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Re: Small Perl quests for a beginner?

by InfiniteSilence (Curate)
on Dec 03, 2008 at 17:21 UTC ( #727734=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Small Perl quests for a beginner?

Don't go around studying contrived examples online to learn Perl. One of the best ways is to try to gain XP here at Perlmonks by answering questions. You will get shot down at first, sure, but if you keep getting back up and reading the right books and perldocs you will gain proficiency fast.

The reason this is better than contrived examples is that it is pretty humbling to see the dozens of questions asked here daily that you can't answer. It keeps you learning -- not just about Perl but about computing in general. Overall, you are in the right place.

Celebrate Intellectual Diversity

Comment on Re: Small Perl quests for a beginner?
Re^2: Small Perl quests for a beginner?
by moritz (Cardinal) on Dec 03, 2008 at 17:50 UTC
    There's one downside with this approach: many questions that a beginner could answer with his Perl skills are ambiguous and lack context to resolve the ambiguity.

    Usually you don't have this problem with "contrived examples", as you call them, and neither with real-world problems. But for beginners it's often hard to judge if a problem can be solved with reasonable effort. Which is why they go back to "contrived" problems.

    (I don't want to discourage anybody from answering questions here; I merely think that it's not the best way for the average beginner).

      Actually that's not a downside! PerlMonks SoPW provides a pretty fair slice of how information is presented in the real world. Very often "programming" problems aren't, they are really problems elucidating the actual problem then solving that (which often is fairly trivial).

      Following along on the process of digging out the information needed to describe a a problem then solving it is not at all a bad way of seeing how that process works (or doesn't work). Writing the code to solve the problem then comparing it to the (often) many answers provided by others with a range of skills using a variety of techniques provides much better insight than the (generally) single "answer" provided in a book or similar resource. Being able to follow up a solution with questions about how and why makes learning in the PerlMonks context way more effective than any formal self study course or even than many class.

      Perl's payment curve coincides with its learning curve.
Re^2: Small Perl quests for a beginner?
by amarquis (Curate) on Dec 03, 2008 at 17:58 UTC

    Most times, any question that is within my grasp has already been answered by another monk with a more complete answer than I could produce.

    That said, I do like to go down the list of SoPW questions, answer them to myself, and then see what the other monks have said. This often illuminates different ways of thinking about or attacking the problem, which is useful.

Re^2: Small Perl quests for a beginner?
by ig (Vicar) on Dec 03, 2008 at 19:14 UTC

    The diversity of answers is one of the best things about PerlMonks, along with the diversity of questions. While this may be a bit overwhelming for a beginner, learning what the possibilities are and how to choose between them is very valuable. Many of the questions are very much beginner questions and many of the answers are written to be helpful to beginners. It is definitely not a site for experts only, IMHO.

    As, in the long run, success in programming is as much about communication as it is about variables, data structures and algorithms (think of teams and long term code maintenance), it is also very instructive to see and understand the diversity of perspectives, expressions and communication styles. Often excellent guidance is offered explicitly, and the questions and answers are almost always interesting examples in practice. Small misunderstandings can lead to confusion, but this also is instructive, particularly if you take the time to follow the discussions to see how the misunderstandings are overcome, and usually they are overcome.

    Trying to understand the questions, including the poorly expressed questions, will help you learn how to ask your own questions more effectively, and this also will help you get the help you need.

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