Last week I attended the toolchain summit in Lyon, along with 38 other members of our community. For four days we were all working to make the CPAN and Perl toolchain better. This is my log of what I did.

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One of the topic which came up several times at the toolchain summit was CPAN distributions without a META.yml or META.json. No metadata make life hard for tools in a number of ways, which isn't good for distributions that somewhere on the CPAN River. Many of these distributions have had RT tickets raised about this issue, but that hasn't really had much effect. So I've an idea for a new approach.

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If the first release of your CPAN module has version 0.01, then when should you release version 1.00, and what does that signify? For a good while now I've kinda of read 0.x as "I'm still kicking things around", and you go to 1.x when things have settled down. I recently realised that others don't think the same as me (I know, amazing huh?), so I thought I'd see what others (that's you) think.

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When I first announced the Pull Request Challenge in late 2014, I expected a dozen or so people would sign up, we'd do some pull requests in 2015 (fixing bugs and improving docs), and that would be that. It's deeply satisfying that we're in our 3rd year, and so far over 1100 assignments have been given out, with pull requests done on more than 850 different CPAN distributions. This year we've got our first group taking part, from CV Library, and they're awesome.

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GitHub topics

github Tue 7 February 2017

At the end of January, GitHub announced topics, which are basically a way to tag your repositories with keywords. You can constrain a search to repos that have specific keywords.

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I'm going to run the CPAN Pull Request Challenge (PRC) again in 2017, as enough of this year's participants have said they'd like to continue. If you'd like to take part, email me your github username. If you're a CPAN author, please let me know if you're happy for your distributions to be assigned.

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At work we often have to generate spreadsheets, for which I usually turn to John McNamara's excellent Excel::Writer::XLSX module, which gives you access to most features supported by Excel. But often we just need a basic spreadsheet, with a standard format, so I created Spreadsheet::GenerateXLSX to make our life easier. I'll show how you use it, and then look at other modules for generating XLSX format spreadsheets.

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I went to the London Perl Workshop yesterday. It was the usual excellent mix of good talks, catching up with old friends, and making some new ones. It was also the 10th and final LPW organised by Mark Keating. I came away reminded that what makes a languages isn't really the language, it's an ecosystem for sharing code (CPAN) and the community. And what a great community we have!

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This is the fourth in a series of posts about giving a tech talk. My primary goal for this series has been encouraging people who've never given a talk, so for this post I asked a number of experienced speakers what advice they had for first-time speakers.

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This is the third in a series of posts about giving a tech talk. The first post covered the length of talk a first-time speaker might choose, the second post covered selection of topic. For this post I asked a number of experienced speakers how they prepare their talks.

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