[Bioperl-l] Regarding Bio::Root::Build, was Re: bioperl reorganization

George Hartzell hartzell at alerce.com
Wed Jul 22 16:14:40 EDT 2009

Chris Fields writes:
 > On Jul 19, 2009, at 11:15 PM, George Hartzell wrote:
 > > Chris Fields writes:
 > >> [...]
 > >> Prior to Module::Build the Makefile.PL we just looked for the
 > >> dependencies and reported back if they were missing; installation of
 > >> those modules was left up to the user. [...]
 > >
 > > Chiming here a bit late to say that I really *like* it when we leave
 > > installing the modules to the user.  I'd often rather install them via
 > > e.g. the FreeBSD ports system instead of system, but how/why would
 > > BioPerl ever know that?
 > >
 > > g.
 > That's a good point.  Leaving it up to the user does make things a lot  
 > simpler.
 > The only downside is the onslaught of users who don't know why a  
 > specific module doesn't work.  May be the reason this was added in?

If we keep our dependencies current and write use_ok() style tests for
our modules so that

   ./Build test

fails when a dependency is missing I think that we've done our part of
the job.  We might be able to pick up some automated way to check
dependencies (stolen from the autodepend Dist::Zilla plugin or
something) and increase our odds of staying on top of it.

Perl programmers need to know how to install dependencies using some
toolset (cpan, ports, packages, apt-get, etc...) and understand how
the pieces fit together.  I'd *much* rather see us do the standard
CPAN best practice dependency thing and then spend our time/effort
building better tools and/or doing better science.

Even if we do Magic for them to make BioPerl appear to work they're
going to be stuck as soon as they try to use any other CPAN module
(and they *SHOULD* be using CPAN modules, but that's a different high
horse altogether...) and we've just ended up creating fragile code
that someone needs to support.

I'm working on moving my current project to use local::lib so that I
depend on a well defined set of installed stuff and while I think
local::lib sets up enough of an environment so that any automated cpan
installs would do the right thing I'd rather not have to trust it.


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