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Re: The Road to Enlightenment?

by naikonta (Curate)
on Oct 04, 2007 at 18:27 UTC ( #642723=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to The Road to Enlightenment?

Late 1996: I was a webmaster for the company I worked for. I was an Internet and HTML newbie.

Early 1997: I was asked to put a guessbook on the website, so I got one from Matt's Script (yes that one), made some insignificant modifications, got it to run, and was amazed of new thought on what I can do with programming. Interesting to learn more (I didn't care much then that it was "Perl"), a friend gave me the Llama book. But lacking of programming experience or some computer sience background seemed to be the biggest obstacle for me to grasp the content. My brain was like suffering digesting problem.

Months later, I found a short introduction by Selena Sol. It described how to program (CGI) with Perl in a very simple way. Few lines of theory, straightforward examples, and just what I needed to know to start my own (CGI) programs. I was specially deligted with qq() and "here-documents" (I saw a lot of \" in that guestbook program). I also learned later that beside online resources, in front of my nose, there is a bunch of excellent Perl docs I could (and still can, of course) with man perl, man perldata, etc. Feeling enligthened, following the manuals was enjoyful.

Later, while I still wrote,

print <<HTML; Username: <input type="text" size="10" name="username"><br> Groups: <select name="group"> <option value="1">user <option values="2">devel <option values="3">sales <option values="4">marketing </select> ... ... HTML
I saw a friend coded,
print textfield( '-name', 'username', '-size', 10 ), popup_menu( '-name', 'group', '-values', [1, 2, 3, 4], '-labels', { 1, 'user', 2, 'devel', 3, 'sales', 4, 'marketing', }, ), ... etc

I said, "Cool! What is it?". Now I got introduced to CGI.pm. My excitement was boosted.

But, I wasn't always sitting before the computers, so I thought that I needed a printed material so I could read it wherever and whenever I go. Somehow I forgot to got back to the Llama. I wasn't aware about other great Perl books. They weren't even in the local bookstore. I couldn't buy it online. I didn't have a credit card, and I couldn't afford it, after all. So I turned back to the local manual pages, and decided that, "This is my printed material resources!".

I didn't use Linux yet, that time. Workstations at office mostly use Win98. So how did I print the manual? Remember the old telnet program in Win98? I used that to login to the server, and executed man perl... commands. I copied-pasted a screen after a screen, use a word processor to layout the text (making heading, monospaced the code sample, etc). When editing was done, I just then printed it using dot matrix printer on the continues form paper, waited patiently until it completed, bearing with the noise, and apologized to the people. Basically, I had "one book" for each man page. I brought them everywhere, proudly answer what it was when friends asking. I read them on the go, on the bed, wherever and whenever possible. I got back to the computer to practice what I've just learnt. So it went, starting from perldata, perlsyn, and so on, for the rest of the year.

Early 1998: I became more confident with Perl. Something called PHP came along. Uninterested. I moved on to perlref, and there I got stuck. I just always took it in the wrong way. I even wrote,

sub afunc { my($x, $y) = \@_; }

I can't remember how the enlightenment came to visit, but it was when reading the perldsc. And another pandora box opened. Moving on to perlobj, perlmod, and, perltoot "books" was fascinating. I'm not saying it was easy, but it wasn't as hard as when I started to learn Perl. Unfortunately, I stopped on perlembed "book", and didn't even open perlguts. Later, I started to read "real books", and other Internet resources, as well as the printed TPJ (office subscription).

Still don't understand C, until now. But I was happy with Perl, already. The rest was just history. I heard about Python. Interested, but dropped it soon. Still didn't pay attention to the evolving PHP. Java later provoked with full of buzzwords, but never interested. JavaScript was entirely different beast, but went side by side with Perl. And I think that I "suffered" this "hammer syndrome". I learnt more about programming, understanding more on OO, and even enjoying my software engineering experience, at general. All with Perl, and other languages (by literature comparison). In short, I was happy with Perl.

Well, I'm happy with Perl!


Open source softwares? Share and enjoy. Make profit from them if you can. Yet, share and enjoy!


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