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The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book

by BigAl (Scribe)
on Jan 08, 2002 at 05:01 UTC ( #137016=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Herein lies my quest: I'm sure O'Reilly or someone has thought of this (or something similar). I'm just curious who. I really want this book.

Perl 6 Primer

Part one is written for people who are learning Perl for the first time on 6. Basically it's something I could use on my intro to Perl students. It could even be useful for experienced programmers in the context of "pretend for a moment that Perl 6 is a totally new language".

Part two is for people who already know Perl and want a quick jump start/reference on the changes. This is for my co-workers, people who have taken the intro perl class 4 times, even for myself if it had a couple of quick ref "comparative syntax" pages and a "checklist to remember while translating Perl 5 to Perl 6".

It's a shortish book, under "Perl in a Nutshell" and over the "Perl 5 Pocket Reference". I want it to be short enough that I don't get the usual "I'll never get through that!" groans. It should be unintimidating but informative. The Apocalypses and Exegeses are a bit much for the average Perl user (i.e. not people on this site, but people in an intro class, in a LUG, at a tech con...). The thing that bothers me is that I seem to encounter more fear and disbelief than enthusiasm whenever I get in a conversation about Perl 6. I know llama and camel will be revised, but I also want something I can point people to and say, "No, Perl 6 is really cool. Go buy this book, it's only $15, and it will get you up to speed quickly".

If possible, the book would be released a few months before the full production version of Perl 6, with a revision released on a fairly short schedule to catch up with all the changes that are sure to happen in the first months. I figure whoever's working on it is starting about now so it has time to work its way through the publishing process.

Has anyone heard of such a creature, or rumors of such a creature?

--
"You can do things that change everything without changing anything." -- Brian Ingerson on Perl 6, YAPC::NA::2001

  • Comment on The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book

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Re: The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book
by TheDamian (Priest) on Jan 08, 2002 at 14:34 UTC
    I have plans in that direction.
      Excellent!
      Although the Apocolypses and corresponding Exegesis are excellent, I am EAGERLY anticipating an entire book devoted to Perl6. Will it be the next edition of the Camel?
        Though I expect that the next edition of the Camel will be devoted to Perl 6, I have not been invited to contribute to that. I had rather thought I would write a Making-the-Transition-from-Perl-5-to-Perl-6 book.

        Or possibly "OO Perl 6" with a vastly expanded Chapter 2. ;-)

Re: The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book
by djantzen (Priest) on Jan 08, 2002 at 14:31 UTC

    To be honest, this sounds like the kind of book I'd not want, precisely because it's trying to do two very different things at once.

    If a person is learning about Perl for the first time, then there's no reason to use the transition from 5 to 6 as a background. They don't know 5, and trying to teach two variations of a language at once is dubious pedagogy to be sure.

    On the other hand, if someone knows Perl 5, but isn't willing to go out and learn about 6, then probably they've already made up their minds that Perl isn't for them. After all, Perl 6 isn't that big a change -- it's not like it's going to wake up one morning and realize that it's C++.

    I've been using a humble 31-page booklet by John Vromans of the Squirrel Consultancy on Perl 5 for quite some time (is this the pocket reference you're talking about?). And personally I like the two extremes: a resource that's quick and to the point, and a set of resources that go deep, like the Camel and our Monastery.

      It's really only trying to do one thing: get people excited about Perl 6. I envisioned the book attacking the problem from two directions, but that's a matter of methodology. I agree that it would probably be a lower percentage of people who learn Perl for the first time from such a book. That's what llama and camel are for, and they do a great job of it.

      By your logic, it sounds like there's no reason to try and persuade anyone that Perl 6 is a good thing, they'll either like it or not. I don't agree with that at all. A good number of people don't like it purely because they don't understand it. The changes scare them, threaten their comfortable feeling of knowing Perl. They ask "Does it really make the easy things easy anymore?" The answer is "Yes." It still does, a little differently, but nothing to be scared of. These people (and there are a number of them) could be won over relatively easily.

      I look forward to reading and giving my students the book that TheDamian writes.

      P.S. I meant the O'Reilly "Perl 5 Pocket Reference".

        A good number of people don't like it purely because they don't understand it. The changes scare them, threaten their comfortable feeling of knowing Perl.

        /callousness/ People that can't handle change really oughtn't be in the software industry. I spent a great many hours studying CORBA only to find it vanishing. I don't want to learn .NET (or Mono), but by god I'm gonna have to. /\callousness/

        Having said that, perhaps a good question here is whether the target audience is people who are relunctant to explore new technologies in general (in which case goto(/callousness/)), or people that are entertaining other options in lieu of Perl 6, i.e., Python, Ruby. If it's the former, this book is a hand-holding reference*; if the latter, then this is really an evangelical text that ought to be written in a manner suitable for "backsliding" programmers as well as project managers and PHB's.

        In short, I still think this book needs to do one thing well, not try to appeal to two different audiences simultaneously.

        * Errm, a reference that holds your hand...not, oh nevermind

Re: The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book
by nefertari (Chaplain) on Jan 08, 2002 at 15:29 UTC
    For me it would be a good book (i think), since i am (still?) inexperienced with perl. And since i am only seldom programming i tend to forget much. So the "intro to perl"-part would be good to relearn the forgotten things.
(ichimunki) Re: The Quest for the Holy Grail...erm...Book
by ichimunki (Priest) on Jan 08, 2002 at 21:17 UTC
    I'm sorry... can't resist: it's already out. It's called "Programming Ruby". <smirk/>

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