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Saying Goodbye to search.cpan.org

If you’ve visited search.cpan.org in the last day or so, you may have noticed that the site is now directing all of its traffic to metacpan.org. Let’s talk about what this change means.

Why is this change taking place?

The maintainers behind search.cpan.org have decided that it’s time to move on. After many, many years of keeping this site up and running they have decided to pass on the torch (and the traffic) to metacpan.org. Myself and the rest of the MetaCPAN team have been working very hard to prepare for the influx of new traffic (and new users). On behalf of Perl users everywhere, the we’d like to thank Graham Barr and all of the crew behind search.cpan.org for their many years of working behind the scenes to keep this valuable resource up and running.

How does this change CPAN?

It doesn’t. CPAN is the central repository of uploaded Perl modules. Both search.cpan.org and metacpan.org are search interfaces for CPAN data. They’re layers on top of CPAN. CPAN doesn’t know (or care) about them.

How does this change PAUSE?

See above. Nothing changes on the PAUSE side of things.

What’s the difference between search.cpan.org and metacpan.org?

search.cpan.org was the original CPAN module search. MetaCPAN followed many years later. Unlike search.cpan.org, the MetaCPAN site is publicly available at GitHub. Contributions to the site are welcome and encouraged. It’s very easy to get up and running. If you want to change the front end of the site, you can start an app in a couple of minutes. If you want to make changes to the MetaCPAN API, you can spin up a Vagrant box.

The MetaCPAN interface has more bells and whistles. This isn’t to everyone’s taste, but there is a planned UI overhaul.

MetaCPAN’s search interface does not always return the same results as search.cpan.org used to.

If you’re interested in helping improve the UI or search results, please get in touch either at GitHub or at #metacpan on irc.perl.org.

We’re a small team and keeping this site up and running is a big job, so the team is grateful for all contributions.

Do I need to create a MetaCPAN account?

Only if a) you’re an author and you want to modify your profile or b) you want to use the “++” buttons to upvote your favorite modules.

What does this mean moving forward?

It was nice to have two different interfaces to CPAN, because this provided all of us with a fallback for search results as well as some redundancy. If either site had downtime, you could just use the other one. This is no longer an option. However, the interface which we do have is open source, built on an interesting stack and is a place where you can contribute. Don’t like something? Please help to fix it.

MetaCPAN is housed in two different data centers (Bytemark in the UK and Liquid Web in the US). The MetaCPAN stack uses Fastly for caching and redundancy. Other parts include: Puppet, vagrant, Debian, Plack, Elasticsearch, Minion, Catalyst and Bootstrap. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these technologies, please get involved with the project. We’d love to have you on board.

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Olaf Alders

Dad, Perl hacker, occasional guitar slinger and crooner. Olaf is a founder of the MetaCPAN project.

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