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Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought

by crabbdean (Pilgrim)
on Mar 14, 2004 at 05:17 UTC ( #336456=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
crabbdean has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Fellow Monks,

I have a friend who owns a IT business wanting me to write some programs for him, and he indicated possibly many more in future. Up until now I've always used notepad, the command line and brain but have read up on the Perl Dev Kit. Has anyone out there used it? Comments/feedback? Is it worth the investment?


The Funkster of Mirth
Programming these days takes more than a lone avenger with a compiler. - sam
RFC1149: A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers

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Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Mar 14, 2004 at 06:03 UTC
    I have used the Active State PDK in the past. I rather liked it as a developement tool. The integration of the debugger was a nice bit; I like having multiple windows open in the code and the debugger, so the ActiveState methodology fit right in. At the time I thought that it was a worth while investment.

    The down side I found was that modules hit CPAN several days (or in hard cases weeks) before they were available from the PPM repository. But that's a bad thing only if you have to be at the (b)leading edge; for the more cautions of us, it should not cause problems.

    Lately I have been doing most of my coding on Linux/Solaris and "porting" over to Windows during the last week or so before a code release. It does require a little pre-planning to keep the module libraries in sync. You can't just add a new version of something without verifying that the module is available in both environments. Like a lot of other things, it's just a matter of a little prior planning.

    If I were developing in a pure Windows environment again, I'd upgrade my PDK. But I'd also look at pEdit and at Eclipse as well. (My current IDE is called 'vim'.)

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


      The down side I found was that modules hit CPAN several days (or in hard cases weeks) before they were available from the PPM repository.

      Huh? What does the PPM repository have to do with the Perl Dev Kit?


Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by arden (Curate) on Mar 14, 2004 at 07:37 UTC
    I use the PDK on a very regular basis, courtesy of my employer. I like it and haven't found any major problems with it. With ActiveState, the modules tend to be a lot out of date (Old_Gray_Bear, I'd say months is the norm), but they are stable. If you truly need some update from CPAN, it's easy enough to get it and install it (I've recently had to get the latest Archive::Zip).

    However, unless you need one of the features like perlapp, perlsvc, or perltray, I'm not sure it would be worth the price. You can get the ActiveState distribution for free, along with gvim (or your choice of several other free editors), so why spend the $195?

    If you're writing programs to run on his webserver (or from only a couple machines you can install Perl on), there really isn't much gained from the PDK. On the other hand, if you (like me) want to have a process running constantly in the background of a windows machine, perlsvc is great. If you want to write some little patch that you'll distribute to a large population of non-computer people, perlapp is great for this. I also use perlapp when I need to do something on all of my users' databases (1000+) w/o them knowing the DBA password. It's not truly secure, but it's obfuscated enough after compiling it that none of them will discover it.

    Ultimately, I'd recommend that you download and install it with the 21-day evaluation license and see if it has something you want. It won't cost you anything more than your time. Now if we can only convince Adobe to offer 21-day trial versions of its software. . . :^)

    - - arden.
    just my thoughts

Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by smackdab (Pilgrim) on Mar 14, 2004 at 07:24 UTC
    I have also purchased the PDK and do like it, just keep in mind what you want out of the package...
    I wanted the ability to create an .exe and also the gui debugger.
    They are not focusing on the debugger as there is a version in Komodo (which is also a nice product). So that is a bummer...
    And you can use PAR to do the same thing as PerlApp. I am sure each have advantages, but I haven't used them enough to notice.
    I will also say their support was good, it took a little bit of time for the listserv, but they were always knowledgeable and responsive.
    If you have the time, the best is to use all of them and then choose ;-)
    And finally, TextPad is a good editor, much better than notepad!!!
Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by kschwab (Priest) on Mar 14, 2004 at 05:20 UTC
    *Cough* notepad ? Good deity man ! I know nothing about the Perl Dev Kit, but get yourself an editor :)

    Update: Probably should have suggested something, right ? There's Jedit and vim.

Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by etcshadow (Priest) on Mar 14, 2004 at 05:26 UTC

    Get yourself TextPad, right now. The user experience will be a seamless upgrade from notepad, just about a million times better. You can get into a "which editor is best" flame-war on down the road, but if you're coming from notepad, textpad is gonna be the easiest upgrade path for you to a real text editor.

    Update: Yes, I do recognize the irony of pushing textpad in my post while my sig makes specific reference to vi. Life goes on... I'm recommending the guy use textpad because I think that's what'll help him out the most right now.

    ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by TomDLux (Vicar) on Mar 14, 2004 at 05:32 UTC

    Take a look at PerlEdit, developed by a fellow member of the Toronto Perl Mongers.


Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by crabbdean (Pilgrim) on Mar 14, 2004 at 11:02 UTC
    Thanks all for your comments. Ultimately I know I'd have to do my own playing around and testing but I was interested to hear what others had to say. Something to consider in there, thanks.

    And besides, what's wrong with notepad?!! Just kidding. haha! I often use another editor but for conveniency find myself just bringing up notepad and doing it in that sometimes. I'm not too keen on debugging apps, I prefer to do things the hard way. The expense of effort up front is what tunes ones mind I find. The skill of having to debug your own code improves in time, plus enforces a lot of other mental abilities that I'm finding now beneficial when it comes to programming, so I like to force this effort on myself. I also like to enforce other habits instead of being too "tool" dependent.

    I'm still undecided, for the reasons I think I'd need such a tool I end up working out a solution myself. There is only a few reason left why I'd bother and I'm assuming soon I'd find solutions to those things too.

    Anyway, I'll have to consider all this some more.

    The Funkster of Mirth
    Programming these days takes more than a lone avenger with a compiler. - sam
    RFC1149: A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers
      I understand the notepad thing. I worked with Microsoft's and also Borland's editors. It is all so easy that you merely think what you are doing!

      Besides the good thing of writing it all first with a pencil on a paper and then copying it all, another way is using the infamous notepad.

      Making your company get involved with Active Perl is a good thing, anyway. They have prooved to be a good Perl embasy in the Windows environment.

      And their strategy is more straight forward than others. I think. And that helps because they have a lot of things thought beforehand when you need to make some future decissions.

Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by Paulster2 (Priest) on Mar 14, 2004 at 14:10 UTC

    While I have never used PDK, nor any of the other editors listed in the nodes, here's something to think about. Why not ask the company you will be doing work for to **COUGH** up the money for PDK? If they are large enough, the $195 is a measly sum. And on the flip side, all they can do is say no. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


    PS: In case you are wondering, I use nedit for most of my perl editing. Not all that fancy, but it is free!

Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by CountZero (Bishop) on Mar 14, 2004 at 22:11 UTC
    If you are developing Perl-scripts on Windows or Linux, I'd say have a look at Activestate's Komodo. It is a full featured editor for all kinds of languages (including HTML, PHP, Python, Tcl, and XSLT and limited support for lots of other languages), it integrates the Perl-debugger and can even debug on a remote machine (or so they say, I haven't tried that yet). It has a nice Regex-debugger too and a good GUI for ppm.

    Whatever you do, don't try try the free 21 days evaluation license: you will be hooked as soon as you start using it!


    "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

Re: Perl Dev Kit - opinions sought
by jacques (Priest) on Mar 14, 2004 at 17:55 UTC

    There's something not to say during a job interview. Pssst ... Don't worry we won't tell anyone. We keep these sort of things in the Monastery, where they belong.

    Try vim. It's like notepad except it rocks and geeky girls dig it.

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