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Postings from September 2009
Re: Perl projects for beginners
From: Gabor Szabo
September 7, 2009 23:31
Re: Perl projects for beginners
Message ID: email@example.com
Thank you, all of you for your input!
I think you made very interesting and valuable points,
many of which I have not thought earlier.
Actually I was hoping to get the responses of beginners to understand
their POV but the input of the others was also interesting.
My objectives are two-fold.
1) understanding what can I do in the projects I am involved
to make it easier for beginners to get involved
2) get more beginners involved in those projects so they
start to contribute.
3) create a list of projects where beginners are especially
welcomed so the beginners have a way to learn more
4) let the beginners grow in these projects and make useful
(ok, that was 4)
While I understand that getting someone with minimal Perl knowledge
and minimal knowledge of the other things around might
be difficult to a project but I think enthusiastic beginners can also bring
a lot to the project. At least to some projects.
For the beginner, a steady process of mentoring can be a great way to
learn more. Also being part of an project that is already used by others
is a great feeling I think.
For the project, the first one or two beginners joining them might create
a lot of extra work. A lot of things and knowledge the core developer(s) take
granted need to be explained. As in many of the project the core developers
are usually more Linux/OSX people and the beginners will tend to be more
Windows people, one will have to go the extra miles and explain in terms
that make sense on windows. If done correctly and documents are generated
from these explanations then the second or third beginner will already
have all the info pointed out in a document or on a wiki.
There is a huge added value that a beginner can bring to a project though.
For one, the fact that s/he is not familiar with a lot of the assumptions
will require the documentation of the project better. A beginner, once s/he
understand a part of the project can describe it better for other beginners.
These people might be beginners in perl programming but they might have
a wealth of other experience the core developers don't have. So while they
are improving their perl coding their can use their other experience to
improve the overall value of the project.
Now I should shut up and point you to two projects in particular:
It is a fork from the LiveJournal code base and it is a
They are very welcoming to the beginners the drawback is that most of
their code is
old as it was inherited from LJ and it is in quite a bad shape. To put
a positive spin
to it, there are plenty of opportunities to learn from bad practices
and improve them
with the help of the people on the project.
In their development model for every change you create a patch, attach it
to a bug in their Bugzilla. Someone else in the project has to review
it and approve it
and only then can it be committed by one of the fee committers. This
makes the process
slow but it might be good for beginners as it gives plenty of opportunities to
discuss the changes. See http://www.dreamwidth.org/
I have started to contribute a week ago.
Padre, the Perl IDE
This is a development environment for Perl written in Perl.
We have not made so much preparations for accepting beginners
to the project as the people at DW did but recently we have started
to move in that direction too. I - as the one who started the project -
would be happy to see more beginners try out Padre both for
learning Perl and joining the project. I am sure we, who are already part of
the project will have to learn a lot on how to make it easier for newbies
to get involved but I think this is actually critical to the success
of the project.
After all we want to make Padre the "Best thing on Earth for Perl development".
If you are interested in the project, the home page is at
If you have any questions, I'd be glad to try to answer.