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Re: Five Common Misconceptions While Learning Perl

by rir (Vicar)
on Dec 10, 2005 at 07:15 UTC ( #515699=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Five Common Misconceptions While Learning Perl

Did you google on PERL and tutorial or did you draw from hyperbole or imagination? Did you intentionally mislead us, lie to us, dupe us or was it just ineptitude?

My inflamatory rhetoric above is only to mirror yours. When I found that google search rather different than you implied, I distrust your whole post. I suppose rather like you were soured by some of the mistakes in tutorials on the web.

I see the first search results this way:

  1. an old (1995) intro by a Ben Johnson at the National Ctr. for Super Computing. Basic intro for people who Ben expects to read the docs.
  2. Perl4 dox with a intro stating it is just of historical interest. A sensible beginner would move on.
  3. by a John Pollock at The Web Design Resource this is both out-dated and a bit lame.
  4. is a reference to perlmonk's Tutorials.
  5. is a Carnegie Mellon University Perl4 manpage. It does have a header mentioning Perl5 and pointing the reader to perl.com.
  6. is www.perl.com. All my readings there have been worthwhile. I haven't read a beginner's tutorial there but I'm inclined to give it a pass. That is prejudice, I have no real reason to think that cause they can publish good mid- to high-level instructions that they would be good with a beginner's tutorial.
  7. is Robert's tutorial in the UK. This is outdated and dated in its own time. Rather lame. Its saving graces are that it shows -w early on and that it points the reader to perl.com and activestate.com.
Be well,
rir


Comment on Re: Five Common Misconceptions While Learning Perl
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Re^2: Five Common Misconceptions While Learning Perl
by m.att (Pilgrim) on Dec 17, 2005 at 14:50 UTC
    Despite the fact that you indicated that you wrote this 'inflamatory rhetoric' to illustrate a point rather than to be taken literally, I'd like to respond to it:

    > Did you google on PERL and tutorial or did you draw from
    Yes, I did.
    > hyperbole or imagination? Did you intentionally mislead us,
    Yes, I drew both from hyperbole and imagination, and no I didn't intentionally mislead you.
    > lie to us, dupe us or was it just ineptitude?
    or lie to you or dupe you. Yes, my attempt at using 2nd person narrative to describe the activities of fictional users was probably driven by my ineptitude at expressing myself in prose.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at with your post. By your own admission, 57% of the tutorials you've found on Google are one of (or all) outdated, 'lame', or requires the reader to be sensible. This supports my comment that 'Certainly the majority of tutorials will mislead you, lie to you, teach you broken concepts, and basically waste your time'. Note that I didn't say 'all tutorials will mislead you, lie to you, or teach you broken concepts', just the majority.

    I don't believe that when a beginner approaches a new language (especially if they have no prior programming experience) that they should be expected to be sensible about what learning material they choose or have some innate ability to guide themselves to well-written learning material. I also don't believe that if you present an outright beginner with 7 choices of material to learn a new concept from that they will somehow instinctively choose the best material. That's why I think it's a good idea to guide people to the best possible material at the outset and allow the beginner to focus on learning rather than disseminating the good from the bad.

    As a clarification, all of the 2nd person narratives at the beginning of the misconceptions are fictional and straight from my imagination. They may not hold up under intense scrutiny, nor are they meant to. They are meant as an entertaining read to describe what a random, fictional beginner possibly encountered. They aren't based on my own experiences, but are rather drawn from my imagination and from the actual experiences of literally hundreds of people I've found to have been mislead during their learning process. I apologize if this is unclear, but I guess you'll have to chalk it up to my less than adequate ability to express myself in written English language. Alluding to an ulterior motive to mislead or lie to people is uncalled for. (The previous statement is in response to 'When I found that google search rather different than you implied, I distrust your whole post.' rather than to the admitted 'inflamatory rhetoric' to 'mirror my own')

    Thanks
    m.att

      M.att, the key point of my reply was what you replied with: Alluding to an ulterior motive to mislead or lie to people is uncalled for. That is what you did, or you were more direct.

      I don't and didn't subscribe any ulterior motives to you. I did not mean to allude to such either, I only meant what I said I ... found that ... search ... different than you implied, I distrust your whole post. No allusion to motives intended: I find an error and so I doubt the accuracy of the rest of your post.

      That you feel so attacked demonstrates my point. You smeared a bunch of people who, just like you, went to some effort to share their knowledge. You impugned their competency, motives and honesty. When I only ask if you are doing the same you are offended.

      My lame does not equate to your utterly horrible and I do not agree that my examples support your point. I am not offended that someone codes to a standard I dislike: &routine is perfectly good perl. (Most Monks realize that &name cannot be routinely applied to builtins. The student who learns that convention early on also learns early to distinguish builtins from package subs.)

      I found your first post to be entertaining, you succeeded in that. I generally agree with your post.

      Beginners have misconceptions1 because they are beginners. What is good teaching material is difficult to determine without access to the student. Even the student who likes and wants to learn will coast, or stop learning, at some point. The student who learns just to accomplish some specific aim will do this at the earliest possible time. This suspension of learning can leave gaping holes for a long time. The sites I called lame may very well serve someone who just wants to achieve some aim. That they don't want to learn Perl, but just want to do XXX, does not make them less worthy of being taught. You, and I, will want to teach them Perl--someone else may be able to teach just what they want to know. The people who were so served, if any, will not be likely to come to your attention, they moved on.

      Be well,
      rir

      1 -- there are also voids of conception ~

Re^2: Five Common Misconceptions While Learning Perl
by spiritway (Vicar) on Jan 29, 2006 at 11:32 UTC

    My Google experience was somewhat different. Entering "Perl tutorial" as a phrase, I only had 195,000 hits. I checked out the first 21 (I'd have stopped at 20, but the last page was in German so I continued to the next English-language page).

    1. More about makefiles than Perl.
    2. Not found.
    3. Outdated tutorial for Perl 4
    4. Perl 4 tutorial.
    5. Not horrible, but uses some deprecated code.
    6. Last update was in 1999
    7. Discusses Perl 5.6.0; written in 2001
    8. Dated 1999
    9. PerlMonks!
    10. Dates to 2000
    11. Dated 1999 – discusses how to work with RSS
    12. Discusses how to select the correct database
    13. Author states, “…I’m not an expert with Perl”.
    14. Gave me a blank page when I tried to access this link.
    15. Discusses Perl 5.005
    16. Referenced page did not have the word “Perl” on it; search options did not return any hits for “Perl”.
    17. Tutorial from 1995.
    18. This was a page linking to sites purporting to teach Perl; did not have any information about Perl on the page itself.
    19. Decent tutorial for someone who knows some programming. Not for the complete novice.
    20. German-language page that I cannot evaluate.
    21. Link to Perl.com!

    Almost all these links were useless, especially to a complete newbie to programming. The only ones that seemed good were the ones to PerlMonks and perl.com, and #19. Numbers 5 and 7 weren't altogether useless. Overall, only 25% of these sites appeared to be helpful. The rest were not (IMNSHO).

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