[Pdx-pm] What I learned from Eric about CPAN errors

Richard Fobes outgoing at SolutionsCreative.com
Sat Nov 19 11:10:26 PST 2011

Awhile back Eric Wilhelm helped me solve a couple of CPAN-related 
problems I encountered while trying to update my CPAN Language::Dashrep 
module.  He suggested that others on this list might be interested in 
knowing what I learned -- either from the perspective of documentation 
improvements or from the perspective of others who might encounter the 
same difficulties.

One problem turned out to be related to not knowing which choice to make 
when I used Jonathon Leto's module starter (at 
http://leto.net/modstarter.cgi).  Here is Eric's useful advice:

"I think you would be better off using Module::Build rather than 
Module::Install, since M::B is pure-perl and doesn't suffer the same 
bundling / compatibility problems as M::I.  Ah... choices!  The only 
drawbacks with Module::Build are to do with older (pre 5.10) perls (and 
their included CPAN.pm clients) not having support for Module::Build 
and/or the all-important configure_requires directive."

"With Module::Install, you fix the builder problems, with Module::Build, 
we fix the builder problems, with ExtUtils::MakeMaker, nobody fixes the 
builder problems."

The symptom of the other problem was the following error message:

"ERROR: Missing required field 'dist_abstract' for metafile   Could not 
get valid metadata. Error is: Invalid metadata structure. Errors: 
Missing mandatory field, 'abstract' (abstract) [Validation 1.4] ...."

When I looked for an "abstract" in other CPAN modules I couldn't find one.

Here is Eric's response:

"I noticed that you currently have a very long description in place of 
the abstract in your version 1.10 on the CPAN.  You want the abstract to 
be very short [...], then put your longer description under an "ABOUT" 

I learned that the "dist_abstract" -- or "abstract" -- comes from the 
portion of the NAME section that follows the hyphen.

Thank you Eric for answering what I thought might be "stupid" questions! 
  May others now benefit from your wise assistance.

Richard Fobes
Author of "The Creative Problem Solver's Toolbox" and "Ending The Hidden 
Unfairness In U.S. Elections"

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