Perl in a Developing Country
Perl has played an immense role in developing the computing and information technology world we see today. Even if most of the good work done by the language and it's legion of loyal users and developers have been done in a relatively stealthy mode. Due to it's freedom, versatility and ease of use among other notable attributes, it has been embraced by a large community of developers resulting in a mature and stable language fit for just about any programming task.
In today's world however, there is a great "digital divide" between the information infrastructure of the World's developed economies and the developing ones. And with the developing world doing it's best to catch up, the marketing strategies of bigger well-funded software companies makes for uneven competition for such free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) technologies to be adopted.
There are however good signs for FLOSS technologies. Stories like this in Brazil give encouraging signs for Perl in a developing economy. I won't go deep into the benefits of FLOSS as this topic is well covered. Articles like this one in the Linux Journal tell of the economic, educational and social gains FLOSS provides for developing countries.
But what about Perl in particular? Well, here's the thing, because developing countries are catching up in computing and IT, there is a lot of potential for Perl to play a key role in this transition. As more and more of these countries are migrating their information to electronic form, there will be an increasing need for tools like Perl. The only thing would be the education needed for individuals to firstly be aware of such tools and then to use them in doing their part in developing their economy.
Being a Perl hacker from a developing country, I think the potential is great and I've seen a few examples of Perl working it's usual magic within an economic constraint. I believe this something worth tapping into and I want to do my part in pushing the good news of Perl in a developing country like mine.
As a first blog post I wanted to share my background and motivations for pursuing an interest in Perl. Following posts will have more code and be more in line with Perl programming. For a post-graduate degree in University, I developed a prototype minimalist student information exchange system for lecturers and decision makers at my university using Linux, Perl, Ajax and SQLite. I utilised modules from CPAN such as Catalyst::Devel, DBIc::Class and Catalyst::Plugin::AutoCRUD among others. My next few posts will document the development of that project. It was very helpful to have a willing community that provided useful answers to many questions I had. I hope someone will find these posts useful.