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Gmane
From: Tom Christiansen <tchrist <at> perl.com>
Subject: Re: [perl #109408] Documentation that refers to Perl 5 as new
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.lang.perl.perl5.porters
Date: Wednesday 1st February 2012 13:51:35 UTC (over 5 years ago)
>... Python sense of these tings.

Yes, certainly.  Thanks.  All typos a spellchecker can find are long taken
care of; it's things that are real words but which don't scan that are the
problem.  The version I sent out was a pre-proofed copy of the pod, not the
latest.  However, all that's really different is that it's now been
spellchecked.  So there might be grammos.  But really, it's the semantics,
scope, and tone that I'm concerned about.  And length.

For perltrap, I would recommend making a Java, Python, and Ruby section
that is about the same size as the existing other-language-trap sections,
not these copious lists I have here.  Some of my points are *not* things
that beginners will get tripped up on, but only experts.  I don't know
that those need to be there at all.   A bet 30-40% would plenty suffice.

The problem I have with all this is that these read more like things in
language X that will trip up a Perl programmer instead of the other way
around.  Of course, that's because that's how they were written, because
we are Perl people, not J/P/R people.  That worked find with C/sed/awk/sh,
because we actually *were* those things before we were Perl programmers, 
so knew them well.  Now with these others, not so much.

For example, I'm always megachafed by Java's lack of proper function
pointers (and don't get me started on "reflection").  That's because real
programming languages have those.  But a Java programmer coming to Perl
isn't going to be looking for something whose very existence they don't
even know about.  Function pointers just aren't in the Java programmer's
arsenal of attack, their toolbox.  

In contrast, a Java programmer told me that he had the most frustrating
time in the world coming to Perl because he couldn't find an
Integer.parseInt() "static method" (read: function call) in Perl.

See why those are entirely different classes of trap?  Right now we have
mostly things from the first sort -- mental lacunae that trip up Perl
programmers coming to J/P/R, not the sort that occurs in J/P/R programmers
coming to Perl.

Might anyone please have some suggestions for *those* types of things?  

I fear we need people who actually *think* in J/P/R for this sort of
question.  I can think in C without trouble, but I definitely don't have
Python or Ruby internalized; I don't even know Ruby at all, and Python I
still speak with a strong native accent.  Java is further along in that
regard.  But whereas I previously held for Java a cordial dislike borne of
having only a cursory notion of how it worked, now my dislike for the
language can no longer be called at all "cordial", for familiarity has
bred contempt.  And that's something that should really be suppressed,
because it doesn't help anyone, and helping people is the whole point here.

--tom
 
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