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 Nik has been responsible and left a clear notice at the top of the page stating how out of date it is and I understand him wanting to leave the page there for historical interest.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 At least this page has realised that it is out of date and has closed down.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?
Of course you’ve just given all the bad examples a dose of googlejuice by linking to them here, since google can’t tell you meant them as negative examples. How about turning the links into plain text in this article instead?
I’ve just added rel=”nofollow” to all the dodgy links. That should stem the flow of Googlejuice.
They’ve got nofollow set.
Or stick rel=nofollow on them.
Just beat you to it 🙂
learn.perl.org might get more hits if the page contained the word “tutorial”
To a first order of approximation, any tutorial that calls the language “PERL” is probably best ignored. However, on taking a quick look at this one it does seem to be a little better than some of the examples above.
Oh thanks for your support.
This means I’ll have to restart publishing the further entries of that tutorial.
Everyone else: It would be awesome if you could link to that page with the anchor text “Perl tutorial” or “Perl tutorial series”.
I Google+-ed all the useful tutorial links in question. Have fun 🙂
Oh that’s another terrific suggestion. Go through the first 3-5 pages of results and Google+ the ones you think are good. After a while they will probably move up. At least in Google.
This is exactly why I built hackr.io