I often wish that I had an infinite supply of time, motivation, and skill. If I did, I bet I could get a lot done! My programming (and programming-related) todo list includes so many items that I’m quite sure I’ll never get to most of them.
Here’s my current list, though I’m probably missing some stuff, in no particular order …
CPAN Search $NEXT
I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time, but I haven’t really done much with it. I played with CPANHQ, which had some promise, but has stalled.
My wanted list for a new search.cpan is really long, and includes:
- Open source. It’s ridiculous that a key piece of the Perl community infrastructure is closed.
- Modern Perl, probably Catalyst, Moose, and DBIC, to make it as easy as possible for the whole community to contribute.
- Modern look and feel. The current site is usable, but not beautiful.
- Excellent full text search. The current search is not bad, but it could be better.
- Author-specified documentation ordering. The Moose Manual docs should be listed first on the Moose page, for example.
- Easy to find and analyze dependency information. Basically, I’d love to take the information from http://deps.cpantesters.org/ and what used to be on the now-defunct CPAN Kwalitee site and borg that.
- Similarly, I’d like to borg CPAN ratings, AnnoCPAN, etc. All the CPAN information should be in one place with a spiffy UI.
- I’ve long wanted some sort of “web of trust” system for CPAN. A CPAN user would mark authors and/or distributions as trusted. We’d take the graph of trust relationships and try to figure out which authors and modules are most trusted. Trust here would be some combination of good code, good docs, responsive author, whatever. The idea is to organically highlight the best of CPAN, and in particular help people discover the best modules in their class. I think this would be really useful for new users, and a lot more useful than the current CPAN rating system.
- Incorporate all of BackPAN, just cause.
- A million ideas that other people will have.
This is a huge project, and while I think it would be useful, the current site works well enough that it’s not exactly urgent.
Full CLDR in Perl
I really want to make the full set of CLDR data available in Perl. This would greatly improve
DateTime::Locale, and would be generally useful for lots of other things. There are two approaches, one is to write a Perl binding to the ICU4C library, the other is to parse the raw data files and generate Perl modules.
DateTime::Locale is currently doing the latter, but not terribly well. A C library binding would be easier, but then requires the end user to have the ICU C library installed.
Either way, this is a metric frakton of work.
I’d really like to rewrite large chunks of
DateTime.pm and the DateTime suite using modern tools like Moose. I’d also like to fix up all of the many stupid API decisions I made over the past seven years or so. Some of this would include …
- Make a date-only module.
- Make leap seconds optional. For most uses you don’t care about this, since the exact number of seconds between two points in time is not that important. The code for dealing with leap seconds makes everything more complicated.
- Using floating point fractional seconds instead of nanoseconds.
- In particular, make the
DateTime::Duration API less crack-tastic.
- If possible, code it for faster runtime speed.
- I bet there’s a lot of ideas out there in the community for improvements to DateTime as well.
DateTime::TimeZone use Zefram’s binary Olson database reader
Instead of parsing the Olson data files ourself and generating Perl code, I want to use the binary Olson data. The compiler that transforms the Olson database text files to binary data already just works. Using the binary data would be a lot less memory-intensive, and probably faster too. Zefram has already packaged all of the binary data as a CPAN distro, so we don’t even have to rely on potentially very out-of-date system-installed databases.
Really, all that’s left to do is make DateTime::TimeZone use Zefram’s code, and to make sure that the DateTime::TimeZone API is fully supported once we switch.
Note to self: Make sure that the binary data works on 32- and 64-bit systems, where “works” means that we can use the data to the limits of Perl’s integer support. I’m pretty sure that Perl can support larger-than-32-bit ints on 32-bit systems using an NV internally, so we should be able to read in 64-bit integers from the binary file.
DateTime for Perl 6
I’ve toyed with working on DateTime for Perl 6 but never gotten very far.
Jon Swartz started working on this and I’ve wanted to hack on it too, but am lacking tuits. Jon had a good blog post on What Mason 2.0 would look like a year ago. I suspect he’s suffering from the same tuit shortage I am.
I actually have some code in a
Mason2 directory dating back to 2007, where I started working on a new version of the Mason parser.
WYSIWYG Editor in Silki
I’d really like to add a full WYSIWYG editor to Silki. I started doing this with CKEditor a while back, but I gave up. CKEditor is very full-featured, but almost impossible to customize without making a permanent fork. I suspect it would be better to start with a fairly minimal editor (like the YUI richtext editor) and build on top of it.
