First off, I am not a programmer either -- but striving to be.
( however I *am* very Lazy, Impatient and excessively pridefull of my code... )
At any rate, I've picked up a few things along the way nonetheless.
When YOU need to know something, where do you ( ... ) turn to for help first, second etc
First place I go is perldoc, everytime. Perldoc rules - it's quick, it's on your system, it's informative.
perldoc -f is one of my favorites - I use that numerous times throughout any given week.
perldoc perl is of course all you *really* ever need to get you on the right track.
After that comes dejanews power search -- I *really* like dejanews.
When I have a question about something I'm not grasping, or want to find an answer to just about anything, I head
on over to the power search, enter a few keywords, enter *perl* in the Forum field, start browsing, and
almost invariably, within 20 minutes or so I'll either have found a direct answer to my question, or found something
close enough that twiddles my mind into solving the problem on my own.
The Camel comes in mostly when I just feel like getting away from the monitor and kicking back with some dead-trees.
I bring the Camel with me everywhere I go. It's like a bible to me. I swear by it.
When you are just starting to write a program of any sort, do you have a specific way you go about it?
My personal approach is very strange I believe. I first tend to just sit there and stare vacantly into space for some
length of time, then fire up vi and just start typing stuff - kind of this pure stream of conciousness deal, it's
pretty far out. Ultimately it looks like nothing more than a bunch of jumbled psuedo-code, comments, real code,
and unformated notes just haphazardly strewn together.
Then I sit and stare a little longer and attempt to make sense of it all. After that point, a new file is created -
which begins with the line #!/usr/bin/perl -w
Then comes alot of frantic typing into numerous xterms, followed by loud cussing, gnashing of teeth and the ruckus
of various books and things getting thrown about -- this is my debugging stage. Which is then followed by more coding,
more thinking, and more outbursts. Until I finally have something that works.
At that point I clean up, make things as elegant as possible, reform/re-evaluate logic, modularize and abstract where
possible, etc. etc. This stage lasts perpetualy. I *still* don't have any "perfect" code out there, and don't think
I ever will. There's somehow just always something else I'd like to modify/add/drop or rewrite... It's a most vicious circle.
I look forward to being a real programmer one day.
But then again, I'll be happy to remain nothing more than just another perl hacker...