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Re: A corrolary to TMTOWTDI

by da (Friar)
on May 29, 2001 at 01:51 UTC ( #83793=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to A corrolary to TMTOWTDI

There already is a corollary to TMTOWTDI in this sense; it's the First Virtue of Programming. Laziness means expending a little energy at the outset to save a lot of work later on. I think the camel book does a good job discussing how laziness can be useful, I think it even discusses CPAN in that section. But "get thee to CPAN" isn't going to help in this case.

Here's a challenge: using CPAN, try to find an indication that posix.pm is the right module to solve the problem leons did with his subroutine, without specifying strftime in the search box. I couldn't do it. The closest I came on CPAN was a reference to Date::Calc, on a search for 'date' and 'sprintf'.

If I cheated and used a google search restricted to perldoc.com, the same query gives me Date::Calc as the first choice, and a Tk:: module that mentions strftime as the second choice (if I'm willing to dig for it).

I suspect it is often less work to reinvent the wheel.

To reframe the question: how can we make CPAN more helpful to lazy people?

Here's one possible solution: CPAN should contain a copy of all module documentation in a format that google will index-- all the pod files for every module. Right now I think a lot of the documentation is locked up in .gz files.

Perhaps then, when I do a web search for "perl date sprintf" CPAN will show up in the first 40 results. I suspect that would go a long way toward making people aware of CPAN.

___
-DA


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Re: Re: A corrolary to TMTOWTDI
by petdance (Parson) on May 29, 2001 at 07:24 UTC
    how can we make CPAN more helpful to lazy people?

    Interesting. I hadn't thought of that angle. I'd always assumed that people don't check the CPAN, and your postulate seems to be that CPAN isn't comprehensive enough in its searching capabilities. I know I've had problems with search.cpan.org before, where things that I would have expected to find were not found.

    I'm concerned about just pushing the laziness angle. Lord knows there are enough negative-scored posts here in the monastery that say things like "How do I write a game in Perl?".

    Who remembers years ago in comp.lang.perl.misc when tchrist posted his rants about the nice beach that was overrun by people who didn't want to make the beach nice, and only wanted to take? While I certainly take issue with how he expressed his views, I agree with most of his points. There's a wealth of information in the community, but posting blindly "Hey, do my homework" isn't going to help anyone.

    So let me rephrase a different way: How can we as the Perl Community help others to help themselves?

    xoxo,
    Andy

    %_=split/;/,".;;n;u;e;ot;t;her;c; ".   #   Andy Lester
    'Perl ;@; a;a;j;m;er;y;t;p;n;d;s;o;'.  #   http://petdance.com
    "hack";print map delete$_{$_},split//,q<   andy@petdance.com   >
    
      I realize that if you search for a specific module in the monastery, you can often find some discussion of it or maybe even a tutorial. Perhaps, we could organize these tutorials and module reviews into a specific area (perhaps just another review section) and give brief summaries of what they do and provide links to old posts concerning those modules.

      Granted, this is no small task and if someone has a better approach that would require less work, that would be great. I was just thinking that a nice categorized list of popular modules with some notes by other monks might be very useful. (At least I'd find it useful.)

      - Sherlock

      Skepticism is the source of knowledge as much as knowledge is the source of skepticism.
Re: Re: A corrolary to TMTOWTDI
by danger (Priest) on May 29, 2001 at 22:12 UTC

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