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Graham Barr and Chris Nandor established the CPAN Testers in 1999, at which point a handful of dedicated members of the community posted reports by hand. It should be noted that prolific tester, Paul Schinder, who has now submitted over 10,000 reports, is the only tester to have consistently sent reports from the very beginning, having been the top poster for the first 21 months of CPAN Testers, and is still submitting reports 8 years later. Paul helped keep CPAN Testers alive for a very long time during its formative years.

However, to make cpan-testing work better, it really needed to be automated. In the beginning there was, written by Andreas Koenig. Then in 2001, at YAPC::Europe in Amsterdam, Jos Boumans and Michael G Schwern talked about CPANTS, which lead to a discussion on how would need to be changed to support CPANTS. Jos offered to look in to it and spoke to Andreas, asking for advice, as well as many other people to see what they wanted from and CPAN.

Instead of patching, Jos decided it would be easier to rewrite it in a modular fashion. The multiple layers made it possible for many changes to take place while the API remains consistent, enabling others to build upon it. Plug-ins are also possible with the design. So Jos started work on CPANPLUS. With help from many others the alternative installer was released on 26th March 2002.

Part of the original thought process in writing CPANPLUS was to allow for automated reports to be gathered and sent to the cpan-testers mailing list. It is noticeable in the statistics that after this point CPAN testing rose dramatically. However, in 2004, Jos made it know he planned to rewrite CPANPLUS. He launched the first developer versions in December 2004. Due to the major API change the cpantest script that had previously accompanied the release had been dropped. Some testers started to look at developing a new cpantest script.

After a few suggested alternatives, Robert Rothenberg released CPAN-YACSmoke in January 2005, with Barbie quickly submitted major patches and acting as co-developer on all future releases. However, CPAN-YACSmoke was specifically written to work with CPANPLUS, due to the way it used the CPANPLUS API. But not all potential testers wanted to use CPANPLUS.

In 2006, David Golden wrote and released CPAN-Reporter, which intergrated CPAN with Test-Reporter, written by Adam J. Foxson in 2003, to automate sending reports to the cpan-testers mailing list, and used by CPANPLUS.

During this time, Léon Brocard created the CPAN Testers website, with details of all the reports for each module. Thus proving an invaluable resource for authors and users to the state of automated testing for virtually every distribution on CPAN. In 2006, Barbie launched the CPAN Testers Statistics website, to highlight areas where cpan-testing was needed and to provide an interesting look at the trends in CPAN's performance and reliability. In 2007 this wiki was launched to provide a central source for new and existing testers to collaborate and promote CPAN Testing even further.

In 2007, Adam wrote and released CPAN-Testers to describe the architecture of the project and to secure that namespace for future distributions supporting the project.

If you are new to CPAN testing and decide to follow the steps on this wiki and participate in the testing process, then you have the utmost gratitude of all the CPAN authors and users for your efforts, in helping to make the CPAN such a valuable and respected code archive. Thanks.