Reviews by Mark Shelor


Test-Pod-Coverage (1.08) ****

I echo the other positive reviews: this module is a real boon to developers. As one's code grows over time, it's all too easy to let gaps creep into the documentation. Fortunately, Test::Pod::Coverage makes finding these gaps a cinch.

However, given the challenges associated with installing this module, I can only recommend it to the serious Perl developer. The rather complex chain of module and configuration dependencies often causes an installation of Test::Pod::Coverage to break under the CPAN shell. This is due to its indirect dependence on ExtUtils::CBuilder et al., which in turn are only optional prerequisites of Module::Build.

Module-Signature (0.53) *****

Module::Signature is an important tool for authenticating the contents of CPAN distributions. Its ease-of-use demonstrates that good security doesn't have to be inconvenient.

Some argue that Module::Signature is redundant, since the CPAN shell authenticates all downloaded distributions against the CHECKSUMS file signed by PAUSE. Unfortunately, this neglects the fact that many (if not most) CPAN users download their modules in an ad-hoc fashion using web links rather than the CPAN shell. In such cases, the SIGNATURE file provides a much-needed safety net.

Nonetheless, the first reviewer makes a very good point: Module::Signature makes no effort to verify that the key in the SIGNATURE file belongs to the actual module author (presumably, the person who checked the module into PAUSE). One hopes that Module::Signature will eventually address this point, perhaps by adding a step to authenticate the SIGNATURE file against the one listed in the CHECKSUMS file signed by PAUSE.

Though not absolutely perfect, Module::Signature is an excellent start to establishing a practical web of trust for the Perl community.

Games-Sudoku (0.06) ****

This module is in its infancy. Yet, I got it installed and running productively within minutes: always a good sign. It's a simple but effective tool for analyzing and solving sudoku puzzles.

The documentation is sparse, and it takes a bit of hunting around in module directories to realize that the solver can be run from the command line via:

perl -file puzzle.dat -debug -pause

The debug information is crisp but suprisingly complete: a great help in analyzing sudoku puzzles.

Suggestion: a "hint" method (or command line option) would be wonderful. It could perhaps alert the user to look in a particular row, column, or sub-grid for possible next moves. Or, it could warn the user that a bifurcation is now necessary, and thereby remove the nagging feeling that a simpler move had been overlooked.