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Re: Perl projects for beginners

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Philip Potter
September 7, 2009 01:52
Re: Perl projects for beginners
Message ID:
2009/9/7 Gabor Szabo <>:
> Hi,
> in a blog post
> I recently asked how to make a project beginner friendly.
> The best answer I got was to ask the beginners. Clever :-)
> So let me ask it on this list.
> As I think think the best way to learn Perl is tor practice a lot
> and the best place to practice is an open source project I wonder
> how can open source project become more beginner friendly?
> Many projects assume a lot of background already that beginners
> might not yet have. What things would beginners need in order to
> get involved in a project?

I'm not sure I understand you correctly. Is the purpose of the project
to educate newbies, or to produce something of good quality? I feel
these are conflicting objectives.

Nevertheless, in order to get involved with an open source project,
you need to learn a lot about things external to the Perl language
itself: about testing, design, division of labour, source code
management systems, frequent updates, and so on. I would guess you
need to make all of this easy for the newbie (and easy to *get right*)
in order to get them involved. To get newbies from a lot of different
backgrounds and OSes all set up with SVN or git or whatever won't be
easy. To further get them educated about the importance of branches
and tags and suchlike rather than just folding all changes directly
into the trunk will be worse.

I guess the question then becomes: what level of beginner are you
talking about? They should surely already be familiar with the
language, up to and including packages, modules, OO principles, CPAN,
and so on. They probably also need to be familiar with source
management systems and writing and running tests at the point when
they make their first real contribution to a project. At this point,
I'm not sure they can still be described as beginners...


"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my
telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out
how to use my telephone."
  --Bjarne Stroustrup

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