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Re: Modern Perl and the Future of Perl

by talexb (Canon)
on Dec 21, 2007 at 15:52 UTC ( #658465=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Modern Perl and the Future of Perl

Perhaps a numbered list of suggestions?

  1. Get involved in the community; they're happy to help you.
  2. Don't re-invent the wheel. Check CPAN first.
  3. Learn how to install modules on your platform. This will help you with #2.
  4. Read through Damian Conway's Perl Best Practices, and keep those tenets in mind while you write code. Don't follow them blindly -- but keep them in mind.
  5. If possible, develop code using Test Driven Development. It's an awesomely powerful way to develop and maintain code.
  6. Work on your coding skills continuously. Answer questions on IRC (if you dare), and on Perlmonks.
  7. Keep a copy of the Camel to hand. Open a page at random. You never know.
  8. Visit your local Perlmongers group; discuss Perl, ask questions. Attend your local YAPC event.
  9. Comment your code -- the most embarrassing thing that can ever happen to you as a developer is to look at some code you wrote six months ago and have absolutely no idea how it works.
  10. Don't immediately start pounding out code. Take your cup of coffee/tea and go for a walk. Think about the design. Think about an alternative. Think crazy. Think brilliant. Draw boxes on pieces of paper. Put off coding till the next day. Then start pounding away on the keyboard.

I can't imagine writing Perl code as well as I am right now, without the assistance of the community. And Perlmonks is a big part of that community. That's why I'm so keen to help out here.

Thanks to all, and to all a happy holiday season. :)

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

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Re^2: Modern Perl and the Future of Perl
by mr_mischief (Monsignor) on Dec 21, 2007 at 19:53 UTC
    I'm only going to respond here to #4, as it's the only one I have any nits to pick from.

    I see many people saying not to follow blindly someone else's advice. That's great for experienced programmers, and especially for those with existing experience in Perl. However, the best practices are arrived at from the experience of a very bright person.

    He may not always be right. There may be differences of opinion over some of the practices he suggests. Certain suggestions surely make more sense in certain cases than in others. So to always follow them blindly would be bad.

    My concern is that people give caveats so strong against PBP for people new to the language. These people are flying blind about best practices by default. Rather than developing random habits blindly, it would be beneficial for them to develop good (even if not universally accepted as best) habits blindly. Once they have some experience, then they're better equipped to make decisions about when to break away from Damien's suggestions and when to stick to them.

    To summarize, I guess I'm simply trying to say that perhaps people should be encouraged to follow good advice until they have determined there are valid reasons not to do so rather than to discount the value of the advice simply because some of us already know when to break the general rules (even if we can't always agree on which rules to break and when it's appropriate).

      That's what I wanted to say. Thank you for saying it.

      I don't worry about the people and groups who latch onto a set of standards or styles or best practices and enforce them with sticks and goads. They won't find much success, and it doesn't matter who suggests styles or standards. Their inflexibility will hurt them more than anything else, and there's nothing we can do for them until they fix that problem.

      I see no reason not to suggest good practices for everyone else, though, especially as they're gaining experience and good taste until they reach the point where they can evaluate their options and customize what they do for their current situations.

        It seems like PBP would be best as a continually updating online book. It is something that will keep changing as the years go by. Also, there are some techniques that the community don't want to encourage. (Inside Out Objects). Its a great book but most of it wouldn't be useful if you had just starting learning Perl. In a wiki format (or something similar) sections could be tagged as "Beginner", the community could have comment sections and such.

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