Intro to Perl

josh hoblitt jhoblitt at
Sat Feb 9 22:39:52 CST 2002


It being many years (4+) since my last programming course this comment
may be out of date.  But I've found that biggest (and most usefull)
feature that all intro classes seem to skip is presistance.  I think
most perl courses go into simple file IO but that it would be highly
useful to also cover the basics of DBI/DBD.  I'm not advocating teaching
SQL syntax but simply how to connect and make queries.  I think that
will atleast open to the door to more useful, perhaps buisness class,
applications as the students progresses on their own.

I'd also like to suggest a community review process of the course
content that would hopefully lead to base material for intro to perl
courses (for instructors).  Once or twice I've considered giving a
lecture on perl (although that maybe optomistic of my own perl skills)
but been intimidated by the sheer volumne of matterial that needs to be

Good luck,

-Joshua Hoblitt

jhoblitt at

----- Original Message -----
From: Curtis Poe <poec at>
Date: Friday, February 8, 2002 10:52 am
Subject: Intro to Perl

> I just made a post to Perlmonks
> (
regarding starting an "Intro
> to Perl" seminar.  I won't be able to start this right away, but I 
> was hoping to guage the "real"
> level of interest in this.  I've have received a fair amount of 
> email from people who want to
> learn Perl, so I wonder if they're really willing to jump through 
> the hoops outlined in the post. 
> Also, any suggestions would be welcome.  Finding a place to 
> actually do this would be great.  We
> can do it at my company's offices (probably), but it wouldn't be 
> very convenient.
> Below is the text of the post.
> ------------------------------
> Camel Fishing
> I was chatting with merlyn one day (ooh, I'm such a shameless name 
> dropper :) about the lack of
> Portland Perl Monger meetings and he said "why don't you run it?" 
> Well, sometimes I'm not very
> bright, so I took over It's been fun and we've had one 
> social and one technical meeting
> (with the next meeting coming up). However, I am constantly 
> getting email from people who ask a
> variant of the following question:
>    I want to learn Perl. I've signed up for the 
>    mailing list but some of the conversations are 
>    intimidating. Are these meetings okay for a 
>    beginner?
> I always respond that we welcome any and all, from the "just 
> looking" to the gurus. However, there
> has been a lot of interest in learning Perl, but not everyone can 
> afford to pay for training.
> Further, just learning from a book can be deathly dull for some 
> people (it is to me, for example).
> To deal with this, I'm thinking of a one-day (eight hour) Intro to 
> Perl seminar. This is not to
> teach someone to program Perl. Rather, the intent is to give them 
> enough exposure to the language
> that they will know where to look for answers when they want to 
> get something done. I don't have
> the time or the resources to teach full time (even though I would 
> love to). The intent is not to
> give them a fish, but to teach them how (hence, the title of this 
> node and possibly of the
> seminar).
> There were some very interesting ideas presented in the Teaching a 
> class thread, but again, I am
> not trying to teach Perl. Here is the minimum of what I'm shooting 
> for:
> 1.  They must supply their own copy of "Learning Perl"
> 2.  We'll build a small app illustrating a key point 
>    from chapters 1 through 12 of Learning Perl
> 3.  Teach them how to use perldoc and online resources
> 4.  Small seminars with at max 5 attendees? 
> 5.  Printed seminar materials that they can later review 
>    for the highlights 
> Item 1 would show they are serious. Maybe I could require they 
> work through the LLama's Chapter 1
> "Whirlwind tour" prior to attending? They could email me working 
> copies of their programs as the
> price of admission :) I would probably request a very, very tiny 
> change to the program just to
> show they didn't download the code from somewhere.
> I think that writing a very simplistic BlackJack game (file I/O 
> demonstrated by saving high
> scores) would address item 2. Item 3 would teach them how to fish 
> and item 4 would make it easier
> to manage and help them.
> Learning Perl would be used because it's fairly straightforward. 
> The curricula could open each
> section by briefly explaining the topic (scalars, arrays, 
> regexes(!)) and then using that to build
> a new part of the BlackJack program. I don't want to commit to 
> teaching them everything, but
> giving them a starting point seems workable.
> Is this too ambitious for an 8 hour seminar? Can anyone suggest 
> resources for developing a
> curriculum? I have three guinea pigs here at the office, so the 
> first "real" seminar would not be
> totally new to me, but I could use some advice here. The one thing 
> that really worries me is a
> comment that Tom Phoenix made to me (there I go name dropping 
> again): "I never realized how much I
> didn't know about Perl until I started teaching it." That scares 
> the heck out of me. Any common
> teaching pitfalls that I should be aware of?
> Cheers,
> Ovid
> =====
> "Ovid" on
> Someone asked me how to count to 10 in Perl:
> push at A,$_ for reverse 
> q.e...q.n.;for(@A){$_=unpack(q|c|,$_);@a=split//;shift at a;shift at a 
> if $a[$[]eq$[;$_=join q||, at a};print $_,$/for reverse @A
> __________________________________________________
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