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Re: So, just what exactly is it about Perl?

by monoxide (Beadle)
on Nov 09, 2004 at 17:42 UTC ( #406549=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to So, just what exactly is it about Perl?

The third way.
Trying to learn a new language that at first sight is very poorly documented (no -- votes for this please... i have been using perl for a few months before finding this site, and learning how to use the docs properly)

I personally love multi-dimensional arrays, i use them most days that i program. I also love how Perl implements "multi-dimensional arrays", arrays of arrays, or arrays of hashes, etc, etc. Very flexible and i wish a few more languages implemented this. (I believe that C# has this option?)

Anyway, just a few more ramblings from another Perl newbie.
  • Comment on Re: So, just what exactly is it about Perl?

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Re^2: So, just what exactly is it about Perl?
by BUU (Prior) on Nov 09, 2004 at 17:55 UTC
    Trying to learn a new language that at first sight is very poorly documented (no -- votes for this please... i have been using perl for a few months before finding this site, and learning how to use the docs properly)
    I'll refrain from downvoting you, but let me ask this: What makes it "poorly documented"? Did you not install the documentation that comes with it? Could you not figure out how to use it? And a more useful question, what would have improved your perception of the documentation?

    People always go on and on about php's wonderful documentation, and I just don't understand it. They don't even have a command line tool for access documentation do they? So what could be improved about perl's documentation? Surely not the quantity. Perhaps the quality? Or is it just too hard to use? Maybe it needs a better website?
      Probably the fact i didn't realise there was a command line tool for accessing the docs. I am used to having either text file, or .doc or decent online documentation/tutorials (damn windows users). But i know alot of people who don't want to learn perl because of a percieved lack of online documentation and tutorials and places for help. A few i have refered here, but i don't know if they have ever looked.
        In unix, man perl works as expected. In Windows, ActivePerl installs HTML documentation and I think it creates a shortcut to it. perl.com, perl.org and ActiveState.com all have HTML versions of the documentation. Am I missing something?
Re^2: So, just what exactly is it about Perl?
by Ytrew (Pilgrim) on Nov 10, 2004 at 12:38 UTC
    Trying to learn a new language that at first sight is very poorly documented (no -- votes for this please... i have been using perl for a few months before finding this site, and learning how to use the docs properly)

    Perl is very well documented: but you may still find it confusing. Odds are, you're just not the intended audience. As the early manual pages stated, perl was written as an alternative for using UNIX shell tools and C, and that was, quite reaonably, the assumed background for the documentaton. The documentation assumed, (and to an extent, still does), that you already understood programming terms and concepts, and just want to try out this new language called perl.

    Perl is no longer very "new", and the audience for the documentation is no longer limited to ex-C and shell programmers, but the documentation has remained largely the same. If you want to re-write some of it for a new target audience, I'm sure it would be appreciated. Good documentation is valuable, because documentation is hard. You have to get all the details right, or the newcomers will learn the wrong things.

    I learned perl from the online documentation, and very much appreciated it. I was part of the target audience, so that worked well for me. At the time, I thought perl was much better documented than C, which is what I was using. I didn't know where to find a central list of all the C string handling functions that were available on my UNIX system, and I was getting frustrated with trying keyword searches on the word "string". Perl had everything documented on one page.

    You might want to try some of the other resources targeted at learning programming in general, or learning perl in specific. Perhaps a copy of the book "Learning Perl" would help, if you find that you learn well from books.

    perldoc -f <functioname> brings up help on a built-in perl function.

    Good luck, and keep learning!

    --
    Ytrew Q. Uiop

Re^2: So, just what exactly is it about Perl?
by sap (Initiate) on Nov 14, 2004 at 09:58 UTC
    There is no better documented language than Perl. Ever read the M$ "docs" on C# - they're a joke.

    C# and most other languages have no notion of hashes (or any native multi-dimensional data structure) as a type. The problem being the way references are handled. In Perl a reference can be a reference to anything, while C#/Java require a reference to be a declared reference to a specified type. No, C# does not have this option. In C# there are primitive types and objects, that's it.

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