl modules is difficult, yes naming is difficult, yes one
    still feels like a beginner after 10+ years.

    So, what is it you want from us? The clearer you get the more help we can give
    you. But this is a forum of working Perl engineers. If you want to chitchat,
    another forum may be more appropriate.

    Go ahead, deliver a badly thought, badly named module. We'll certainly kick
    you ass afterward and I'll probably be the one asking you why you didn't "ask
    before you did it". But just do it, this is Perl not a bloody Java forum where
    we need a committee to decide whatever new module a newbie is going to name
    and develop.

    Don't patronize with whatever knowledge you have gleaned. We (more or less)
    know what it takes to write a module and remember we _do_ _not_ have to offer
    any acceptable anything! Come with reasonable mails or expect someone to tell
    you to bugger off!

    Cheers, Nadim.
  • Xiong Changnian at Aug 25, 2010 at 1:02 am

    On Wed, 2010-08-25 at 01:13 +0200, nadim khemir wrote:

    ...you mails get more and more fuzzy and goalless.
    Well, I'm sorry to see that; I thought I'd been clear. I feel it's
    better to give more detail, which you're welcome to ignore; rather than
    less, inviting you to ignore the whole request as incomplete. I believe
    my goals are fairly well defined. I apologize for any lack and stand
    ready to make it good.

    So, what is it you want from us?
    I plan to start a project to generate module name suggestions by
    comparing PODs. I'd appreciate any suggestions for what I might name
    that project.

    I also have underway a testing framework for which I have no good name.
    I'd appreciate any suggestions for naming it.

    In both cases, I've searched (without result) for existing projects that
    mine might duplicate. If I've missed something (as I did in the case of
    the orthogonal file manager), I'd be very grateful to find out.

    Go ahead, deliver a badly thought, badly named module.
    Sorry; I'd rather not; especially if you will ask me afterward why I
    didn't ask first. The last time I began a project without first
    soliciting comment on its name, I ran into later difficulties that
    stalled development for weeks. (I'm happy to say that the project is now
    in release.) My first choice was very bad.

    Conversely, I have been planning and working for months on an orthogonal
    file manager. I did not know what to call it; I was totally ignorant of
    the general class. Posting here led me to explore existing tools of
    great potential; and to abandon a flimsy shadow of a crippled duplicate.
    I have saved thousands of hours of foolish effort; I'm extremely
    grateful.

    I realize there is a school of thought in which authors choose Perl
    project names without consultation. In the face of repeated, loud
    exhortations to consult, I am uneasy joining this school.

    However, I ask you to notice (in the project I currently offer to
    criticism) I intend to assist authors, such as myself, with automated
    suggestions we can bring with us to the consultation. This will not
    usurp the role of those who guide but may lessen the fuzziness of
    requests for guidance.

    Don't patronize with whatever knowledge you have gleaned.
    I'm sorry you feel patronized. I don't think I wrote anything that does
    not explain what I have done, what I intend to do, or why. I do not
    pretend to educate.

    You may find the register in which I write overly formal. I don't wish
    to insult anyone who may be more comfortable writing in another style. I
    struggle to write clearly and accurately. I'm aware that my words here
    are immutable and I cannot suffer poor grammar to represent myself.

    Come with reasonable mails or expect someone to tell you to bugger off!
    I have spent nearly two hours on this message, ruthlessly extracting
    every word that does not pay its freight. The result may not be
    reasonable. But I cannot afford more time; nor would I risk less.

    I have come to expect certain types of remark. Absent clear suggestions
    for improvement, I regret that I cannot act upon them.

    It's possible that you consider discussions of proposed modules off
    topic on this list. Yet multiple sources point to the list as a place
    for these discussions. I'd greatly appreciate clarifications.

    --
    -Xiong
  • Nadim at Aug 25, 2010 at 7:39 am
    I should have wrote: "Shorter mails please"

    We already spend too much time in mail agents. This list could use some
    more debate and long running threads but about a tad more serious
    things.

    Module::Name::Casandra
    Module::Name::Python
    Module::Name::Oracle

    Then you can have submodule for Pod or whatever source you use for your
    predictions. In any case deliver ONE single distro with all the relevant
    modules in it. I hate it when CPAN gets "spammed".

