[Melbourne-pm] beginner at Perl trying to learn it

Scott Penrose scottp at dd.com.au
Tue Aug 19 05:54:43 PDT 2008

This is slightly off topic, but I thought it would be good to say and  
see what people think...

I often have to program Javascript. But more recently I have had to do  
a huge amount in Javascript. The similarities of Javascript to perl  
are uncanny, right down to the way classes are built. (don't dig too  
deep into this - I am not trying to compare, but they are similar).

But what has driven me nuts is the 101 ways to do anything. And that  
each method has advantages and disadvantages. And that each person on  
the net describes their way as perfect. And that I spend a lot of time  
looking at the source code of the library because the documentation is  
missing. ...

Anyway... it struck me reading this thread that my frustrations with  
Javascript in the last few months must be how people enter into Perl.  
The reason I say that, is because once something hits me in Javascript  
it makes such sense it actually fits in my brain... just like perl.

I must say though - Javascript SUCKS on the documentation side and  
library front. CPAN rocks. I am working quite a bit with the ExtJS  
framework, and it is a fantastic framework, can't pick on it at all  
from code perspective. But imagine doing this for perl.

* Installing a module requires you finding code in a Forum thread, cut  
and pasting it into a file somewhere. Reading the text of the forum to  
find any other dependencies, finding them in forum threads and getting  
their text cut and paste into a file somewhere.

* Looking through documentation of a module and trying to find out how  
to use it, e.g. what are the important methods, and seeing every  
single base method inherited or otherwise. Having to scroll down to  
the instantiating method to read how to get started, which usually  
appears about 3/4 the way through the doc, after the 100s of  
configurable options. (when complaining about this I was told just to  
hide the inherited methods, but then you don't see which methods are  
important vs not - which comes back to one thing I think is best -  
manual documentation, writing what the user needs to know - not the  
other two methods: everything  or nothing).

Ext is just like that. Well Javascript in general really. Ext  
documentation reminds me of JavaDoc. And modules remind me of Visual  
Basic programming in the early 90s.

So apart from my little complaint above, I have had a brief  
introduction to how it must be for people who come to Perl where it  
hasn't yet "clicked" in the brain. But once it does... you won't get  
it out :-) (evil laugh here... or just thehehe).


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