misskat: A bunch of minions from Despicable Me in heart formation (Minion Heart)
[personal profile] misskat
Welcome to Zero-to-Perl: Dreamwidth Edition!

The purpose of this comm is to mentor and encourage people who are interested in learning how to code Perl. Dreamwidth, the site you're on right now, is mostly written in Perl. As an open source project, Dreamwidth's code is mostly written by volunteers who donate their time, skills, and expertise. Dreamwidth is fully committed to giving back to the community that supports it, hence this comm!

By the time this course is done, you will have at least one small patch under your belt, be prepared to start working on bugs on your own (with continued support, of course!), and know the ins and outs of the Dreamwidth development process, including the tools we use to make it run smoothly (GitHub and Bugzilla being the two biggies).

I use the term "course" very loosely. At this time, there is not really a schedule or a syllabus. However, there are some goals that you should be able to accomplish along the way: write patches, know your way around the system, know where to go for help. How we'll get from A to B is still being discussed, but we'll get there!

At this time, the plan is to set weekly "missions" for folks to work on. These can be done independently, or collaboratively via IRC, email, Skype... whatever you're up for. Setting up pair programming is something you'll have to do on your own, but if you need suggestions for people to talk to, ping one of the comm admins!

This is designed to be a low-pressure learning environment, with lots of encouragement. To this end, this comm will have a code of conduct, which is as follows:
--Don't be a dick. Wil Wheaton says so.
--Don't use "fake surprise." If someone doesn't know something, don't act shocked. For example, if I say that I don't know who Larry Wall is, don't be like, "OMG YOU DON'T KNOW WHO LARRY WALL IS??????" It will make me feel stupid, and that's not conducive to a positive learning environment.
--Don't use "well-actually statements." These are statements used to correct minor inaccuracies, but in a way that maximizes embarrassment. For example, I might say that the earth is round. "Well, actually, the earth is spheroid" doesn't add anything to the conversation, is nit-picky in a non-constructive way, and will make me feel stupid. See above.

In addition to learning Perl, we'll also be doing an introduction to GitHub, and an overview of the ways in which you can tickle Bugzilla to provide the information you're looking for. We'll cover additional tools as time goes on.

Finally, the comm admins ask you to be patient with us as we figure out what's going on. At least one of us has never programmed before (that's me), and we're all feeling this out. If you've got feedback, feel free to DM or email one of us, and we'll take a look. As Dreamwidth's diversity statement says: We have enough experience to know that we won't get any of this perfect on the first try. But we have enough hope, energy, and idealism to want to learn things we don't know now.



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August 2013

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