Extract the HTML to Wiki converter from Silki
Silki contains some pretty useful code for turning HTML into wikitext. This could be genericized into a replacement for
HTML::WikiConverter is a good idea, but its internal design is wrong. It’s very difficult to add a new syntax, especially if that syntax supports tables.
Generic blog/forum/wiki spam filter system
There are a lot of web services and tools for doing spam checking on user-submitted content. Step one is to write small modules, one per service/tool/algorithm. Step two is to take all of these and incorporate them into a single plugin-based API that ties them together with a weighting system, like SpamAssassin.
I’m actually quite likely to do this, since I really want to make Silki better at spam detection/prevention.
Finish my donor/volunteer management CRM
My animal rights group could really use a nice full-featured, very easy to use CRM. Yes, I know about CiviCRM, but last I looked it failed miserably on the easy to use front, and was missing some key features we needed.
In my dreams, this system would somehow integrate with our bookkeeping, so that every donation in the CRM linked to a bookkeeping entry, and vice versa.
I started working on this in early 2008, and I’m still not close to done.
VegGuide Technical Revamp
Right now the VegGuide code is still using
Alzabo, which is really making it hard to work on certain parts of the code. I’d really like to move it over to
Fey::ORM. I’d also love to move from MySQL to Postgres while I’m at it.
Rewrite perltidy using
Perltidy is a really useful tool, but it’s internals are a nightmare. It replicates PPI without an actual API.
Once this was done, I could probably make it actually generate my preferred code style consistently. I’d also like to see it capable of accepting formatting plugins, where certain blocks could be formatted differently form the overall style.
… and then make
Devel::Declare-based syntax extensions
To really make perltidy and similar tools useful, they need to understand syntax-changing modules like
MooseX::Declare. I have no idea how one would do this, since the syntax changes are basically injected into the perl parser itself, and
PPI is a separate static parser.
Enhance VCI to support commits and create Dist::Zilla::Plugin::VCI
It’s ridiculous that each version control plugin for
Dist::Zilla is totally standalone when
VCI exists. However, these plugins need to be able to commit and push, and VCI only supports reading at the moment.
Find a way to eliminate the compilation hit from
There’s the stalled (temporarily?)
MooseX::Antlers, and we’ve discussed other approaches amongst the
Moose core devs. I’d love to actually take one of these approaches and get it working.
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming (using Moose)
I think there’s a need for a book that introduces OOP concepts, using Moose to illustrate the ideas. This book would be aimed at people who are totally new to OOP and teach them concepts and design principles. I think this could be great for attracting new users to Perl, because Moose is a really amazing tool. If you learn OOP through Moose, imagine how sad it would be to go back to Java afterwards.
Moose Class Day Two
I’ve been encouraged by brian d foy to develop a second day for my Moose class. I have some vague ideas of focusing on best practices and larger design issues as opposed to basic features. I also am toying with the idea of having the class spend a few hours actually writing a small not-entirely-a-toy application and running it against a test suite.
YAPC 2012 in Minneapolis
I’ve started working with Leonard Miller on some preliminaries for the bid. I think we could do a great job of hosting this here.
Most Likely to Succeed
Of all of these projects, the ones I’m most likely to actually get done are …
- Generic blog/forum/wiki spam filter system – I don’t know that I’ll get to something totally awesome and generic/pluggable, but enough to put some new modules on CPAN and improve Silki’s spam filtering.
- Moose Class Day Two
- YAPC 2012 in Minneapolis – surprisingly, I feel like this is one of the most tractable items. It’s a lot of work, but I know exactly what goes into it. Also, this is the only project where I already have a competent, enthusiastic co-conspirator lined up.
The items I most wish I would do are …
- Finish my donor/volunteer management CRM – I have dreams of turning it into a SaaS business, but I’m finding it hard to motivate myself for some reason.
- CPAN Search $NEXT – I think this would be great for the Perl community.
I’ve also bounced around the idea of trying to get funding for some of this work via Kickstarter/TPF grants/international ponzi schemes/Soylent Green but I’m not sure if that will ever happen.
I’ve also left out a lot of things not related to programming, including writing a novel, getting back to learning Chinese, learning to play guitar, and running for city council.