[Catalyst] Re: Last Chance / Last Day: Web developmentplatformcontestand Perl / Catalyst

Dan Dascalescu ddascalescu+catalyst at gmail.com
Sat Dec 2 01:03:41 GMT 2006

> On the home, you can see some websites where it
> is used. Catalyst need a section like "Get excited", because people
> don't want to learn a language to discover if it's good or not.

Allow me to agree, from the perspective of a Catalyst newbie. If we
want more Perl/Catalyst developers, we need to make Perl and Catalyst
approachable. For Perl, the job was excellently done by Rober'ts Perl
Tutorial (http://www.sthomas.net/oldpages/roberts-perl-tutorial.htm).
For Catalyst...

Two weeks ago, I embarked on building a web application and researched
the Perl framework offers. Catalyst seemed the most mature, flexible
and with the best community support. I went to the documentation - in
POD format. Not a big deal. I reached the tutorial at
and my enthusiasm vanished. The tutorial was very hard to grasp,
mainly because it seemed to focus on DBIC more than Catalyst itself. I
talked to several folks on #catalyst about this and they all seemed to
agree. I had put away my hope in Catalyst for a while.

I tend to think many Perl programmers may have preceeded me. People
like novelty but fear change. Catalyst looked too hairy for me from
the documentation that I was able to find at that point.

Later, someone on #catalyst was kind to point me to a more accessible
tutorial at http://desert-island.dynodns.net/kwiki/index.cgi?action=revisions&page_name=CatalystTutorial&revision_id=36
and after two weeks, I mustered the courage and went through it.
Still, I had to discard all the extra bits (Authentication,
Authorization) because I wanted to learn *about Catalyst* first,  THEN
about its plugins or DBIC. Not everyone is conversant in DBIC, and
DBIC itself is no easy beast.

Still, Catalyst didn't quite excite me. The kind of presentation I
found exciting about a pseudo-competitor is here:

> I hate to say this, but Perl is really lacking some sort of marketing.
> To my mind Catalyst could be the new killer-app that has the potential to
> resurrect our favorite language.

I recently attending a very compelling presentation about marketing
products appealing to people's emotions rather than their logic. Of
all people I know, I am one of the most logical and least emotional,
yet after the presentation I recognized that some of my
decision-making patterns were indeed influenced by emotion to a much
higher degree than I thought.

Basically, the presentation proved how customer numbers of Fortune 500
companies bumped after the marketing emphasized the negative
characteristics of the competitors. "Does your current phone company
annoy the hell out of you? Switch to X. Does that software drive you
nuts every time it forces you to do X? Switch to Y." etc.

I'm pretty good with PHP and there are a ton more PHP frameworks, with
better documentation than Catalyst. I chose Catalyst out of exactly
this feeling: "Stick it to the PHP man".

What I'm saying is that every language brings its frustrations. When
I'm asked why I prefer Perl to PHP I redirect the asker to
http://tnx.nl/php . What if we build a list like that for Catalyst?

Even more aggressive. Get Matt to expand a bit on why X is toss or Y
is a half-framework. Actually target the weaknesses of other
frameworks and languages and showcase how Catalyst and Perl overcome
them. It may sound childish and flame-war-ish. I'll let you
intellectuallize the presentation; I just saw how powerful this kind
of marketing was.

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