    It is _your_ job to come with names and ours job to help you
    chose, not the opposite. it's OK once in a while but if it is too often
    (this is not just for you but anybody using this list) you will find
    this list to be very silent.

    Finally, once you have something working, you may want to share that
    with the cpan search engines as I find their search "engines" to be
    less useful than they should/could be.
  • Aldo Calpini at Aug 25, 2010 at 8:07 am

    On 25.08.2010 03:02, Xiong Changnian wrote:
    You may find the register in which I write overly formal. I don't wish
    to insult anyone who may be more comfortable writing in another style. I
    struggle to write clearly and accurately. I'm aware that my words here
    are immutable and I cannot suffer poor grammar to represent myself.
    there is a fine line between "formally correct" and "obnoxious to read",
    and you crossed it :-)

    an example:
    However, I ask you to notice (in the project I currently offer to
    criticism) I intend to assist authors, such as myself, with automated
    suggestions we can bring with us to the consultation. This will not
    usurp the role of those who guide but may lessen the fuzziness of
    requests for guidance.
    this paragraph is 100% correct, but still I don't understand what you
    are trying to say. ("bring with us to the consultation"? uh? and who are
    "those who guide"?).

    seriously Xiong, while I appreciate all the evident effort you put into
    this, I totally share nadim's feelings. your last mails are becoming
    more and more vaporous and formal and less and less substantiated.

    coming to your question, my only advice is: waiting for the perfect name
    (or the perfect specification from a customer, for what matters) before
    coding is a sure receipt for never doing nothing.

    go ahead, write some code, show people what you did, then *when* and
    *if* it works, ask for naming advices before submitting to CPAN.

    a name change on the run *must* take less time than doing any other
    needed refactoring, otherwise you are doing it wrong.
    I also have underway a testing framework for which I have no good name.
    I'd appreciate any suggestions for naming it.
    here, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure the proper name is
    Test::MOAR::MOAR::MOAR :-)

    cheers,
    Aldo
  • Xiong Changnian at Aug 25, 2010 at 10:58 am
    I find mid-development changes to the project name drastically
    disruptive. Perhaps I am, indeed, doing it wrong. But I will not drag
    another project through such a trial; from now on, the name must be
    settled very early in development. I'm sorry to hear this precludes
    guidance from this list. I have promised myself never again to trap
    myself in mid-development name change hell.

    On Wed, 2010-08-25 at 10:13 +0200, Aldo Calpini wrote:

    ... there is a fine line between "formally correct" and
    "obnoxious to read", and you crossed it :-)
    My intent is to be respectful and clear at all times. I'm sorry; but I
    cannot bridge the gap to a viewpoint where this might be obnoxious. When
    I read, I strongly prefer precise, definite, highly detailed writing. I
    care nothing for length so long as the words tell. When I write, I
    strive to avoid all misunderstanding and offense. I take your criticism
    most seriously and lament my failures on each count. You are not the
    first to say this and I'm well aware that my only possible reaction, to
    be yet more painstaking and polite, only increases the offense. But I
    lack command of the register in which I might say, "Well then, screw
    it," and somehow make it right. I must ask you to take my words at face
    value; they do not hide supercilious condescension.

    I don't understand what you are trying to say.
    ("bring with us to the consultation"?
    The project I described in OP generates naming suggestions. We authors
    can include these suggestions in RFCs, instead of coming empty-handed. I
    use the metaphor of an experimenter who walks into a room to consult
    with colleagues.

    ...who are "those who guide"?
    I have been led to think that this list is, in part, intended to guide
    module authors in their choice of module names. If OP project is
    successful, it still cannot replace helpful human insight.

    Sorry; I simply don't have a way to apply "vaporous" and
    "unsubstantiated" to what I've written. I would interpret the former as
    "vague", yet I am criticized for being too detailed and specific. I
    assert so very little that I don't see what substantiation I might
    offer. If you feel I've made an objective statement ungrounded in fact,
    please point it out and I will be happy to cite sources or retract.

    The leap from solicitation of comments on a proposed module's name to
    insistence on a "perfect" name is not one I would make. I would be
    content to pick a name, following my own taste, and stick with it.

    I lack clear direction here.

