Hello (Perl) World!

What an odd thing to write... I've been developing software in one way or another for about 30 years and Perl has been my primary language since around 1993. And yet I don't have a single CPAN module to my name and haven't really been involved in the community at all other than thanking the stars that it exists and produces such fantastic things.

So, I suppose, consider this my hello.

Interestingly, I find myself being pulled more and more strongly into the vortex because of my involvement as one of the core developers of Melody. As great as Movable Type has been (and as proud as I am that it's being used here on blogs.perl.org), it's a mess of years-on-years of internally-focused development. With Melody, we're trying to unwind the mess (without unwinding the features) so that we can continue to make it even better in a far more efficient and community-driven way.

The problem is all I seem to be doing is refactoring and fixing bugs from other people's refactoring. And as much as I was confident of my perl skills before I am now completely aware of my shortcomings. I've been looking for a place to talk about these things where people would understand and, perhaps, even be able to help.

So that's what you can expect from me here. I hope it's enjoyable or enlightening in some way for you readers. For me, it will probably be more catharsis than anything else. Sweet, perl catharsis...

9 Comments

That's great and I look forward to your postings. Who knows maybe it will inspire (me and others) to get involved. :-)

I am a Perl neophyte...for someone at my level what would be the best way to get involved?

Jay,

I was the same, I used Perl for a long time in industry but didn't really contrib or write cpan modules, etc. I think there's a bit of a learning curve to getting involved, although I do that that curve is a lot smaller today than in the past. There's more examples and of course more projects are following relatively open contribution models.

The best this is find a project you are interested in, ideally one that has an existing community, find the source (a lot of Perl projects are managed on Github now) and find something useful to do, such as work on documentation, add test cases etc.

Most Perl projects are organized on IRC now, so joining an active community like around Catalyst, DBIx::Class, Moose will get you more people that can help you get started.

The way I got started is that I wanted a feature added to DBIx::Class and when I talked about it on the mailing list, it became clear that if I was willing to put in the time to give it a go myself I'd probably get a bit of help :)

I probably contributed to existing projects for almost 2 years before I released my own CPAN module. When I do release my own code it tends to be stuff that builds upon existing, popular projects, just filling in gaps in the software ecosystem. There's a lot of value in working on existing stuff, or adopting important but unmaintained code. You'd get the most community thanks for doing that as well.

:-)

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About Jay Allen

user-pic Long-time perl and Movable Type developer. Former MT Product Manager at Six Apart. Co-founder and Board Member of the Open Melody Software Group (http://openmelody.org)