Section 19.2.  Getting Prepared

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19.2. Getting Prepared

Since CPAN is just a big file-storage site, you just need to upload your code. To contribute to CPAN, you need two things:

  • Something to contribute, ideally already in the shape of a module

  • A Perl Authors Upload Server (PAUSE) ID

The PAUSE ID is your passport to contributing to CPAN. You get a PAUSE ID by simply asking. The details are described at http://www.cpan.org/modules/04pause.html. You fill out a web form (linked from there) with a few basic details, such as your name, home web page, email address, and your preferred PAUSE ID. At the moment, PAUSE IDs must be between four and nine characters. (Some legacy PAUSE IDs are only three characters long.)[*] Once you have your PAUSE ID, you need to think globally about your contribution. Because your module will probably be used in programs along with other modules from other authors, you need to ensure that the package names for modules don't collide with existing modules or confuse the people who browse CPAN. Luckily for you, there is a loose collection of volunteers on the Perl Modules list (modules@perl.org) who've been working with CPAN and modules for quite a while and can help you sort through most problems.

[*] Originally, the PAUSE IDs had to be five characters or less, until Randal wanted his MERLYN ID, and the appropriate accommodation was made.

Before you send your first email to the PAUSE admins, it's probably a good idea to do a few things first:

  • Look at the current module list. Get an idea for how things are named. Better yet, are you reinventing a subset of something that already exists, or can you contribute your work as a patch to another module?

  • Visit the list archives (pointers can be found at http://lists.perl.org) to see what the typical conversations look like. That might help you to avoid shock at your response or better phrase your initial request.

  • Above all, get it in your head that this whole process is run by volunteers who aren't perfect and are doing this in their spare time for the good of the Perl community. Have patience. Have tolerance.

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