Writing about Perl FOR WEBDEVS

Mallory van Achterberg stommepoes at stommepoes.nl
Fri Sep 2 10:19:38 BST 2011

Hallo all,

I've decided to throw this out here since there's plenty of passionate
Perl people here. Planning on cross-posting to blogs.perl.org too.

I'm on a forum that caters mainly to web developers (sitepoint.com/forums)
where Perl languishes in a darkened cobwebbed corner for no good reason.

I know the community has been focussing efforts on StackOverflow, reddit,
PerlMonks and ycombinator. I also saw davorg's question regarding Linux
Magazine articles (which sound indeed like they'd make more sense
targetting sysadmins).

I'm planning on getting some people (anyone who is interested) in
writing some "mini-articles" about things where Perl benefits web
developers (things like Plack, frameworks, not so much mail servers
and things).  By mini-article I mean, about the amount of content you'd
see at a typical YAPC talk.  With diagrams would be great (thinking
of the Plack diagrams I saw which were done by Miyagawa, excellent).

I hope that these mini-articles, talking about what a web dev can do
with Perl, will start bringing some attention of these forum-goers
to Perl and basically that Perl offers just as much as other, more
hipstery languages (*not* to try to convince anyone that it's better,
only that it's actually really truly an OPTION). Web devs don't know
they can do the same things in Perl. They think web sites who run Perl
do so because they are too old and full of legacy to switch to something
I think more general web developers deciding to learn and use Perl is
good for Perl and good for companies who use Perl in their web

If/as discussion or questions (hopefully) show up in the threads where
these mini-articles are posted, I would love to have Perl people be
available and able to answer these, or add to the discussion.

Gabor has offered to start things off with a mini about Setting Up A
Blog Site Using Dancer. I plan to edit it as best I can and change
it to BB-code for forum styling, and post it. I don't know how this
is going to go. I don't know if interest will appear, or how long
it would take for that to happen (but I am already assuming it will
take a bit of time... I'm planning on trying this out for 6 months),
and I don't expect Perl people to sign up for this forum and watch
for stuff.

Instead I hope someone at the forums can/will create a bot whose
account is "subscribed" to these threads with mini-articles. The
forum automatically updates subscribed members in various ways
that there's been a new post on such threads. If this bot could either
email those in the Perl community who are interested, and/or post
a link to the thread in some central Perl area where most of you
guys frequent, that would be best.

I want that IF there is interest, questions, whatever, that there
are experienced Perl people ready to offer answers and further
insight.  This would mean signing up an account at the forums in
order to post, but with a bot in place there would be no pressure
to continue logging in to see if someone replied (though you can
also set up that you get an email if someone replies to just your
subscribed threads).

If anyone knows anyone who would likely be interested in this
project and is not on the London.pm list, please pass this on.

Dave Sherohman has started helping someone with a particular Perl
problem, and that's very nice of him and I really appreciate it.
I don't have much (any) Perl knowledge so unfortunately while I have
the passion for bringing Perl to web developers as just-as-much-an
option-as-Python-Ruby-PHP-C#... I can't do this alone. But I am not
asking folks here to do what Dave is doing unless you want to.

I'm asking that you spread the word on this project/experiment for
me, and I'm also hoping anything recently blogged about that would
interest web developers would also make good articles if the authors
are willing to allow (possibly edited or shortened?) versions to
be posted on these forums.

I believe that anyone who thinks it's a good thing to bring Perl back
to the web developer's table (it should be there along with the other
options!) would find this a nice place to try it, as SitePoint forums
gets a non-trivial number of visits from people in various positions
in web development.

Also there are some whispers that, were Perl to get a decent amount of
attention/interest from forum-goers (I would only think this could happen
months after starting this project), that the company SitePoint itself
would indeed consider having Perl articles on their main article pages.
They haven't had these in about a decade, where the last articles I could
find were a review of Simon Cozens' book and something about setting up
very simple CGI and a form mail thing. Yikes.

I'm just  very open to ideas. Gabor is willing to start this, but we hope
to find others interested in joining and trying the same thing. I have
NO idea how or if this will work.  I have decided that if after several
months this is a dead end, I will kill the project and recommend SP
remove the Perl section from their forums. I believe the way it is now
is harmful to both the foums AND to Perl (well, Perl's reputation).

For now I'm keeping Perl6 out of things, but later if interest builds,
something could be done in that area as well, as an interest-piece for
experimentally-interested web devs.

(Stomme poes on sitepoint forums)

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