October 2010 Archives

Frozen Perl 2011

Planning is underway, and we are now at the phase where we are looking for sponsors. 

If you are interested, or have potential sponsors that we should contact, please comment here, and I will get back to you.

Tools every Perl developer should use.

There are a few tools that everyone from beginner on up should use.
This list starts from the most basic, and moves onto more advanced concepts, but these 

  1. An IDE or at the very least a text editor that is intended for programmers (duh!) Notepad.exe is not a good programmers editor. If it doesn't tell you what line number you are on, you MUST switch.
  2. perltidy -- lets face it, everyone will like reading your code if you use this. Including you. It is customizable to match your needs.
  3. perlcritic -- It can be painful to apply to a codebase already installed, but if you use it as you learn, it is much less painful to roll out later. For existing codebases, there is Test-Perl-Critic-Progressive on the CPAN
  4. the CPAN -- The puzzle pieces of your problem has probably already been approached in perl, and unless its a weird edge case, there is something out there to help you.  
    • Template toolkit or another templating tool. -- separating your display logic from your application logic from the start is a very good thing (tm). TT works for all text output destinations (screen, HTML, csv), and therefore is an ideal choice for most outputs. It also makes translation of you application  much easier to manage. If you handle this layer properly, reformatting your application to work on a smaller screen size, suddenly becomes much easier.
    • some type of DBI abstraction layer  (DBIx::Class). In the same way you abstract out your display, you will want to abstract out your database calls.
    • An application Framework. For the Web there is Catalyst, Cgi::Application/Titanium, and many others. I primarily develop for the web, so I cannot think of others but they are out there and you should use them. pick a framework that is appropriate, use it.
  5. Version control. cvs, svn, git, Mercurial, Bazzar, Fossil. -- It doesn't matter much what youuse, but If you are not using one, then you are heading for troubles.
  6. Perlmonks and other more knowledgeable programmers. Lets face it, There will always be someone smarter than you. Ask them questions when you are stuck! I'll be honest, and say I don't spend much time on perlmonks, but I do ask for help when I get stuck, and that's what really matters.
I'm sure there are more, but you get the point, If I missed something, please add it to the comments below.

Vi vs. Emacs

After many people flaming me and telling me that vi is better, etc etc, blah, blah, blah, I have finally come to my final resting place on the vi vs emacs debate. 

The problem is simple: consistency

No, not consistency there. Not there either. Think simple.

Emacs is consistent with every text entry method I have used except vi.

Almost every text entry system uses the same type of interface, with very few exceptions:
1. You move your cursor
2. You type
3. You move your cursor.

Think about it, the text box that you will reply and flame me with, is it closer to vi or emacs?
Microsoft word, bash, Eudora preferences text fields, dos games that are 20 years old, the google search bar, IE's URL bar, Renaming a file, and just about everything else you can think of where text needs to be edited, the three steps are true.

Now, is emacs a huge bloated piece of software? Yes. Is that a good enough reason to not install it? Sure, if you are the only one to use it, or if resources are really tight. Does emacs *need* a browser built in? Absolutely not. 

To vi's credit, it is small and fast for those who have gotten past the fumbling.It is installed on nearly every unix/linux available, so if youlike vi, it will always be available to use, but it doesn't need to be complicated just to be 1337, and honestly, thats what it feels like when people bash me for not using it. "You're not good enough to learn vi, so stfu". You know what? That is the same attitude that turns people away from technology, weather it is Linux, computers, or product X. Your job as a computer <fill in the blank> is to realize that not everyone else needs to know everything you do, and that can start with the editor.

SO, when I open a file in emacs, I can use my arrow keys, and start typing, and then use the arrow keys again.

Just like everything else I have ever used on a computer. That is, except vi.

<edit>I suppose this is more "why I don't like vi" instead of "vi vs emacs"</edit>


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After maintaining this blog for 15 months, I missed a week. Not just late, or later than I would have liked, I missed a whole week, as in "I forgot". Oh well, if MST had the badges working for more than three months it might have even mattered to someone besides me.

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