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RE: The sad state of Perl documentation

by odie (Sexton)
on Sep 18, 2000 at 21:28 UTC ( #32985=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to The sad state of Perl documentation

And opinions filled the room...
I may as well add a few things:

man / perldoc:
These are not intended (for the most part) to be a tutorial. If you want to learn, you buy a book, like with most other things. Perldoc is however an excellent reference manual. It's not very useful until you actually know perl. On the other hand, when you DO know perl, it is an excellent place to "look something up". The great advantage is that practically everyone installs perldoc along with perl. If you program perl, you always have perldoc. It is however , in my humble opinion, utterly useless when printed. The sections are HUGE and quite impossible to navigate without some form of search/matching. Furthermore, it is nice to know that perldoc is up to date. I do not consider this sad. As soon as you buy a book or print a reference manual, it will become old.

This is not only very common on UNIX platforms. It is also quite common on other systems such as Windows. Printers really like PostScript.
So, following some form of logical deduction, one might say that PostScript is a good format to store text in, if it is intended for printing. This causes no problems, as it can also be viewed with a variety of programs.
) However, following some form of illogical deduction, Windows does things a bit differently. It uses PS. A lot. There are however few programs that can display a simple PS file. Instead they have choosen to use every other format imaginable to store files, ready for printing. They use rtf, doc, pdf and and a variety off odd (and always commercial) formats. This strikes me as very odd. Having dozens of non-free formats that do the exact same thing is not a bright move. Even more so as the first thing that happens when you print it, is a conversion to PS, so the printer will understand it.
  • Comment on RE: The sad state of Perl documentation

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RE: RE: The sad state of Perl documentation
by tye (Sage) on Sep 18, 2000 at 21:47 UTC

    When I learned Perl there were no books about Perl. I learned by reading the documentation that came with Perl. I was quite happy with it.

    Soon after that the first book about Perl came out and we all bought copies. I read it, enjoyed it, and thought it was a good book. I did learn a few things from reading the book but I think most of those I would have also learned from rereading the standard documentation.

    Since then I've bought several books on Perl. Several of them are very good books. I've never finished reading any of them and I don't ever turn to them when I need to look something up.

    When I need to look something up I read *.pod files, the source code to modules, the source code to Perl, try something (usually in the Perl debugger), or search the internet or some part of it.

    So I think there are quite a few fine books that you could buy to help you learn Perl. But I don't think there is any need to buy a book.

    There are certainly some parts of the standard Perl documentation that I believe could stand some major improvements. For example, I find the explanations on pack() and unpack() confusing and worse. But it isn't hard to submit patches to the documentation so I don't bitch much since it just means I haven't bothered to fix the problem. (:

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")

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