    Make sure you choose an appropriate name for your module early
    on.... You should contact modules@perl.org to ask them about
    your module name before publishing your module.
    -- perlmodstyle

    The very first keystrokes in starting any project comprise its name. But
    it appears that both modules@ and this list, module-authors@, want to
    hear about modules after considerable work is done. Is it not obvious to
    all that this is the very worst time to decide upon the name? In the
    current thread I see this thought expressed more than once: "Renaming a
    project is a trivial matter and can be done easily, at any time." My
    experience is so radically at odds with this that I cannot join the two
    viewpoints anywhere. The fault may be mine but I recoil from the far
    side of the abyss.

    Naming your Perl packages well is one of the most important
    things you can do.... The modules@perl.org (the mailing list
    for PAUSE admins) and module-authors@perl.org can help you
    choose a good name.
    -- PAUSE, On The Naming of Modules

    I read this as something stronger than a mere invitation to ask for help
    here. Perhaps more detail would be useful.

    ...once chosen, you rarely have the opportunity to change
    [a module name] after people start using it. The name of the
    module isn't for you; you don't need a name because you
    created it and understand it.
    -- ibid.

    One-third of this is in agreement and two-thirds at variance with my
    experience. Of course, the name cannot be changed without upset once any
    public mention of it has been made. Links break, searches fail. The name
    is just as important to the author as to anyone else; how can one think
    about anything without naming it? It is not even technically *possible*
    to begin a project without choosing at least a working name for it.

    Test::MOAR::MOAR::MOAR :-)
    Please forgive my almost total inability to perceive the thrust of most
    forms of humor. I have looked up the word 'moar'. I don't need the
    smiley face to tell me that you are making a joke but I can't understand
    what serious point you include, if any. I suspect you discourage me from
    writing yet another Test:: module of any sort. I would be delighted to
    discuss exactly what I expect to accomplish and how (or if) an existing
    module meets these needs. But I will not do so without a direct
    request.


    Clearly, you want me to demonstrate a module before you comment on the
    proper name for it. By now, I hope it's equally clear that I consider it
    essential to fix the name before beginning work, let alone before
    showing it in progress. Therefore, we are at an impasse.

    Despite the sources I cite above, I have noticed that most module
    authors seem to publish their work without consulting anyone on their
    choice of name. I think it unlikely that I will run into serious trouble
    if I follow their example. I apologize for attempting otherwise. I had
    hoped to follow the marked path, with no intent to tread on the grass. I
    offer my most sincere and serious regrets.

    --
    -Xiong
  • Nadim at Aug 25, 2010 at 11:43 am
    Xiang, friend, just drop it. The whole thing, you are not getting
    popular and I would like you and your modules to become popular.

    You got help. We can't give you more. Any of those who answered you have
    20+ years experience. Don't make yourself a nOOb.

    We all welcome you but the first thing you can do is adapt a bit to our
    level; understand how we function, what our community has to offer and
    how to become part of one of the greatest development group around.

    - Englan.pm would recommend you to drink more beer

    - I'd recommend 3 hours on the #perl-help getting your ass kicked

    - I'm afraid of what mst would recommend

    It may sound strange but if you can get the humor and sensibility the
    Perl comunity has, it may be better to find another one. This is not
    just Software. It is social, living, fun.

    You got three name examples from me, you got an excellent proposition
    from David. Now write the damn thing or I'll write it just to get rid of
    you!

    I'd drop my $work to help a Perl fellow (a short time at least) but she
    should be fun. So make us laugh instead. We are not interrested in your
    modules, we can write them ourselves, we want you to be fun so there is
    yet another crazy Perl guy around.

    No soporific answers, show us what you go for instead.

    Nadim

    PS: Devel::Refactor, EPIC plug-in for the eclipse integrated development
    environment, Padre and perldoc perlrun (search for in-place) should help
    ease you mid project blues
  • Xiong Changnian at Aug 26, 2010 at 1:40 am
    Please allow me to stress my regret at disturbing your peace by writing
    in a mode you find offensive. The more I seek to avoid offense, the more
    offensive I become. I lament my inability to express courtesy in a form
    you might find fair. I refrain from further participation in this list.
    If anyone should require anything from me, for any reason, please email
    me directly. I shall be grateful to be your most obliging servant.

