Posts in this category
- Current State of Exceptions in Rakudo and Perl 6
- Meet DBIish, a Perl 6 Database Interface
- doc.perl6.org and p6doc
- Exceptions Grant Report for May 2012
- Exceptions Grant Report -- Final update
- Perl 6 Hackathon in Oslo: Be Prepared!
- Localization for Exception Messages
- News in the Rakudo 2012.05 release
- News in the Rakudo 2012.06 release
- Perl 6 Hackathon in Oslo: Report From The First Day
- Perl 6 Hackathon in Oslo: Report From The Second Day
- Quo Vadis Perl?
- Rakudo Hack: Dynamic Export Lists
- SQLite support for DBIish
- Stop The Rewrites!
- Upcoming Perl 6 Hackathon in Oslo, Norway
- A small regex optimization for NQP and Rakudo
- Pattern Matching and Unpacking
- Rakudo's Abstract Syntax Tree
- The REPL trick
- First day at YAPC::Europe 2013 in Kiev
- YAPC Europe 2013 Day 2
- YAPC Europe 2013 Day 3
- A shiny perl6.org site
- Creating an entry point for newcomers
- An offer for software developers: free IRC logging
- Announcing try.rakudo.org, an interactive Perl 6 shell in your browser
- Another perl6.org iteration
- Blackjack and Perl 6
- Why I commit Crud to the Perl 6 Test Suite
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 5: Implement Str.trans
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 8: Implement $*ARGFILES for Rakudo
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 6: Improve Book markup
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 2: Fix up a test
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 9: Implement Hash.pick for Rakudo
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 11: Improve an error message for Hyper Operators
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 - Lottery Intermission
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 3: Write supporting code for the MAIN sub
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 1: A website for proto
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 4: Implement :samecase for .subst
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 10: Implement samespace for Rakudo
- This Week's Contribution to Perl 6 Week 7: Implement try.rakudo.org
- What is the "Cool" class in Perl 6?
- Report from the Perl 6 Hackathon in Copenhagen
- Custom operators in Rakudo
- A Perl 6 Date Module
- Defined Behaviour with Undefined Values
- Dissecting the "Starry obfu"
- The case for distributed version control systems
- Perl 6: Failing Softly with Unthrown Exceptions
- Perl 6 Compiler Feature Matrix
- The first Perl 6 module on CPAN
- A Foray into Perl 5 land
- Gabor: Keep going
- First Grant Report: Structured Error Messages
- Second Grant Report: Structured Error Messages
- Third Grant Report: Structured Error Messages
- Fourth Grant Report: Structured Error Messages
- Google Summer of Code Mentor Recap
- How core is core?
- How fast is Rakudo's "nom" branch?
- Building a Huffman Tree With Rakudo
- Immutable Sigils and Context
- Is Perl 6 really Perl?
- Mini-Challenge: Write Your Prisoner's Dilemma Strategy
- Longest Palindrome by Regex
- Perl 6: Lost in Wonderland
- Lots of momentum in the Perl 6 community
- Monetize Perl 6?
- Musings on Rakudo's spectest chart
- My first executable from Perl 6
- My first YAPC - YAPC::EU 2010 in Pisa
- Trying to implement new operators - failed
- Programming Languages Are Not Zero Sum
- Perl 6 notes from February 2011
- Notes from the YAPC::EU 2010 Rakudo hackathon
- Let's build an object
- Perl 6 is optimized for fun
- How to get a parse tree for a Perl 6 Program
- Pascal's Triangle in Perl 6
- Perl 6 in 2009
- Perl 6 in 2010
- Perl 6 in 2011 - A Retrospection
- Perl 6 ticket life cycle
- The Perl Survey and Perl 6
- The Perl 6 Advent Calendar
- Perl 6 Questions on Perlmonks
- Physical modeling with Math::Model and Perl 6
- How to Plot a Segment of a Circle with SVG
- Results from the Prisoner's Dilemma Challenge
- Protected Attributes Make No Sense
- Publicity for Perl 6
- PVC - Perl 6 Vocabulary Coach
- Fixing Rakudo Memory Leaks
- Rakudo architectural overview
- Rakudo Rocks
- Rakudo "star" announced
- My personal "I want a PONIE" wish list for Rakudo Star
- Rakudo's rough edges
- Rats and other pets
- The Real World Strikes Back - or why you shouldn't forbid stuff just because you think it's wrong
- Releasing Rakudo made easy
- Set Phasers to Stun!
