Dancer Survey Result Recap

Well, it's been way longer than it should have been, but I wanted to provide some information about the results of the 2017 Dancer Survey.


Let's start off with some overall statistics:

  • There were 112 responses to the survey
  • 86 respondents (76.8%) are currently using Dancer(1)
  • 60.5% of those who responded are using Dancer2
  • 89.5% of respondents would recommend Dancer to another Perl developer, and 46.5% would recommend it to a non-Perl developer
  • 41.2% of Dancer(1) users are planning to migrate Dancer2
  • 48.2% of you wanted web sockets - and now you got them :)
  • 51.8% of respondents are happy with the community.

Oddly enough, 37.2% of you love the docs, and 37.2% of you hate them.

This does give us some good insight into the direction users of Dancer are going. There are a number of Dancer users out there, with a growing shift towards Dancer2, and by and large, Dancer developers seem pretty happy. But we aren't content with merely happy, so let's see what people like and don't like, so we can see what can be improved.

Common reasons for recommending

There was a common theme among those who responded as to why they liked Dancer:

  • Simplicity/ease of use
  • Non-opinionated
  • Lightweight
  • Quality of documentation
  • Stability

Common reasons for not recommending

  • Documentation
  • Plugin selection

    While we've seen the addition of some new plugins recently (for websockets, Log4perl, and CHI, among others), we would love to see more.

  • Negative public perception of Perl

    This is a hard problem to solve, and not one that is going to be solved by us alone.

Areas of improvement/things to improve

There were some things that our community were anxious to see improved. I've listed items that came up multiple times:

  • Deployment docs (specifically, lack of IIS)
  • Presentation of docs on Dancer website
  • How to construct larger apps
  • Improve async documentation
  • Configuration
  • Be more community active

    This last item refers to the core team being more active on Stack Overflow, Perl Monks, and the like. To the best of our abilities, we will try to do so!

This comment in particular stood out to me:

"More tutorials. Especially about deployment. I believe the greatest 
hurdle for new developers (as in new new, who start doing web stuff 
in Perl, or programming in general, with Dancer) is not to get started, 
but to get done. There is a lot of good content in all the major 
frameworks in the Perl ecosystem on how to build an application, but 
all of them lack in-depth tutorials with different alternatives for how 
to deploy them. This includes telling inexperienced users what hosting a 
web application means, what the different deployment types with PSGI do 
and which one to pick. I think having a really good guide would set 
Dancer apart from other frameworks."

This is certainly one area we have set out to improve in the documentation.

Cool uses of Dancer

Our users shared with us some of the cool things they have done with Dancer. I'm considering doing some writeups on the Dancer website about some of them:

  • Service monitoring dashboard
  • VOIP provisioning app
  • Benefits management software
  • (and their family of sites/applications)
  • Unattended installation portal

Wrapping it all up

We received a lot of constructive feedback from this process, and while we might not do a survey every year, from time to time, this will be a good barometer of where things are and where we need to go.

Some of the feedback we received has already been acted upon (websockets, doc improvements), and you can look forward to us addressing your other feedback as we are able. Right now, we are working on a better manual that has more information about the things you'd most like to see. Stay tuned!


This article has been written by Jason Crome (CromeDome) for the Perl Dancer Advent Calendar 2018.


No copyright retained. Enjoy.

Jason A. Crome