Thank you -- but you are too kind! I am really not very good at obfuscation compared to many of the others whose works have graced the Monastery before me. I think my talents lie more with inventing something relatively new, and then making it hard to decipher. The really inspired obfuscated code, though, takes much longer to unravel than anything I could create, and there are a number of them at Perlmonks.org which I have yet to come close to figuring out!
I do have a couple of suggestions, though:
- For starters, always write code in an area that you are familiar with. Just think this way:  "What would make for really cool-looking (and maybe very unexpected) program output?" Then try to code to that.
- Create a program that you're pleased with first, and then try to obfuscate it afterwards. If you have an obfuscation technique in mind at the outset, so much the better, but write code that's easy for you to comprehend before you make obfuscate it, otherwise you'll get lost in your own mess.
- If you're going for a certain "look", make sure that the number of characters in your code is very close to the number of characters in the "picture" which will be the final output. Once you've got the program as short as you can make it, create an ascii-image using all '#' characters, and then, with your favorite editor, align your code to it as best you can.
- If you're trying "uncharted" techniques in obfuscation, make sure to try running your program after even the smallest edit, to make sure that it still works correctly!
- The more platforms your program runs on, the better (of course).
- Most importantly, study the obfuscated code that others have created. If there are "spoilers" (explanations of how the code functions) make sure to read them carefully. If not (or if you are up to the challenge), attempt to figure out for yourself which of the more mysterious Perl techniques are at work. Learning these useful Perl idioms will provide you the inspiration you need, not only to create masterful obfuscations of your own, but to become a better craftsman of Perl yourself!
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