Contributing to Dancer

The Dancer community is a fun, active, and engaged community, dedicated to the advancement of Dancer and the community as a whole. The core team, in particular, relies on the community for bug reports, feature requests, and other information to find out how Dancer is used, what needs fixing, what needs improving, and how we can make the framework better for you. This guide is intended to show you, at a high level, how to get involved in the community, and things you can do to help further Dancer development and the community.

Note: This applies primarily to Dancer2, but works for Dancer1 in some regards. Dancer1 is not open for new feature development, but is actively maintained in a support-only mode; bug fixes and security patches are incorporated in as timely a manner as possible. If you have a feature idea and are using Dancer1, check the docs to see if it has already been implemented, and if not, get hacking on Dancer2!

Report a Bug

This is perhaps the easiest way to get involved, and one of the most important for the project. If you run into a bug while using Dancer - be it in the core framework, or a plugin - please report it! While you can report it in Dancer's IRC channel, it is not the most reliable reporting method available (that's not to say your report will get ignored there!).

Development of Dancer happens on Github. Your best bet for reporting a bug in Dancer is to go to the issue tracker on GitHub. Before submitting a new bug, please be courteous and look to see if there is already an open issue for the problem you are observing, and if so, add whatever additional information you have to the existing issue.

No matter how well we test Dancer during development, there is no way for us to find all of the potential bugs that may arise. The Core Team and the Dancer community depends on you to report bugs that you find along the way!


A great way to participate and contribute to the Dancer project is to be active on the IRC channel. The Dancer Core Team strives to maintain a friendly and civil environment on the channel at all times to all users.

To get started, all you have to do is point your favorite IRC client to and you're off and running. Don't have an IRC client? The web interface is just a click away! Ask a question, answer a question, pitch your plugin idea... there are a number of ways for you to get involved.

All users are protected by our community policy and community standards document. The Core Team takes violations of this policy very seriously.

Sending a Documentation Patch

This is one of the easiest ways to get involved, and how yours truly got his start in the Dancer community (so I know for a fact this is an effective way!). We as developers are not always the best at documenting our own work, no matter how hard we try. We are biased, and used to looking at our work in a particular way, and we cannot always explain how something should be used in the best way, or document things in such a way that it answers all the questons a user may have. Dancer2 is no exception.

Did you find a particular area of the docs to be hard to understand? Clarify it and send us a pull request on GitHub. Did we forget to document a method or configuration setting? Send us a patch! Dancer's documentation is a living work, and will evolve and improve over time with the help of our community.

Another useful addition to the documentation is to add a recipe to the cookbook. It's a great place to show a useful tip that doesn't really fit elsewhere in the documentation.

Taking an Issue from the GitHub Queue

At the time of this writing, there are 82 current issues in the GitHub queue, 13 of which are labelled Beginner Suitable. A great way to help out the Dancer Core Team and the community is to pick up one of these issues, hack on it, and send us a pull request. No matter what your level of expertise is, there is something in the issue queue that will be suitable for you.

Want to get your pull request looked at even quicker? By making sure your pull request adequetely tests the issue you have tackled, it helps the Core Team fast track your work to the approval stage (because we don't have to write the tests...).

We try to evaluate pull requests as quickly as we can. Please don't get discouraged if it takes us a bit. A gentle reminder now and then is even ok, but remember we are all volunteers doing this for our love of Dancer too. :)

Are you not that familiar with GitHub? We accept patches in any format you can provider, but we are also happy to help you with your first pull request. If you want a walk through of the process, hit up one of the Core Team members on IRC and we will be happy to help you out.

Note: To get started hacking, make sure you have Dist::Zilla installed, as well as Dist::Zilla::PluginBundle::Dancer, which has essential plugins we use to build Dancer2.

Writing a Plugin

One of the beauties of Dancer is its extendability, and this extendability is provided through a robust plugin system. While there are many plugins available in the Dancer ecosystem, there is always room for more! Do you have an itch to scratch? Have some code that you use over and over again that you think other members of the community might benefit from? Release that as a plugin, throw it on CPAN, and tell the community about it!

Stuck for a plugin idea? Here's a few to get you started:

- Text::Handlebars - Log::Log4Perl - Log::Any

Wrapping Up

We've covered some of the ways that you can get involved in Dancer project. No matter what level of experience you have with Perl or Dancer, everyone has a useful idea or skill they can contribute to the Dancer project and its community. So what are you waiting for? :)


This article has been written by Jason A. Crome (CromeDome) for the Perl Dancer Advent Calendar 2016.


No copyright retained. Enjoy.