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wxPerl past, wxPerl present and wxPerl future.

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Steve Cookson
December 31, 2012 15:45
wxPerl past, wxPerl present and wxPerl future.
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Hi Guys,

I've been using wxPerl as my main development tool for the last 4 years.

During that time my partners and I have developed a medical system for
endoscopic examinations.  We are currently testing it here in Brazil
in the largest hospital in Central and South America.  We have high
hopes and Doctors here are quite enthusiastic about it.

During this time WxPerl has been a great tool.  Not only it is a
comprehensive tool in its own right, but also it allows access to all
the thousands of modules available on cpan, the various support forums
like Perl Monks and the extensive Perl community out there like Perl
Mongers and YAPC.

But I don't see that the wxPerl community is expanding.  I'd like to
see more new users asking silly questions and learning about the
possibilities of using wxPerl for their own ends.

The world of technology is changing fast.  New devices, new languages
and new tool-kits are being developed such as Android, qt, java and
objective-c, but none of these is obviously the "killer app" of
development tools.  Qt seems to be a nice tool, but it's probably not
so different from wxPerl, objective-c is too platform-specific and
java imposes too much of a performance overhead.  As an aside did you
know that VLC, the open-source video player, was originally built in
wxWidgets?  Sadly it then migrated to Qt.

In the light of this competition wxWidgets is beginning to position
itself as a desktop development system rather than a true
cross-platform tool, which seems to me to be an act of retrenchment.

Given all of this, I think wxPerl is still a good choice for a new
system.  I'd like to open a discussion here on how we might breath new
life into wxPerl and our user base.

I have some ideas and I'm sure you must do too.  Given an opportunity
people are quite excited about the idea of contributing to wxPerl:
there was a lot of cooperative development over adding wxPdfDocument
to wxPerl and it's a great new feature, you should try it if you
haven't already.

During the development of our system, my partners and I have had to
use number of different technologies and support forums.  Many of
these are c++ based but still have ten times the subscription rate of
wxPerl (which in my view is a much easier-to-use tool).

As an example from my own area of interest, video processing,
GStreamer has a huge number of users, this month alone Gstreamer-devel
one of Gstreamer's 8 eight support lists, has had nearly 500 messages
compared to under 40 in wxPerl.  If we could persuade a small number
of these that developing in wxPerl was easier than c++, we could
double our numbers.  But the relevant module, wxMediaCtrl, is not
flexible enough, we'd have to fix that first.  Ffmpeg, a competitor to
Gstreamer has a similar number of posts.  And I haven't even
considered Avconv, a new branch of Ffmpeg.

And there are other technologies, within database technologies
Firebird again has 10 times the users of wxPerl but until recently
there was no good driver available on the Linux/Perl platform.  And
what about voice recognition?

Remember how bioinformatics and the human genome project breathed new
life into the Perl user base.  A winning applications area can
transform a technology.

Mark has done a heroic act of maintaining the system and I personally
owe him a huge debt of gratitude.  Our system would not be where it is
today without his support.  But we should have two or three
administrators of Mark's ability and knowledge (and patience, I should
add).  We are all a bit shy about giving Mark the credit he deserves.
I'd like to say here and now, that Mark's professionalism and
thoroughness is a benchmark that I should like to aspire to.

Let's make 2013 the year that we double or treble our user base.  What
are your ideas?

Happy New Year everyone.



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