- Starry Perl 6 obfu
- Recent Perl 6 Developments August 2008
- The State of Regex Modifiers in Rakudo
- Strings and Buffers
- Subroutines vs. Methods - Differences and Commonalities
- A SVG plotting adventure
- A Syntax Highlighter for Perl 6
- Test Suite Reorganization: How to move tests
- The Happiness of Design Convergence
- Thoughts on masak's Perl 6 Coding Contest
- The Three-Fold Function of the Smart Match Operator
- Perl 6 Tidings from September and October 2008
- Perl 6 Tidings for November 2008
- Perl 6 Tidings from December 2008
- Perl 6 Tidings from January 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from February 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from March 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from April 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from May 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from May 2009 (second iteration)
- Perl 6 Tidings from June 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from August 2009
- Perl 6 Tidings from October 2009
- Timeline for a syntax change in Perl 6
- Visualizing match trees
- Want to write shiny SVG graphics with Perl 6? Port Scruffy!
- We write a Perl 6 book for you
- When we reach 100% we did something wrong
- Where Rakudo Lives Now
- Why Rakudo needs NQP
- Why was the Perl 6 Advent Calendar such a Success?
- What you can write in Perl 6 today
- Why you don't need the Y combinator in Perl 6
- You are good enough!
Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Creating an entry point for newcomers
This is a direct reply to a blog post by VM Brasseur, telling about the difficulties to get started in the Perl 6 community. I started it as a comment on that blog, but it got too long pretty quickly.
The problem is known: far too many Perl 6 sites, far too many of which are out of date. I hoped to kill fire with fire by starting one more (which is perl6.org), and trying to make it easy and attractive to keep it up to date - by making it central, easy to contribute to, and by making it light on content and rich on links.
However being a "seasoned warrior" in the community, it is sometimes hard for me to assess what we have to present to the newcomer, and in what way.
I also like to keep in mind that Perl 6 has multiple implementations, and even a newcomer should have the choice. Being involved with some of the implementations I also feel it's unfair against the others to just point to one of them.
So, what would a newbie need? I'm guessing here, please do tell if you have different opinions.
- Introductory documents/tutorials
- A way to run a Perl 6 compiler to try it out
- Ways to contact the community
- A list of what needs to be done
- Further reading
The first one is maybe the toughest: frankly speaking, we don't have any. We have my 5-to-6 blog which I put up here in chronological form, but which assumes Perl 5 knowledge, and which talks about many features that Rakudo does not implement yet, and which mostly isn't practical. We have examples, but the rest is unorganized, out of date, or woefully incomplete. D'oh.
On the second point we're doing fairly well with a big download button - at least I hope we do.
We also advertise our IRC channel (which I consider the heart beat of Perl 6 development) and mailing lists, another score here.
The fourth point is a tough one again. Being a completely volunteer driven project, we are not used to handing out tasks. There is a huge variety of tasks that all have vastly different requirements in terms of interests, skills, time and commitment. The larger such a list becomes, the harder it becomes to maintain. And TODO lists are one of those things that go out of date rather quickly. Which is why I'd encourage newcomers to contact the community, tell about their interest and skills so that we can search for suitable tasks together.
However that's quite a hurdle for some people. I usually suggest to write tests and applications, which sometimes finds resonance. But any ideas how to perform better is greatly appreciated.
The last point, further reading, is mostly covered by the Synopsis/specification.
But all in all I think we need a better presentation, though I don't yet know how. Ideas?
Also somebody mentioned that our IRC channel is friendly, but still not very accessible to the newcomer, because we use lots of technical terms when talking among ourselves. That's something we can't really avoid, but it does scare off some people. So far we have tried to avoid splitting into many subchannels (with the possible exception of per-project dedicated channels), but maybe the time has come to fork off a newbie or users channel?
Anything else we can do right now to improve newcomer experience? And yes, we're working on improving introductory material. More on that next Friday.