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When you first post to comp.lang.perl.misc you get 'spammed' with a welcome message. In this you get a series of pointers to a number of perl resources (sadly not the monestry).

I think that perlmonks.com should develop a similar document to be sent by auto-responder to all new posters/initiates. As well as the usual welcome to the community pitch it could include *links* to some of the relevant perl resources both within and 'without' the monestry.

Between us all I'm sure we could develop a very useful document to smooth the path of new perl programmers providing pointers to all those things that seem obvious NOW but did not THEN.

Here is the text of the usenet doc as a basis for discussion.

tachyon

Hello,

This email is automatically sent to every new poster to comp.lang.perl.misc. You should only receive it once. My apologies if the program contacts you twice, perhaps at two different accounts. This is not a flame, only an attempt to help newcomers get the most out of the newsgroup.

If you are an experienced Perl programmer who simply has not posted before, or have inadvertently cross-posted to comp.lang.perl.misc, I apologize for inconveniencing you with this message. Keep in mind that it is intended to help inform newcomers and cut down on redundant posts, which you then won't have to read. Some of the resources in it may prove useful to you anyway, however.

Please look at the following tips, which will often answer your questions without the need to post at all. Every post to the newsgroup consumes the time and effort of readers all over the world, and your cooperation is esential to make the newsgroup useful for everyone.

Thanks!

last changed Apr 18 2001

1. The latest stable release of Perl is 5.6.1. The latest maintenance release of the 5.004 track is 5.004_05, for the 5.005 track is 5.005_03. You can download them from http://www.cpan.org/src/ (look in ftp://ftp.perl.com/perl/ for a list of FTP-based mirrors)

2. comp.lang.perl.misc is for questions on the Perl language. Try comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi for questions on the CGI part of CGI scripts. The two leading blocks of reusable code for CGI purposes are
CGI.pm, at http://www.genome.wi.mit.edu/ftp/pub/software/WWW/cgi_docs.html
cgi-lib.pl, at http://cgi-lib.berkeley.edu
You might also want to check out
libwww-perl at http://www.linpro.no/lwp/
If you are having problems with a CGI script, look through
http://language.perl.com/CPAN/doc/FAQs/cgi/idiots-guide.html

3. Are you using the following?
#!/usr/bin/perl -w
use diagnostics;
#se strict;
"-w" turns on all sorts of warnings about probable errors (see the perldiag manpage),
"use diagnostics" causes the "-w" warnings to be explained in greater detail (with the explanations from the perldiag manpage), and "use strict" generates compile and run-time errors for certain unsafe variable, reference and subroutine constructs (see the strict manpage)

4. Are you checking the return values from the functions built in to perl? Most of the file and system functions set $! and have return values that you can test thus:

open(PASSWD, "</etc/passwd") or die "error opening /etc/passwd: $!\n";

$! will contain an error message that will give you more information on where your program is going wrong. The perlfunc man page will give you more information on the return values from functions.

5. Have you read the Perl FAQ? Many questions on sockets programming, an important and common problem with Solaris, text manipulation and the jargon of perl are answered in the FAQ. As well as being posted regularly to comp.lang.perl.misc, the FAQ is on the web at: http://language.perl.com/faq/

6. Have you read the man pages? Here are some subjects and the man pages to look in:
Objects perltoot, perlref, perlmod, perlobj, perltie
Data Structures perlref, perllol, perldsc
Modules perlmod, perlsub
Regexps perlre, perlfunc, perlop
http://www.perl.com/CPAN/doc/FMTEYEWTK/index.html (not a man-page but still useful)
Moving to perl5 perltrap, perl
Linking w/C perlxstut, perlxs, perlcall, perlguts, perlembed
The man page for "perltoc" provides a crude table of contents for the perl man page set.

7. Have you looked at http://www.perl.com/ ? This is a great online reference, with documentation, pointers to modules in the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN), articles on the inner workings of many bits of Perl, and more.

7.5. Have you checked to see if a Perl module satisfies your needs? Many reusable modules are available for immediate download and use. See http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/00modlist.long.html for details.

8. Have you tried archives of Usenet?
<a href="http://groups.google.com/
">http://groups.google.com/
maintains an archive of postings to Usenet dating from March, 1995. Be sure to include "Perl" in your search.

9. The latest version of the "Camel Book" ("Programming Perl"), updated for version 5.6.0, is available from your bookstore or from http://www.ora.com/

10. Remember, USENET newsgroups are based on the idea of mutual aid. USENET only works if we put as much into it as we get out of it. Good luck with your Perl work.

-Nathan Torkington, Perl mini-FAQ maintainer


In reply to Help for new monks by tachyon

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