"Minimal Perl for the Impatient"
Yet Another Perl Conference
August 2-4, 2001
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
About This Document
This document describes a half-day tutorial that was presented at YAPC::Europe
(Yet Another Perl Conference, European edition) in Amsterdam,
Holland during August, 2001. Those in attendance were provided with
detailed lecture notes and samples of Perl programs to help them follow
the lectures. All interested parties are invited to download the
latest version of this tutorial from the Consultix
Consultix was happy to help fund this event through its sponsorship,
and to present this tutorial session for the benefit of the good people
who organized and attended YAPC, who have become such a vital force in
Our software training curriculum includes about a dozen hands-on courses
on Perl Programming
topics, including a full-day hands-on version of this tutorial.
We present these courses in periodic public
offerings in Seattle WA USA, and in on-site
courses worldwide, and we're eager to help interested companies develop
and implement Perl training programs for their employees and customers.
For more information on our services, visit our web
site or contact us.
Anyone who doesn't already know Perl, needs to do simple data processing,
and has a logical mindset can benefit from attending.
This tutorial is particularly well suited to individuals of the following
Non-Programmers (MIS managers, etc.), who want to gain a better understanding
of why Perl is so popular with professional programmers, and learn to do
basic data processing without learning too much or thinking too hard,
Near-Programmers, who are handy with the UNIX shell, and the "grep" or
"sed" commands, and want to expand their skills to include the premier
"programmable filter", AND
Programmers, who don't want to become Perl experts, but want to learn just
enough to gain access to some of its special capabilities.
Prior experience with programming is helpful, but anyone with a logical
mindset can benefit from attending.
Perl is a wonderful language, that offers programmers a rich feature set,
huge stylistic and syntactic liberties, and many ways to accomplish the
same thing. But for the impatient beginner, these characteristics can translate
into "too many complications, too much uncertainty, and too many choices."
Although Perl's motto is
"There's More Than One Way to Do It",
this tutorial will teach students only one way --
"The Easiest Way to Do it"
What Attendees Will Learn
Students will learn a carefully selected minimal subset of Perl that gives
immediate access to some of its powerful capabilities, and serves as a
solid foundation for additional learning.
The tutorial's approach is based on the "Pattern/Action" model
of programming, as featured in the influential AWK
language . By employing this model, casual programmers
can achieve a great deal of data-processing power with only a small
investment in learning.
Upon completion of the tutorial, students will have the necessary skills
to convert files, validate data, generate simple reports, and perform numerical
calculations in Perl.
Avoiding "Tutorial Stupor"
Students may sometimes react to information overload by reverting to "scribe
mode" -- doing nothing more than taking copious notes for possible later
assimilation. To help keep their minds fully engaged and to promote active
learning, various class exercises, quizzes, and problem-solving assignments
will be interspersed throughout the presentation.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON SPEAKER:
Dr. Tim Maher
During the last two decades, Dr. Tim Maher has taught programming to thousands
of high-tech professionals. As a Professor of Computer Science, and later
as a Software Instructor for AT&T, Sun, DEC, HP, and CONSULTIX, Dr.
Maher has consistently earned acclaim for his highly effective and entertaining
style of course development and presentation.
Teaching Background: "Doceo Ergo Sum!"
For ten years, I worked periodically as a contract trainer for Sun Microsystems,
Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett Packard, and other smaller companies.
I've seen all the wrong ways to design training materials (courtesy of
these big outfits), and have successfully competed with them by doing a
For the last fifteen years, I've been teaching courses on UNIX and its
associated languages through my own company, CONSULTIX, to the Fortune
500, US government agencies, and various international concerns.
My current job functions are course development and stand-up, hands-on,
software training offered worldwide, from my corporate base in Seattle.
I teach for approx. 25 weeks per year.
During eight years as a contract "UNIX and Programming Languages" trainer
for Sun Microsystems, I received recognition as "Instructor of the Quarter."
During my two years as a CS Professor at the Univ. of Utah, my student
for "quality of teaching" consistently placed me in the top 5% of the faculty.
The courses I've developed and taught through my own company have garnered
much praise from the thousands of students who've taken them over the past
15 years; see
Academic and Technical Background
I have a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, where I worked in a field
closely related to BioEngineering, that at the time was classified as "Experimental
Psychology." I got the UNIX bug there in 1976 as a graduate student in
a Computer Graphics class.
I was an Asst. Professor of CS at the University of Utah for two years,
where I used digital signal processing technology to conduct original experiments
on the psychophysics of digital music.
I left academia to join AT&T in the early 80s as a founding member
of their fledgling UNIX training organization. While there, I wrote AT&T's
first course on UNIX Security, among others, and taught C, AWK, Shell,
UNIX System Administration, Database Programming, and other related courses
to literally thousands of Bell Labs scientists and AT&T customers.
I spent two years at U.C. Berkeley as a Senior Systems Analyst reporting
to the Vice Provost, where I wrote custom software for what was then the
world's largest network of Sun workstations.
I have published seven papers in refereed professional journals and
books, and articles in several high-tech publications (e.g., UNIX/World,
Dr. Dobb's Journal, and Websmith).
Jump to CONSULTIX
© Tim Maher, 2001