How I waste my time while writing

I’ve been keeping track of how I spend my time working on Mastering Perl. Most of that time is tracking down bugs in CPAN modules. For instance, to write two paragraphs about TryCatch for the Detecting and Reporting Errors” chapter, I’ve spent about seven hours trying to figure out why this seemingly trivial example doesn’t work (RT #87128 ):

use v5.10.1;
use TryCatch;

try {
	die "This died"
	}
catch {
	say "Caught [[email protected]]";  # [email protected] is always blank
	}

As usual, I should have started with the RT queue to see if someone had already reported the bug. I found that it was reportedly as part of RT #49072.

This is not a huge problem. If you are using TryCatch, you probably want the advanced features to catch errors by type or you want to specify your own variable:

use v5.10.1;
use TryCatch;

try {
	die bless {}, 'Local::Foo';
	}
catch (Local::Foo $err) {
	say "Caught Local::Foo [$err]";
	}
catch ($err) {
	say "Caught [$err]";
	}

I first tried this on v5.18 and I had trouble installing it as Package::Stash and Package::Stash::XS seemed to have an unmet circular dependency such that I had to force install one of them to get the dependency-heavy TryCatch to install. Since I wanted to test several versions, I had to handle this five times and wait close to an hour for it to install in all versions on my puny laptop. All of that got me no further than reporting the bug to RT.

When I embark on these explorations, I don’t think I’m setting out for an adventure and an answer always seems right around the corner. The solution is always right around the corner and I want to try one more thing; every thing I try makes it more elusive.

I’ve also starting patching some distributions, then realizing they use Dist::Zilla, which means many things aren’t where they will finally show up and I’d have to install a very heavy tool to do very basic things. I’m really sad that people are cutting off so many people from submitting patches; the casual user who isn’t a module maintainer isn’t going to suffer the installation of tools and learning where to find things just to make a quick patch. It’s a couple times a week that I abandon a patch for this reason. I don’t even bother to send the problem to RT because I figure I’ve already wasted enough time, and if I can’t make the patch, I’m disinclined to bother with a report. If I were going to use the module for work, things might be different, but I’m just writing about them.

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