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When, where, how, and why did you learn Perl?

I started with Matt Wright's Guestbook script in the summer of 1995. I was between semesters in my final year of college, and I was excited about enhancing my website with an interactive feature. The guestbook script was excellent because it worked, it was well-documented, and it was small enough and modular enough that I could learn as I went. I was years before I really understood everything the script did, like the regular expressions and form processing, but I understood parts of it right away.

Since then, I have been slowly learning more and more about Perl, by trial-and-error, by reading the attached docs, and by browsing comp.lang.perl.misc.

Sometimes people ask me "how did you learn?" with the intention of maybe doing the same thing that I did. It is easy enough to teach yourself Perl by going over some existing programs, but it is important to pick the right program to get started. None of my existing programs would be good for this (I'd re-write all of them now, based on what I've learned over the years, if I had the time and wasn't worried about reverse compatibility). A better choice would be to pick a well-written freeware script that has an active community of coders who develop and discuss mods. That way you're starting from a template that is already well-written, and there are lots of people on hand to help. Ikonboard from Jarvis and Links2 from Gossamer Threads would be good examples.

    "When, where, how, and why did you learn Perl?"