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RE: RE: The sad state of Perl documentation

by SuperCruncher (Pilgrim)
on Sep 14, 2000 at 21:19 UTC ( #32514=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to RE: The sad state of Perl documentation
in thread The sad state of Perl documentation

But - much of perl's power lies in the great array of modules that are constantly being developed. The documentation of these varies from wonderful to woeful.
True, but I am unhappy with the standard documentation, not the documentation for other modules. There's no way to force authors of modules to write documentation (except for maybe not putting them into CPAN unless they are accompanied by documentation, but I don't think this would be a good thing), and I'm not too worried about that, but I think that the basic core of the language should be well documented.
  • Comment on RE: RE: The sad state of Perl documentation

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RE: RE: RE: The sad state of Perl documentation
by mirod (Canon) on Sep 14, 2000 at 21:42 UTC

    I will have to completely disagree here.

    Perl itself comes with a huge amount of docs. I am sure it's harder to find your ways around it that let's say a CD player, but that's only because using Perl is a little more complicated than using a CD player.

    And I am really unhappy with the sad state of the documentation for all VCR's I have ever owned by the way ;--)

    I think enough people care about, and work on the core docs that it is quite comprehensive.</p

    The problem is really with modules, as most of the time they are written, supported and documented by te same poor guy, usually better at (and more interested in) writing code than docs.

    Plus the author is not necessarily the best person to write an introduction to a complex module. Things that seem easy and natural for someone who has written socket handling software for 10 tears might not be quite as natural to Joe Poor Perl Hacker who was writing COBOL up until last month.

    So I think one of the best ways for module users to give feedback to the author is probably to write a piece on how they used the module, or just give some feedback on the doc.

    I was documenting religiously and in great detail every single method in XML::Twig, until I realized through a random email on a mailing list stating that a potential user had given up after the first 2 screens (out of 22!). I needed to write a tutorial introducing the basics of the module (but more complex than the usual simple synopsis). Darn! But I'm really glad I caught that feedback. I hate coding stuff that will never be used because nobody looking for an easy way to solve a simple problem did not make it to the 44th method in the 3rd class of the module which was exactly what they needed.

    So really I whished module docs were better and I think feedback could really help. But I'm happy with the core docs, thank you.

    And stop killing trees and use perldoc, man and grep!

      I will have to completely disagree here.
      Ok, but can I make it clear that I have a few minor problems with the docs for some of the functions in perlfunc, and I think that the documentation should be available in more formats. That's all!

      And I am really unhappy with the sad state of the documentation for all VCR's I have ever owned by the way ;--)
      You know, VCRs etc are often cited as devices which are really difficult to use, etc. I did an HCI module last term and they were continually cited as being hard to use. I have owned 2 VCRs, and have never found them very complicated to operate or use. The docs provided explained the more "advanced" features (like timer or VideoPlus recording), and the rest was easy even without going to the documentation. One problem I have had thought is the counter-intuitive arrangement of buttons on the remote, but heck, you can't have it all, can you?

      ...and work on the core docs that it is quite comprehensive...
      The docs are certainly comprehensive. I just think that in some areas they omit some information which would be useful to newbies and aren't quite as clear as they could be.

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