[JOB] Perl developer (front-end web devel) (London) from 34k

Toby Corkindale tjc at wintrmute.net
Tue Jan 2 17:35:36 GMT 2007

On Fri, Dec 22, 2006 at 06:08:47PM +0000, Jonathan Stowe wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-12-22 at 12:10 +0000, Toby Corkindale wrote:
> > You'll need to be familiar with Template Toolkit and Catalyst, and have at
> > least a basic understanding of DBIx::Class.
> I'm curious about this as I have been seeing it quite a lot recently,
> and mostly I might add with similar perl-for-the-web sort of stuff. I
> can understanding looking for a familiarity with a particular
> application domain or an important underpinning technology, but I'm not
> getting the requirement for particular libraries, beyond perhaps knowing
> what they are for but that would be something I would find out in an
> interview.  I'm pretty certain I'm not seeing, say, adverts for Java
> programmers expert in Struts, at least not as prominently (of course I
> could just be missing them.) Now I'm wondering why this is: my
> presumption would always be that a good programmer should be able to
> learn quickly any particular toolkit they needed to - for myself I would
> say that is a necessity in the kind of stuff I do. Is it that these
> libraries are so complex and difficult to learn that it's not felt that
> a mere mortal can be become useful with them in some required timeframe?
> Is it possible that Perl is too flexible in the way that an API can be
> expressed that knowing a lot about Perl in general is no use when it
> comes to using some over-arching toolkit. I'm not sure - I've known
> people who didn't know Perl but were good programmers be doing useful
> stuff with TT in a few days for instance. 

Sorry for the delay in response - I wasn't picking up mail often over the

In the case of TT, yeah, I think any decent coder should be able to pick it up
quickly. However DBIx::Class and Catalyst are both large, complex, and
especially in the past, non-trivial uses were poorly documented. Also, as these
projects are complex, there are multiple ways to do things - getting someone
with actual experience of which ways are better than others means much more
than with, say, TT.

If we took in an expert Perl coder, I'm sure you'd get up to speed rapidly,
without assistance.. but how many of your are even going to consider a job
advertised around 35k?

Secondly - by advertising some of the main modules you'll be working with, I
think it gives applicants a clearer idea of what the job would be like.
(How would you feel about a job that advertised using popular, "interesting"
CPAN modules, vs a job using neolithic in-house systems written for Perl 5.0?)

> There is a danger in this, what could be described as a balkanization of
> skills, where we go from programmers who happen to be good with Perl, to
> Perl Programmers, to Perl Web Programmers, to Perl/Catalyst (or
> whatever) web programmers and with a conclusion where the language
> simply becomes a scripting facility for the toolkit and disappears. Any
> other skills one demonstrably has become redundant.

Could we say the same thing already happens over and over in the course of IT
evolution? As areas get more complex, people specialise. As higher-level
methods of doing something appear, the knowledge of how to do it manually
becomes thinner on the ground.

I've written hash table libraries in C (in the 90s), but now I'd just use an
o/s library now, and with Perl it is built-in. So my knowledge is redundant.
See also memory management. Or more recently, cross-database SQL generation, or
URL dispatching.

Doesn't this allow us to concentrate on doing more interesting things though?
There will always be people who are interested in assembly language, or
developing better web frameworks, or whatnot, and I'm sure they'll go far.

But as PHP and VB demonstrated so well, there will be loads of people
who want to do something /now/ without taking years of learning intricies of
computer processors, operating systems, and internet protocols or GUI

The people who start off by making a little CGI script on their homepage, or a
dialog box that says "Hello world!" when you click a button in Windows, may
well go on to write bigger programs.
If Perl has packages that allow people to start off making powerful
applications simply, then that gets people into Perl, and those people are
likely to discover the full power of Perl later, when they need it.

And for those of us who already know "proper" Perl, then we can recognise the
best times to use a framework or whatever, and when it's best to break out into
the native language.

> I'm genuinely curious about this, and it's not aimed at this particular
> thing and I'm fairly detached from it as these are not the kind of
> things I do. I was toying with taking this to the jobs-discuss list but
> I figured it was more a general thing about Perl culture.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
(gpg --recv-key B1CCF88E)

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