Two years ago, Josh McAdams and I started The Effective Perler as an extension of the second edition of Effective Perl Programming. Since then, roughly once a week, we added one meaty Item a week. Last month, we published our 100th Item. With the 120 Items in the book, that’s a lot of items.
I have a new plan for 2012 onward. It’s much harder to find topics now and it takes much longer to research and write them. I’ve exhausted all of the advice I have and all of the easy topics. When I think I have a good idea, I now know to search everything else I’ve already written. More than a couple of times I thought I had the next week’s idea, but it was already in the book or on the website.
The search for content has another problem: I don’t want to add Items for anything that’s already been writtenâ€”not just by me, but by anyone. I don’t want to repeat content unless I have a different take on it and I can illuminate something new.
I’m not going to do weekly big Items anymore. I’ll try one a month, I think. I’ll see how it goes.
There’s still roomer for shorter content, such as the short demonstrations of new features, and ideas that don’t have have 1,000 words in them. There are also many interesting, although esoteric, features that I would probably never recommend for production code.
This doesn’t mean that I’m going to write less, though. If I do less for The Effective Perler, I can do more somewhere else. There another edition of Intermediate Perl that needs attention, the Learning Perl website, or a few other things.
Many people have asked for Items about specific modules, but that’s not really the idea of The Effective Perler. We want to teach people about core Perl and thinking in Perl. Modules are essentially all the sameâ€”they give you an interface and you do what the interface tells you to do. For the most part, they are just subroutines or method calls. There’s not much interesting there. You already know how to do that. The much more interesting advice is researching modules, but we put that in the book already.