$30 off During Our Annual Pro Sale. View Details »

How to bring newbies to perl?

How to bring newbies to perl?


June 08, 2015

More Decks by Upasana

Other Decks in Programming


  1. Introduction

    I'm Upasana
    – Working at booking.com
    – Contribute to some FOSS projects

    Contact me:
    [email protected]
    – upasana on irc.perl.org & irc.freenode.net

    View Slide

  2. The culprit!

    View Slide

  3. What I am going to present

    Perl is short of newbies
    – Is it true?
    – Why?
    – how can we bring more newbies to Perl?

    View Slide

  4. Disclaimer

    While preparing for this talk, I was short of content.

    I asked at various places for people's opinions on this

    I got a very good response from everywhere.

    So, opinions could be of my friends, family, colleagues or
    may be of some internet trolls.

    View Slide

  5. Who's a newbie?

    Someone doing perl programming for 3 or less than 3

    View Slide

  6. What made me think of it?

    I've plenty of friends in the perl community
    – Of various age groups.
    – Of various experience levels.
    – But most of them have been doing perl for more than
    3 years

    View Slide

  7. What made me think of it?

    I came across this repository of implementation of
    various algorithms in various languages
    – https://github.com/kennyledet/Algorithm-Implementations

    But Perl was missing! :(

    View Slide

  8. What made me think of it?

    A friend shared this
    – http://raftconsensus.github.io/
    – Raft is a consensus algorithm for fault-tolerant
    distributed systems.

    He also shared the fact that Perl is missing there.

    I didn't know about it until he told me :(.

    View Slide

  9. Perl is short of newbies

    When I told this to people, some of them asked me for

    So, I asked some Perl trainers for statistics.

    Sadly, I can't present the raw data due to privacy issues.

    I extracted statistical trends from that data.

    View Slide

  10. Statistics
    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
    Number of peope attended the course

    View Slide

  11. Why people left Perl!

    Bad reputation of older perl language
    – Web development was a pain


    View Slide

  12. No easy way of doing OOP

    View Slide

  13. Why people left perl!

    Documentation & syntax are difficult to understand as
    compared to other languages.

    Bad reputation of perl community in past.

    View Slide

  14. Why people left perl!

    As a result of last two points
    – People who learnt Perl 10 years ago, moved towards
    other languages(python, ruby) in past.
    – They never came back!

    View Slide

  15. But now, it has changed

    For web development
    – Catalyst.
    – Mojolicious, Dancer, AMON.

    View Slide

  16. But now, it has changed!

    For OOP
    – Moose, Moo, p5-mop.
    – And yes, p5-mop may go into perl core in future.

    View Slide


    View Slide

  18. Our good things

    View Slide

  19. Our good things

    Great support for text-processing


    Request Tracker


    View Slide

  20. Our good things

    CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network)

    Friendly & helpful community.

    View Slide

  21. Our good things

    Multi-purpose language
    – Web development
    – System administration
    – Desktop applications

    View Slide

  22. But we've some bad[1] things as well
    [1] they were awesome when they were invented, but not anymore

    View Slide

  23. Our bad things

    Good CMS
    – blogs.perl.org is a good example of it

    View Slide

  24. Our bad things

    Our website
    – No success stories
    – Really old look
    – No REPL

    View Slide

  25. Uncategorized perly traits

    TIMTOWTDI (There Is More Than One Way To Do It).
    – It confuses people

    View Slide

  26. Uncategorized perly traits

    Perl one liners.
    – Everything in one line, seriously?
    – Not a clean language?
    – http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?PerlGolf

    View Slide

  27. Why there're less newbies!

    Less Massive Open Online Courses for Perl
    – Only Udemy & Alison have Perl courses
    – Udacity, CourseEra have courses on Python, Ruby &
    Scala etc.

    View Slide

  28. Why there're less newbies!

    Less participation in internship programs
    – Perl participated twice in Google Summer of Code.
    – Perl participated four times in GNOME's Outreach
    Program for Women.
    – But we should probably have more of them.

    View Slide

  29. Why there're less newbies!

    Companies do not want to train new people
    – Well! This is a rather general fact, which applies to all
    – Our company i.e. Booking.com does train new
    people :)

    View Slide

  30. & we are hiring
    (not only perl developers :)

    View Slide

  31. Why there're less newbies!

    We may not have not marketed well.

    People's interests are market driven
    – Python, PHP, Ruby,... are more popular than Perl in
    – Newbies tend to learn those languages instead of

    View Slide

  32. Why there're less newbies!

    No university teaches perl, they prefer python, SICP,...
    – Atleast, I've not seen any!

    View Slide

  33. Why there're less newbies!

    Less good examples to convince people to use the

    View Slide

  34. Perl events

    – Started as a Perl conference :)
    – Now, Wikipedia says that “the amount of Perl content
    has continued to decline year over year”.

    Yet Another Perl Conference (YAPCs)


    Various PM meetups & workshops.

    View Slide

  35. Perl newbies at Perl events

    Some people who organize & attend Perl conferences
    – We see quite a few newbies every year.
    – But we see most of them only once.
    – We don't have a problem attracting newbies. Our
    problem is with keeping the newbies.

    View Slide

  36. Why newbies go to perl conferences only once!

    They may not understand the content of talks!
    – It's very much possible that content of talks is very

    They may not like the community!

    I don't get any other reason(s) :(

    View Slide

  37. Want newbies in Perl conferences every year!

    Try to make your talks beginner friendly.

    Be friendly with newbies :).

    View Slide

  38. How can we bring more newbies to Perl

    By introducing Perl in various MOOCs.

    By organizing internship programs like Google Summer Of
    Code & GNOME's Outreach Program frequently.

    By talking about Perl at non-perl events
    – Tell them about advantages of Perl over other languages.
    – Tell them that Perl is not horrible at all.

    CPAN authors
    – Please document your modules in a newbie friendly

    View Slide

  39. How can we bring more newbies to Perl

    By writing concise Perl tutorials
    – e.g. Tutorials on perlmaven.com

    By making newbies to stop following old Perl books
    – learn.perl.org still suggests a book written in 2000

    View Slide

  40. If you're a newbie & want to start with perl

    Start with any of these books
    – Beginning Perl by Curtis Ovid Poe
    – Modern Perl by Chromatic

    If you want to stay up to date with latest perl happenings
    – blogs.perl.org

    Many perl programmers post there.
    – Subscribe to Perl Weekly

    View Slide

  41. If you're a newbie (or may be
    even if you're not a newbie)

    View Slide

  42. View Slide

  43. View Slide

  44. Thanks to

    People who shared their opinions with me, a very long

    Two perl trainers who shared statistics of their perl

    Chris Prather for reviewing initial versions of talk slides.

    View Slide

  45. Thanks for your time!

    View Slide

  46. Questions?

    View Slide