|No such thing as a small change|
OK, maybe some will agree, maybe I'll just be shunned for saying it but I think the new look is a horrible step backwards for perldoc.
There seems to be and ugly trend in web design these days where everyone has to use highest contrast settings they can find to make a point. It's like going back to the early days of the web when everyone thought neon colour choices were cool. Granted the new look is not so bad as that, but where as I found the old layout very easy on the eyes and harmonious, I find the new layout harsh and just plain hard to read. It's a disappointing change in my eyes. Grey text in a Dark grey box sitting in a Light grey background? That might look OK... if I tweak the heck out of my monitor contrast/brightness settings first!
I can't recall if the previous layout was fixed width, but that's painfully obvious now (maybe due to the new choice of background colours?). In my browser the 'Perl Version' select box sticks out the side in way that suggests cross-browser compatibility was second (and forgotten) thought. I should be able to expand my browser window to read more of the content that I'm after. Instead all I get is more empty background. The brutal days of fixed format layout are so 2000 and late. If that's how it looked before the layout change, then I guess it just proves how badly the new colour scheme emphasizes this now.
When I have to code PHP I usually have www.php.net/docs.php open in a tab. I don't spend enough time with PHP to make it worth my while to stock the book shelf and keep a reference handy. But I don't have to. The PHP doc site is easy on the eyes, it flows to what ever size I make the browser window, and the search WORKS for Pete's sake. In short it's an invaluable coding resource and the user contributed comments are pure gold.
I've tried to use perldoc.perl.org for my equivalent online Perl reference. It 'used' to be as easy on the eyes as the PHP site. In fact I'd say it even looked better. But I've been burned so many times now trying do a quick look up that I've stopped wasting my time there. Try searching for 'while' or 'foreach' and don't even get me going on what you get for 'if'. What does that say about our Perl language when the official documentation site can't even find the most language statements? Honestly, if I have to jump out to Google to search for Perl documentation, then I'm going to start there in the first place and skip the perldoc middle man. It's so painful to use that I've stopped trying to use it, and instead I keep the camel book next to the mouse. I could never recommend perldoc to anyone learning Perl.
The PHP documentation site is useful because (a) is uses a sane web page layout, (b) it actually has a working and complete search tool, and (c) it contains valuable user contributed comments for every function with practical examples and pitfalls. The Perldoc site has none of these (especially now).
Instead of wasting time 're-skinning' perldoc we should have spent the time making it a better perl resource. The old layout was already timeless and professional. It's the functionality that's sorely lacking.