Why Perl Needs Screencasts

gorilla_small.pngAfter our recent launch of a free perl hosting for dancer and other frameworks (feel free to try it out at http://1.ai or see it live in this retro page at http://hulk.1.ai/perl) I was thinking on how programmers choose one or another language to create web apps. I am not talking just about more experienced programmers that would certainly stick with what they know already - but beginners, students, the new geeks.

In the webspace PHP is the king mostly due to the easy deployment and wide availability. Ruby had a large increase in interest with rails around 2007 and is still interesting today with many new frameworks like Sinatra. Python seems to be very interesting to many. Why is Perl not as popular among starters ? I think perl is missing simple tools to attract more budding web developers. Screencasts are one of these tools: we tend to learn more visually and it is very easy to get up and running by just reviewing a screencast and repeating the same steps locally.

I think some perl frameworks like dancer make it really easy to deploy your web apps. As easy as in any other language yet with all the great tools that perl has to offer like the wide availability of cpan modules.

There is a lot of good documentation for dancer and other frameworks but screencasts could make a real difference. Do you remember much of the hype and popularity that surrounded the first rail screencast - your blog in 10 minutes? Of course much of the magic was actually not as magic but to many young developers it was an incentive to try and get started.

I appreciate that perl and other programming languages might not need to be widely popular on the web - hence I do expect some comments on how much perl does already outside the web and why perl should not try to catch up with the web world - but why not ?

Why can't it be as easy to deploy a perl application as it is for a php one ? Plack::Handler::Apache2 makes it very easy and we now offer it in one of the few (if not the only one) no ads, no upgrades free web hosting.

How about learning perl ? Thanks to some wonderful books like modern perl it shouldn't be harder than learning any other language (note here: it is not obvious how to stay away from the various old tutorials available on the web so this might be an issue).

But now back to the screencasts. One of the difficulties is that producing a decent screencast takes longer than simply writing some sample code. So here is my offer. If you are willing to do some screencasts for dancer (I am just mentioning dancer as it is the framework I used to test our service but more might be available. I know that mojolicious has already some good screencasts thou) I am willing to sponsor your perl screencast and pay for it .

So if you have the experience, the voice and are interested in doing screencast using perl for the web but never had the motivation/time/
I am willing to pay for your time for "perl for the web screencasts"
.

This is a serious offer so if you are looking for some extra revenue while helping the community just email me at dotgeek at 1 dot ai with some information about yourself and your feedback.

What do you think about this? Are screencasts a useful tool to drive more web developers to perl ? feel free to comment.

11 Comments

I'm building a small TODO style application for a demo at work. I'd be interested in doing a screen cast. I'll message you

I agree on the screencasts point - but more than just screencasts, a full production-quality product is necessary to win hearts.

I'm the author of the Mojocasts; a sponsor is all that's needed to produce more on a consistent basis. I don't know your contact information, but hit me up on IRC to talk further. My contact information is also on CPAN. (same nick: tempire)

Mojocasts are very cool.

As cool as Mojocasts are (and they definitely are), what you wrote implies that Dancer (or other frameworks) are not full production-quality products - but they are.

As for the blog post, I completely agree and it's incredible you're offering to help sponsor such work! I'm definitely in.

My usage of "production-quality product", as quirky as that phrase is, refers to the presentation of the Mojocasts as a product (accessibility, ease of consumption, discoverability, etc), not their subject matter.

In that case my response is you're not just right about the general concept, but that the Mojocasts are a good example of that principle.

Excuse my previous statement.

I'd be interested in doing screencasts for catalyst. I don't know how to use dancer. Is that an option?

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