On 11/29/07, James Fuller wrote:
but by making some fundamental xml processing available by the core (like file access, regex, and a host of other fundamental bits n bobs), u do promote a common and systematic approach to working with XML in all perl modules.

As everyone else and his dog has pointed out, the "core" thing is pretty much irrelevant, but I think this gets at the real point here: what's *standard* is the important thing. (In P5, many standards were determined by what was included in the core modules, hence the confusion.)

Not being locked in to one way, or not being able to predict the future, etc., are all excellent points, but at the same time clear and easily recognisable standards are very important also. So what's the "standard" P6 module for XML (or anything else)?

Perl6 will make some of this moot: one problem with "official" modules in P5 is maintenance; once a module enters the CORE(TM), it has to be maintained forever so that people can rely on its being available. I expect P6 will make availability transparent (or mostly so, if you have Internet access and haven't blocked CPAN or something). P6 doesn't need a core to make stuff available -- whatever is out there will be at your fingertips.

In some ways, "standard" isn't any better or more meaningful a word than "core", but it is important to be able to find a "good" module without being an expert. (Of course, it's for that very reason that it can't be an issue of the language itself, because Larry -- or even @Larry -- isn't an expert in everything. (Actually, I suspect Larry could do very well in deciding everything from the best XML module to the best knitting module (Purl6--coming soon to a CPAN mirror near you!)... but maybe he doesn't *want* to!))

Part of a solution is search.cpan.org -- if you can figure out which of the 870 XML modules will be useful to you. Another part is asking on newsgroups or lists -- if you can figure out which of the 870 opinions offered is knowledgeable. I think things like the CPAN ratings and reviews will become increasingly important. Of course, this is all a community issue (rather than a technical issue), and questions about handling reputation are certainly not limited to Perl or CPAN.

Maybe some kind of "Advisory Board" would help, where people (who might be experts in various ways) can offer informed recommendations on what modules make a good fit for what circumstances. Ultimately, if this is something we want, somebody needs to volunteer to organise something. (Or volunteer to figure out exactly what it is that would need organising....)

The other side to this problem is coming up with good modules so there's something to recommend. But that is a technical issue and something for a separate post.


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