Answers for O’Reilly PR

The O’Reilly public relations people asked me to answer some questions about the new Intermediate Perl so they can prepare materials for reviewers and the press. As a reader of this website, however, you get the answers before they do, and you get my full answers, which might show up as edited excerpts in O’Reilly’s materials. Continue reading “Answers for O’Reilly PR”

Syntax coloring in Intermediate Perl PDF

O’Reilly wants to try an experiment with the Intermediate Perl PDF. We’re not limited by the physical process of putting ink on paper (and it’s a bit expensive to have more than one color of ink). I’m just going to show you the images and let you tell me what you think. Continue reading “Syntax coloring in Intermediate Perl PDF”

Fixing bugs instead of explaining them

David Golden, one of the reviewers for Intermediate Perl, gave me extensive comments about one of the test program examples in the book. I made a simple example using Test::Output, a module I sometimes use but didn’t write. It solved my needs at the time, but it has some issues. Perl’s output is complicated, and the simple tie in Test::Output::Tie doesn’t cover all the cases.

I’m the current maintainer of the module, and rather than explain the edge cases in my example (or fix the module), I merely mentioned to David that we should reimplement Test::Output with Capture:Tiny, his module that handles almost all cases. I meant “we” in the universal sense, and I didn’t say much because I was busy writing the book. A couple of hours later, David sends me a pull request.

That often happens as part of the writing process. If something is too hard to explain, it’s probably too hard to use. The time explaining it is better spent making it clear, unbuggy, or whatever it takes to avoid the explanation. In this case, it’s even better when someone else did it.