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RE: Perl projects for beginners

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Bob McConnell
September 8, 2009 06:03
RE: Perl projects for beginners
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From: Raymond Wan
> I didn't think my comments would have piqued your interest so much.
>   Well, we're off-topic from Perl, but let me add just the following:
> fudmer rieley wrote:
>> The need is for a problem book with real explained answers [producing
>> such a problem book  would be a massive undertaking]. Such a
>> questions and answers server project would advance programming, and
>> it would probably extend the need for books of all types of computer
>> knowledge. the idea would  advance programmer knowledge base. Each
> I somewhat wrote my comments with one particular book in mind:
> Though I'm sure there are many others out there.  I think you can
> the pages on Amazon.
> There are of course two other questions.  How would such a book differ

> from (say) the Perl Cookbook?  And how can such a book work with 
> something like the ACM Programming Contest?
>> Teaching like this needs to become open source and be available for
>> no charge and it needs to be created by those who are still learning.
>> The knowledge involved in Instructional design is a Phd in and of its
>> self.
> I have to admit that I'm in support of open source, but I think there 
> are limits to it.  An excellent (IMHO) example is Wikipedia.  It's
> and I do use it often; but there are certain topics which I would not 
> rely on.  The quality control is good in some cases but very poor in
> Likewise, a resource that is as open as you say is no different from 
> (say) a blog by Perl experts.  In other words, what is the difference 
> between an O'Reilly book on Perl and a blog by the same authors?  The 
> people who wrote it are the same, but the publisher adds quality 
> checking, support for authors in standardizing, etc.  Also, I think an

> author would put more care into something that is going "in print" [on

> paper or on-line] than something that is going into a blog.

Jeesh, I go away for a long weekend and miss a significant conversation.

I believe this whole mess boils down to a rather simple question. "How
do you capture and distribute tacit knowledge?". This has been cussed
and discussed many times over the years. It is an issue even within a
business setting, where the concern is managing product knowledge over
the long term when the primary storage devices walk out the door every
afternoon and occasionally don't come back the next day if at all.

I am not aware of any real solutions, although the wide range of
experiments in recent years have resulted in various knowledge bases,
CRM packages, wikis and other constructs devised to encourage people to
record and share the practical knowledge they have acquired. Mailing
lists like this, online discussion forums, CPAN, SourcForge, Usenet and
even bulletin boards were attempts to improve the collection process.
They still suffer from a lack of effective organization and/or indexing.

Books, correspondence courses (CBT), schools and other formal packages
are the historic method, but they can't efficiently capture the
experience people get when they actually go out and practice what they
have learned. Before that there were trade guilds with their apprentice
and journeyman programs. But many of their secrets were lost over time
because the knowledge transfers from master to apprentice were not
always complete for a variety of reasons.

There may be a way to do it efficiently short of a viable neural
interface, but so far no silver bullets have been found. Perhaps a few
more experiments are in order. Has anyone tried to imagine a "World of
PerlCraft" game.

Bob McConnell

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