    I suggest -- not for my own benefit -- that some among you make an
    effort to set out a FAQ or otherwise to publicize group norms. This
    might avoid future unpleasantness and help to further your goals,
    whatever they may be.

    Best of luck.

    --
    -Xiong
  • Peter Haworth at Sep 7, 2010 at 8:22 am

    On Wed, 25 Aug 2010 18:39:48 -0700, Xiong Changnian wrote:
    Please allow me to stress my regret at disturbing your peace by
    writing in a mode you find offensive. The more I seek to avoid
    offense, the more offensive I become. I lament my inability to
    express courtesy in a form you might find fair. I refrain from
    further participation in this list. If anyone should require
    anything from me, for any reason, please email me directly. I shall
    be grateful to be your most obliging servant.
    While your style of writing may indeed be excessively formal or
    flowery, as exemplified by the above, I think you deserve just as much
    apology from those members of the list who have chosen to respond in
    such an insulting manner. Yes, you would do well to write more
    concisely, but you don't warrant the lambasting you have received.

    Nadim wrote:
    It may sound strange but if you [can't] get the humor and
    sensibility the Perl comunity has, it may be better to find another
    one. This is not just Software. It is social, living, fun.
    Just how much humour and sensibility have you shown here, Nadim?
    You're not sounding particularly social or fun.


    Now, back to topic: Yes, it is certainly an enormous pain to have to
    rename modules once they have been released to CPAN. However, starting
    with a generic placeholder name allows you write some code and get a
    feel for how it actually works, which may in turn inspire a good name.
    If nothing else, it should give a much clearer impression of what the
    module does and how, than a long-winded description, no matter how
    well written. This is what you should be bringing to the modules list.
    It will still likely be inconvenient to rename at this stage, but not
    as difficult as you seem to have found. Maybe if you explain what
    problems you had with previous renames, we could give some useful
    advice about that.

    --
    Peter Haworth | I unicycled 140 miles coast to coast for BHF
    pmh@edison.ioppublishing.com | Please sponsor me at justgiving.com/pmh1wheel

    "The usability of a computer language is inversely proportional to the
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    -- Larry Wall

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  • Lyle at Sep 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    On 07/09/2010 09:21, Peter Haworth wrote:
    On Wed, 25 Aug 2010 18:39:48 -0700, Xiong Changnian wrote:
    Please allow me to stress my regret at disturbing your peace by
    writing in a mode you find offensive. The more I seek to avoid
    offense, the more offensive I become. I lament my inability to
    express courtesy in a form you might find fair. I refrain from
    further participation in this list. If anyone should require
    anything from me, for any reason, please email me directly. I shall
    be grateful to be your most obliging servant.
    While your style of writing may indeed be excessively formal or
    flowery, as exemplified by the above, I think you deserve just as much
    apology from those members of the list who have chosen to respond in
    such an insulting manner. Yes, you would do well to write more
    concisely, but you don't warrant the lambasting you have received.
    Indeed. Xiong sounds like you'd be suited to the refuge that is Bristol
    & Bath Perl Mongers. We are the friendliest Perl community I know of,
    that's our whole aim :)
    http://perl.bristolbath.org
    You are more than welcome to join us.
    Nadim wrote:
    It may sound strange but if you [can't] get the humor and
    sensibility the Perl comunity has, it may be better to find another
    one. This is not just Software. It is social, living, fun.
    Just how much humour and sensibility have you shown here, Nadim?
    You're not sounding particularly social or fun.
    This reminds me of attitudes I came across on another list... (cough,
    cough) I wont say which. Why not copy their lead, and follow on with
    some blog posts blindly mediating w**hy more people don't get involved
    and stay in the Perl community, lol.


    Lyle
  • Nicholas Clark at Aug 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    [Yes, my reply is sort of off topic]
    On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 06:02:06PM -0700, Xiong Changnian wrote:
    On Wed, 2010-08-25 at 01:13 +0200, nadim khemir wrote:
    You may find the register in which I write overly formal. I don't wish
    to insult anyone who may be more comfortable writing in another style. I
    struggle to write clearly and accurately. I'm aware that my words here
    are immutable and I cannot suffer poor grammar to represent myself.

