The Free Love-, er, Teach-In

Mark Fowler mark at
Mon Mar 12 14:14:04 GMT 2007

On 12 Mar 2007, at 13:42, Denny wrote:

> The original reason this thread was started was to try to figure  
> out how
> to make 'reasonable' perl hackers into 'really good' perl hackers -  
> I'd
> be very disappointed to see a training course aimed at beginners as  
> the
> eventual outcome of the thread.

 From my point of view, I'd like to re-iterate what I discussed with  
Dave Cross and Ovid on thursday in the pub.

I can't use a programmer who's just learnt how to hack together a CGI  
script, but this Person probably has all the skills I actually need  
in writing Perl.  It's the stuff around it that's the problem.   
They've generally got the syntax down, or if they spent a while  
reading the camel, they would have.

The stuff they need to know is the other stuff, the stuff that they  
actually need to get going.  This stuff includes:

* How to find a module on CPAN
* How to download and install a module on CPAN, including when it's  
not just as simple as typing "install Foo".
* How to write a simple test script
* How to use a version control system.
* How to write POD, and what's expected in standard POD like you'd  
find on CPAN.
* How to make a very simple module tarball
* How to debug (note, this isn't how to use the debugger, but more  
Hey, Data::Dumper exists, perl -c exists, Devel::Peek exists)
* How to find out what your dependancies are
* How OO concepts is represented in Perl.  This is mainly an exercise  
in teaching the language. (What's an "accessor"? What's a "class  
method"? What's an "object method"? What's a "package variable"?)
* The very basics of character encoding in Perl
* How not to trust user input (escaping output to the browser, to the  
database, etc)
* Knowledge of, but not necessarily experience with, XS,  
Module::Build, mod_perl, FastCGI

You'll note that almost none of this is about Perl itself, but rather  
is about turning a CGI script author into someone who can do "proper  


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