The London Perl Workshop is in two weeks time. Have you registered yet? There are apparently 200 people signed up already.
I’m going to be there giving a training course in the morning. It’s called Modern Core Perl and it will introduce many of the new features that have been added to the Perl core since version 5.10.
The course is ninety minutes long and attendance is completely free (as it is for all of the workshop). I was planning to write a post encouraging people to sign-up for the course, but it seems that will be unnecessary. I already have twenty people signed up and until I know for sure how big the room is I’ve had to declare the class full as I don’t want to run the risk of people signing up and not being able to fit into the room.
Unfortunately, though, the workshop web site doesn’t really have the concept of signing up for courses. So it’s impossible to actually stop more people signing up for the course. In fact, two more people have signed up since I edited the description to say the course was full.
I hope that the room will be large enough to allow us to let a few more people in on the day, but we will be strict on not overcrowding the room.
I apologise in advance if you want to come to the course but can’t get in. Perhaps you’ll consider Ian’s course instead. Or there will be three or four tracks of other talks going on at the same time.
Google Reader just showed me Mithaldu’s blog post about the falling level of Google searches for the term “perl tutorial“. The fall is, of course, more than a little worrying and we should do what we can to get more people searching for Perl. But I wondered what results Google is currently returning for this search. It’s not a pretty sight.
The first two results are for Nik Silver’s Perl tutorial from about twenty years ago. I know Nik and I know that he would be horrified to think that people were trying to learn Perl from this site. Nik has been responsible and left a clear notice at the top of the page stating how out of date it is and I understand him wanting to leave the page there for historical interest. But I still see questions on places like Stack Overflow from people who are obviously using this tutorial.
The next link is to a site at perltutorial.org. That sounds encouraging, but it’s a rather pedestrian affair teaching dated and simplistic Perl and written by someone whose first language clearly isn’t English.
The next result is to tiztag.com. It’s about as good as you’d expect from a site that insists on calling the language “PERL”.
Next, we finally get to something worth using. It’s a link to the free online version of Simon Cozens’ book Beginning Perl. That’s good – but it’s still a little dated.
Next we get to Robert’s Perl Tutorial. Which proudly boasts it was last updated on 20th April 1999. That’ll be up to date then.
The next result is BradleyKuhn’s book Picking Up Perl. This was an attempt to produce an open source Perl tutorial book. It was a worthwhile project, but it was last updated in 2002.
The next result is one that finally links to perl.com. It’s an article by Doug Sheppard called Beginner’s Introduction to Perl. I bet it was great when it was first published in October 2000.
Towards the bottom of the list there are two links to Gabor’s recent (current?) Perl tutorial series. These are probably the only links on the list that we should be sharing with people wanting to learn Perl.
Finally, there’s the NCSA Perl Tutorial. At least this page has realised that it is out of date and has closed down. Unfortunately the alternative sites that it suggests are of variable quality.
So there it is. The first page of results is of rather variable quality. There’s some great stuff there, some good but dated stuff and some dreadful stuff. But I’m sure there are better Perl tutorials out there. It would be great if the first link returned by Google was to learn.perl.org. But what other sites should be on the list? What good Perl tutorial resources do you know of?
Have I just given all those dreadful sites a healthy boost of Googlejuice by linking to them?
Often on sites like StackOverflow you’ll see questions that people could have answered for themselves if they had just searched the right web sites (usually perldoc or CPAN). But instead, they just went straight for Google and ended up with some dodgy, out of date information that just left them confused.
In order to get round that, I’ve created a Google Custom Search Engine which searches known Perl web sites. You can try it out here.
If you want to use this search engine on your site, the code is below.
Following the second of those articles I got into a discussion with Graham Morrison, the editor of the magazine and he offered me the opportunity to improve matters by writing my own short series of tutorials for them.
The first of those tutorials appears in issue 151 of the magazine which will be appearing in UK newsagents about now.
The series is called “Modern Perl” (in an attempt to distance it from their earlier tutorials) and the first article is about how easy it is to write a database application using DBIx::Class. The second article will take the same database and build it into a simple web application using Dancer. That will hopefully be in issue 153 (skipping an issue). There will probably be a third article in the series which will add features to the web application.
I’ll find out what my rights are to the articles and hopefully I’ll be able to put them on the web at some point in the future.
If you see a copy in your newsagents then please consider picking it up. And if you enjoy the article, then please let the magazine know.