    Come with reasonable mails or expect someone to tell you to bugger off!
    I have spent nearly two hours on this message, ruthlessly extracting
    every word that does not pay its freight. The result may not be
    reasonable. But I cannot afford more time; nor would I risk less.
    I appreciate your efforts in editing down your messages.

    "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."
    Blaise Pascal

    being quite appropriate.

    It would be nice if more people writing e-mail did this. Assuming that the
    saved collective time of the readers is much greater than the time taken to
    make a message shorter, then it's the right thing to do.


    But your style of writing, whilst grammatically flawless, is curious, and unlike
    most anyone else writing technical e-mail. Your description is "formal" - I'd
    not agree. It's more "flowery" - elaborate, rather than etiquette laden.

    And this stands out more than the message content, which is unfortunate.

    As to your original name suggestion - no, I don't have a good idea.
    But I'm also not sure if your proposal would work that efficiently at an
    implementation level. Assuming you don't have code yet to implement it,
    try writing a prototype locally, and seeing if that gives you ideas on what
    sort of name it should be. You *can* easily change the name of something
    before it is published, and others start using it.

    [and I note that in reply I've made at least 3 style errors, starting
    sentences with conjunctions. I guess I'm structuring my e-mail more like
    speech than formal writing.]

    Nicholas Clark
  • Ian docherty at Aug 25, 2010 at 7:24 am
    Xiong
    I agree with Nadim; Keep It Short and Simple.

    If you have something to contribute then just go ahead and do it instead
    of talking about it. Choose a module name, it can very easily be changed
    in the future when you can demonstrate what it can do and you can get
    feedback then.

    Stop talking, start coding.

    Regards
    Ian
    On 24/08/2010 23:37, Xiong Changnian wrote:
    Naming a new module or other Perl project is difficult. Perhaps the
    process cannot be easy but it seems more difficult than necessary.
    Various people may be consulted but while they may be ready to express
    an opinion on a suggested name, they are less motivated to originate
    one. I believe it is a circular dependency: A specific name arouses a
    specific interest; an interested party discusses one name and perhaps
    suggests another. I'd like to look for an independent way to inject name
    suggestions and get the cycle started.

    The required data is at hand: CPAN itself, in the form of POD. Each
    module describes itself and while this is not perfect, it's good and
    it's available.

    My concept has the projector of a new module *begin* by describing his
    project as best he can, in a plain English text file, preferably as POD
    for the imagined module. This "search text" can then be compared with
    the POD database and a list of *existing*, related modules generated.
    That list may serve as a starting point for the projector to select a
    name or two to submit to closer, human examination.

    As a trivial side effect, if the search text includes a tentative name
    for the new project and the name is already in use, this will be
    flagged. As a more significant effect, if the search text matches any
    existing module *too* closely, it may be taken as a sign that the new
    project so closely duplicates existing effort that the projector might
    better consider collaboration. A byproduct of this service is an
    alternate method of locating modules for direct use. Both Google and
    CPAN search have limitations.

    I'd love to discuss the technical aspects but first, like all projects,
    this one requires a name (and is not yet available to suggest one for
    itself!) So, please, take a moment to think about this; the sooner you
    offer an acceptable name, the sooner you will have to deal with fewer
    requests of the same sort.

    --
    -Xiong

  • David Cantrell at Aug 25, 2010 at 10:47 am

    On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 03:37:13PM -0700, Xiong Changnian wrote:

    I'd love to discuss the technical aspects but first, like all projects,
    this one requires a name (and is not yet available to suggest one for
    itself!)
    The solution is simple. Write it. Then use it to name itself.

    Good luck with that.

    --
    David Cantrell | A machine for turning tea into grumpiness

    EINE KIRCHE! EIN KREDO! EIN PAPST!
  • Nadim at Aug 25, 2010 at 11:13 am
    David++

    +++ David Cantrell [Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:47:05AM +0100]:
    On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 03:37:13PM -0700, Xiong Changnian wrote:

    I'd love to discuss the technical aspects but first, like all projects,
    this one requires a name (and is not yet available to suggest one for
    itself!)
    The solution is simple. Write it. Then use it to name itself.

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