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Re: A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.

by tirwhan (Abbot)
on Feb 27, 2006 at 14:55 UTC ( #533032=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.

There seems to be some difficulty by many here in understanding what it is you want. My own interpretation is that you would like access to a repository of nodes which take apart pieces of code (or algorithm implementations) and explain them in a spoken language, in terms that are understandable by a layman.

The problem with this IMO is the misconception that code expressed in English would be clearer than the same code expressed in Perl. Spoken languages are unsuitable for explaining algorithms in a concise and unambiguous manner. Think about it, if code could be expressed well in English, don't you think somebody would have written a complier to translate (a limited subset of) English to executable code? Contrary to what you may believe, Perl is not a limited subset of English, rather it is a language designed to express algorithms while achieving a reasonable compromise between a.) translatability of these expressions into machine code and b.) being intuitively understandable and learnable for speakers of natural languages.

Your problem (I think) is that you haven't made the jump to "thinking in Perl", which is necessary to program anything more than trivial. The translation route "Problem" -> "English description of the solution" -> "Perl implementation of the solution" will only get you so far, you need to get rid of the middle step. Accordingly, a "cheat sheet" translating Perl idioms into English (which I think is what you're after) is only of very limited usefulness and I don't think you'll get too many people excited about it.

BTW, your update seems rather counterproductive to me, since you are proposing an addition to this site and thus it is is your obligation to explain to people here why you think your idea is a good one, not the other way around.


All dogma is stupid.


Comment on Re: A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.
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Re^2: A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.
by Win (Novice) on Feb 27, 2006 at 16:11 UTC
    I think that I would find it difficult to get people that already think in Perl interested. I agree. And these, I guess, are the ones that make big decisions regarding this site. But for those that have not yet eliminated the 'middle' stage you refer to, I believe, such a section would prove useful.

      No it wouldn't, because it's nothing more than an expensive crutch that reinforces bad practice. It is much more helpful to get the concepts across and have people understand what they are doing (or should be doing) than it is to provide a lookup table which appears to make the circuitous route easier but really just impedes understanding.


      All dogma is stupid.
        Your assertion is that what I suggest is very different to what is already on offer. Maybe then the idea should go to a vote because the feature is not currently offered by the site.
Re^2: A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.
by Win (Novice) on Feb 27, 2006 at 16:48 UTC
    Maybe those with advanced Perl skills need to step back sometimes and ask themselves 'How easy is this to explain in English'. If this question is not asked then the reputation that Perl has (in some quarters) for being too flexible and lax in structure will get worse. I therefore suggest that the culture change that this proposed section could bring would open up Perl to more programmers and this can only benefit Perl in the long run.

      If your suggestion is aimed at providing a cure for the reputation Perl has for being "too flexible and lax in structure", then I don't see how a "translation in English" would help. Maybe a translation in a less flexible language would do!

      Sad (?) truth is that some idioms are better explained in English, some other are better explained in Perl.

      It's just the same in other fields as well: in Mathematics we use formulas to express concisely concepts that would be next to unitelligible if we tried to verbosely expand them into plain English. But if we tried to express everything only with formulas, as they do in formal language studies, it would be just as unintelligible: in fact some ideas are better expressed verbosely in a natural language. The analogy is not perfect but I think it gives an idea...

Re^2: A proposal: new section on Perl Monks.
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 01, 2006 at 16:08 UTC
    The problem with this IMO is the misconception that code expressed in English would be clearer than the same code expressed in Perl. Spoken languages are unsuitable for explaining algorithms in a concise and unambiguous manner. Think about it, if code could be expressed well in English, don't you think somebody would have written a complier to translate (a limited subset of) English to executable code?
    Does Lingua::Romana::Perligata ring a bell? Ok, it's Latin, not English but...

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