in reply to
Perl for Non-Programmers...
Thanks for the recommendation davorg ... but you've inadvertently
munged the title: Elements of
Programming *with* Perl (the link is to the review of the book on
Having written just such a beginner's book, I'll chime in with a few
words of advice:
- Don't talk down to the reader.
- Introduce 'strict' and '-w' very early (at the beginning even),
and then always use it.
- How we explain something in a classroom environment
doesn't often translate well to the printed page -- and we tend to
forget all the little extra narrative bits we may have used when we
explained concept X. Test out your written material early and often.
(this also means writing the book in sequence so you can have a few
test students reviewing it as you go rather than waiting until it
- Definitely emphasize the importance of planning (as you mention).
- Try to keep the book as OS neutral as possible (make it a Perl
programming book, not a Win32 or Unix or Mac specific book).
- Get out of the house and do something active -- programming
during the day and then writing into the wee hours can take a toll,
and depression from just the lack of sunshine can creap up on you.
- Don't always write in the same place, take a notebook (paper
variety) to a coffee shop or pub and sketch out some of your ideas and
explanations on paper. For one thing, you're out of the house and
around other people, and more importantly, it seems a less formal
environment than sitting in front of the computer, so your mind may
be a little freer to wander around and come up with novel ideas
(maybe even ideas for novels :-).
- Above all, enjoy writing it -- writing is hard work (well, it
is for me anyway) and if you don't enjoy writing it, it is
unlikely that anyone will enjoy reading it.
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope to see your book on the
shelves in the future. Every new 'good' book helps prevent the unwary
newcomer from wasting their time and money on one of the less than
stellar ones that already over-populate the shelves.