March 2010 Archives

No Bad Code

I am not using Perl at work. I don't know when I will next get a job that gives me the opportunity to use Perl. That's too bad, because I really enjoy working with good Perl code. Notice that I specified good Perl. Unfortunately, a lot of the legacy code that I've seen is bad - painfully bad, even. There's no point in blaming anyone. Bad code happens. We get in a hurry, we push out a quick hack. Maybe we try some clever trick in a production project before we truly understand the ramifications of that trick. Plenty of bad code has come from my own overstressed brain.

Maybe it's unfair to call it "bad code." It was a result of stress, enthusiasm, or simple ignorance. When I have an outlet for all that energy, my code improves. It shines. It doesn't piddle all over the carpet.

coolnamehere has occasionally served as that outlet, but over the years it has gelled into a tutorial site. It has a specific audience: novice developers who are curious but nervous. It has served that audience well, based on the feedback I get. However, this focus has a cost. Whenever I'm writing something new for coolnamehere, I have to think about my audience. I need to decide if the material is appropriate for them, and figure out ways of presenting it which sweep complexities under the carpet. My own coding skills have atrophied a little as a result. My Perl coding skills have dropped significantly, because I am confident that the best writing about Perl has been written already, or is being written by people much more skillful than myself at both coding and writing.

So here I am. A geek - largely a Perl geek - who has not written more than a few lines of Perl code in a couple of years. What to do?

That is why I signed up for this blog. This will be my outlet to play with big Perl projects with big frameworks, little Perl tasks, and sideways Perl exploration. It will have no focus beyond Perl. Wait. That's a bit of a lie, because "Perl" includes Perl 5, Parrot, Rakudo, and much more. It could even include environment optimizations to make my life as a Perl/Parrot/etc. geek simpler. I'll write about those. Maybe if I can rattle the bits of a few blog entries together, I can come up with more tutorial material for the Perl and Parrot pages at coolnamehere.

Why here rather than continuing on at Blogspot? It boils down to the community. I have always found the Perl community to be especially supportive and encouraging. SPUG and PerlMonks are great groups to associate with, even if I mostly just lurk. I have a strong suspicion that the Perl Blogs will be a welcome extension to that community.

Well, I need to get busy with not-Perl stuff at $work. But at least I have a clear idea why I signed up here, and what I plan to do with this blog in my copious free time. I'm gonna do Perl stuff, write about it, and not worry about whether it would make a good tutorial.

Because I haven't neglected enough blogs

I've been thinking that a code journal of some kind would be nice. You know, the stuff that doesn't matter enough to spend days agonizing over whether I'm being too advanced or too simplistic. My other blog is okay, but I like the MT interface.

Why I realize it may not be cool to say in some crowds, but I like Perl, Parrot, and Rakudo. This site seems like an excellent place to write about writing in those environments.

So, we'll see what happens.

About Brian Wisti

user-pic I’m a geek in Seattle. I write code. I enjoy writing about code, regardless of whether anyone else reads it. I also knit.