lcpan tips 017: Indexing DarkPANs

About this series: A collection of short blog posts about lcpan tips/recipes. Some posts will also end up in the upcoming App::lcpan::Manual::Cookbook POD to be included in the App::lcpan distribution. First article is here. See the whole series.

About lcpan: an application to download and index a mini CPAN mirror on your local filesystem, so in effect you will have something like your own CPAN with a command-line tool (or perl API) to query and extract information from your mirror. I find it perfect for my own personal use when working offline.

About DarkPAN

DarkPAN is a term (bonus points for reader who can point out who coined this term) for CPAN-like repository which contains private Perl modules/distributions (or a mix of regular, public CPAN distributions with modified and private ones). Like a CPAN mirror, it is just a hierarchy of files with the main content being Perl distributions put under authors/id/X/XX/ directories, plus a couple of gzip-compressed plaintext indexes in authors/01mailrc.txt.gz (list of author ID's with their names and emails) or authors/00whois.xml and modules/02packages.deails.txt.gz (list of packages found in the distribution files, along with their versions and the files it is found in).

A DarkPAN repository can be created from scratch, or from an existing local mini CPAN mirror. You then "inject" (add) your distribution files to it, not forgetting to update the two abovementioned plaintext index files. I've not kept up-to-date on which tool is now the best to do this, but I still find the good old OrePAN (version 1, last released in 2013 by TOKUHIROM) up to the task. I've tried using the second generation OrePAN2 in the past, but at the time found it to be slow and often reindexing from scratch unnecessarily. I expect things to be better now, but anyway I'll just show you here how to create a DarkPAN using OrePAN:

First you pick a directory name, e.g. /home/perlancar/mypan then just start adding your distribution files to it:

% mkdir /home/perlancar/mypan
% orepan.pl --destination=/home/perlancar/mypan --pause=PERLANCAR Foo-0.001.tar.gz

You need to assign your distribution to an author, which can be whatever (it does not have to be an actual PAUSE ID).

That's it.

Indexing your DarkPAN with lcpan

lcpan can be used to index any CPAN-like repository, so to index your DarkPAN:

% lcpan update --no-use-bootstrap --no-update-files --cpan /home/perlancar/mypan --trace

The --no-use-bootstrap option prevents bootstrapping with the CPAN database index, and --no-update-files prevents downloading files from a CPAN mirror.

To query your DarkPAN, e.g. see list of modules:

% lcpan --cpan /home/perlancar/mypan mods -l

You might want to alias lcpan --cpan /home/perlancar/mypan mods to something shorter, if you type it often enough.

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