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Fwd: Perl projects for beginners

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From:
Erez Schatz
Date:
September 7, 2009 02:14
Subject:
Fwd: Perl projects for beginners
Message ID:
e7f13a450909070213j1f6aea38x9ae47011504587ee@mail.gmail.com
Accidentally sent to Gabor, rather to the list:

2009/9/7 Gabor Szabo <szabgab@gmail.com>:
> Hi,
>
> 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 think it all boils down to clear, simple guides on the following matters:

one, how to do: The developer usually access the home page, looks
around for a while until they find the "developers" link, which
usually leads to the source-control server, which shows the code. This
is usually first point of departure.

Never assume people know how to use svn, git, etc. Show, not tell. A
graphic, detailed guide will do wonders ("for Windows, click here to
download and install tortoisesvn, then do a, b, c, to create a
repository, etc. etc. for Linux, do this and that).

two, what to do: The developer got the source code, and managed to run
the application. Now what? This is second point of departure.

Give a clear and simple guide on what you need, ("we are looking for
expanding the UI, which is defined on APP::GUI... We look for
translators, here's what you need to do..."). Project goals are good,
but there's a lot of space between "We want to create an application
that does X" and "we need the web-code cleaned up". A simple tutorial
would do wonders, show how a bug was identified, tracked down, fixed
and submitted.

three, who to ask: goes without saying, but most times the people who
frequent #yourApp, mail.yourapp.com, and wiki.yourapp.net tend to
assume a given level ("you can get the latest build from CPAN, then do
perldoc yourApp, you need to merge your diff with the trunk...")

four, decide if you really want to make a project "beginner-friendly"
and accepting what this entitles:
Are you willing to sacrifice a lot of time better spent on
development, bug-fixing, release readying etc. on writing long,
elaborate manuals, tutorials, guides? Are you willing to hold user
hands while you explain the fine arts of subjects like moduls, tests,
etc.? Do you look for newcomers to Perl, or to programming at large?
Are you sure you want to be rummaging through patches that need more
work before they can even be considered?
The biggest issue, is not to make the project beginner-friendly, is
what to do once those beginners start arriving.


-- 
Erez

"The government forgets that George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, and
not a blueprint"
http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/ -- http://www.whyweprotest.org/

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