Beautiful is better than ugly

Steve Purkis steve at
Sun Apr 26 20:55:38 BST 2009

On 22 Apr 2009, at 15:22, Anthony Fisher wrote:

> L?on Brocard <acme at> wrote:
>> Alias ranted:
>> Which Perl website do you think looks the worst? Which has the  
>> worst navigation?
>> We managed to redesign Is it time to do another?
> Some aspects of good/bad design are fairly universal, but I think it's
> worth asking "what are we trying to achieve" here. Who is the audience
> and what is our message?
> Also, since we're playing catch-up on this front, there really isn't
> any harm in derivative design.
> Brain-drizzle:
> We have two main audiences: corporate types and geeks. It might be
> helpful to aim particular sites primarily at one or the other. Eg
> at corporates, CPAN and .pm sites at techies.

I agree, that makes good sense.

I'd still say it would be good to have a similar theme of style across  

> To corporate types we want to say:
>    Perl is alive (Brian Blessed voice optional)
>    Perl is suitable for major/"enterprise" applications
>    Lots of other people use Perl, and it's widely supported
>    No, really, it's alive

I disagree with the reinforcing 'perl is alive' - at least literally.   
It would obviously be alive if we maintained core sites, gave them a  
makeover, and had a feed of useful activity on them [1].  I agree with  
the rest though.

One thing I think we *really* don't want to do is unfortunately  
something we're already doing:

	"Perl -- It's like Java, only it lets you deliver
	 on time and under budget."
	  -  (footer)

Even though I have a sense of humour and can chuckle and realize that  
most people don't actually mean that, I fear most newcomers will lack  
this context and might think that was a rather arrogant statement.  If  
it's something we really want to say, it should at least have facts &  
figures to back a statement like that up.

> For this, perhaps we should stea^H^H^H^H look to the websites of the
> likes of Sun, IBM and Oracle? We probably want lots of news and, in
> particular, case studies, indicators of different companies/orgs using
> it, stuff about integration.

ITYM Oracle, IBM, and errr.. Oracle  ;-)

But seriously, why not

> To geeks we want to say:
>    Perl is alive
>    Look at the shiny cool features and stuff!
> It may be worth looking at the main sites for Python and Ruby, but I
> don't know if their design is actually any good.

Ah, as above.  At a glance, they both look more friendly than either or  I especially like's "Get Started,  
it's easy!" RH-nav block right at the top.

> Apple and "cool" geek sites might be good inspiration. It's probably
> worth emphasising the frameworks and so on; some people seem
> to think that because Perl doesn't have *one*, say, templating system,
> that it doesn't have any.

Agreed on both counts.  Of course, such content would need to be  
actively edited, which boils down to setting something up that  
volunteers can easily contribute to, and getting people to volunteer.


[1] interestingly, seems to have become basically a news  
feed.  And some ads.  The newsfeed looks worth keeping.  Ok, so the  
ads are probably paying for the site, but it would be nice not to need  
them, or move to text-based ads instead.

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