in reply to Reading the manual and knowing if you are getting good

I've been teaching Perl for years, and I still use perldoc every day that I use Perl (and not just for module docs ;). Even though I teach and write about Perl, I don't use every bit of it every day and I forget things. Some things I can't keep straight, such as the order of things in stat() or localtime(), and some things I always check to ensure that its supposed to do what I think I'm doing during those debugging sessions where I start to wonder if someone has changed the universe on me.

I have a lot of modules on CPAN, but that doesn't mean that they are any good, and it doesn't mean that I am any good. My modules are always getting better (like I mention in Parallel maintenance on many projects, part I and Parallel maintenance on many projects, part II: The Testing). Some have sucky names, like I mention in Regrettable module names.

For me, knowing that I am getting better involves thinking about why I know what I know (How I learned Perl) and why I do the things I do (How do you master Perl?, How not to code). Sometimes that means being self-critical, like in Stupid mistakes I repeatedly make. Indeed, search for "dumbass" on Use Perl and you find posts where I use that on myself.

I don't know if I can "just see things", but things that seemed hard four years ago seem easy today. That's got to be worth something.

--
brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
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