Sam's Blog

Spring 2010 Summary

Date: Thursday, 20 May 2010, 15:11.

Categories: perl, ironman, quarterly-summary.

For almost three months now, I've been writing as part of the Ironman Perl Blogging Challenge, so it seemed like a good point to pause and take stock, to recap some of my better posts for new readers and to see what's changed since I posted them.

It's also a good spot to comment on the experience of participating in the challenge and to vote on mst's Ironman forfeit.

The Recap

Of course, it's not actually been three months, still two weeks short, but the next few weeks are hopefully going to be busy with other projects, and I'm taking advantage of the lull to claim a broader achievement than I'm due.

My first blog entry "Some simple "white-space trim" benchmarks", was way back in the dawn of time (*ahem* 3rd March 2010) and mutated into a series of articles on benchmark analysis.

The planned followup series on profiling is still on my to-do list, but sadly I've not recently been working on any projects that need profiling, so I've got no decent use cases to build articles around.

After that series, I moved on to "Author/Release tests with Module::Build and Template::Benchmark", a solution I'm now also using for Text::Matrix, and still not entirely happy with.

In another pair of dual-purpose articles, "Monkey-patching to auto-correct custom controls" and "Wrapping to auto-correct custom controls", I covered two ways to coerce a procedural module into behaving the way that you wanted, as applied to the problem of benchmarks that have a significant initialization overhead to compensate for.

I also published a piece on naming things, "The Science of Naming", which appears to be unfeasibly popular with search engine queries. To those visitors: I think the answer to your question is "taxonomy", but stick around and read about Perl anyway.

Following on in a sort of "Best Practices" vein, came two articles on regexps, "Anchoring Regexps" and "Did you mean +, not *, in that regexp?".

Mixed in with all that were a handful of other articles, you can find them all by browsing the archives.

The Logistics

Writing a regular piece, week-in week-out, is always a challenge. I've certainly failed my own personal goal of having a piece ready every Wednesday, and I'm not sure if I've kept within the less-than-10-days-between-entries limit of Ironman.

A number of my articles took several days of drafting for me to be satisfied with their clarity, and I think the more "last-minute" ones have a clear drop in writing quality, to me at least.

I've also been quite impatient, once I have an article that I feel has been edited into publishable form, I've hated to sit around holding it back for publication on the Wednesday, so I've published earlier than planned on several occasions.

With that in mind, it's hardly a surprise that my self-imposed "every Wednesday" schedule lies in tatters.

So I think my lesson for the next three months is to try to stick to my schedule: write on Monday, revise Tuesday and publish Wednesday.

I also need to be more ruthless in cutting big articles into multiple parts as separate topics within a series, and when I've done so the extra articles need to take their place in the queue, not just be splurged out "when they're done" to derail my schedule.

"Be organised" is probably a fairly "well duh" conclusion, but it's still an important one.

The Visitors

I'm not about to discuss visitor numbers because, frankly, they always sound like, er, "how high can you reach" contests.

That said, traffic has been steadily increasing since I started. Given that most of my traffic is from the Ironman feed, I suspect that this is driven by growing awareness and popularity of the Ironman Challenge itself rather than anything I've personally done.

That's fine with me, the point is to increase awareness of Perl, not me individually.

I've had some traffic coming in from a few Reddit mentions and a couple of URL-shortening services that makes me suspect someone mentioned me on Twitter, IM or IRC somewhere.

A steady trickle of people arrive from search engines, providing me with some cheap amusement at the outlandish things they appear to be searching for. Including a surprisingly large number of people who cut-n-paste homework questions into the search box. I'm not quite sure why I'm ranking highly for that in any search engine...

I've also had quite a few people contact me via email about articles, enough that I decided to hook up to Disqus for a comments system, despite not wanting to have to take time to moderate comments, that should make things a bit easier for people than email.

Speaking of email, one downside of having an actively updated website again appears to be that the spammers have started using my domain as a fake sender more often. Perhaps just coincidence, but blitzes of bounce messages appear to be happening every two weeks rather than the previous six-monthly intervals.

The Future

I've enjoyed participating in the Ironman Perl Blogging Challenge, and I intend to continue for as long as I have things to write about.

If you're thinking about signing-up, I can heartily recommend it.

Whether you take "the Challenge" seriously or not, it's a great service for the Perl Community, and you'll find a large number of interested readers out there, waiting to discuss or help out with any topic you cover.

Sadly, since you'll have joined too late, you'll have missed out on voting for Matt S Trout's forfeit.

I'm supporting Dave Golden's call for a "Patches Welcome" talk as the forfeit, not just because I think it's a subject that's thoroughly deserving of some trademark mst sarcasm, but also because I suspect he'll have his own angle to bring to the discussion.

Browse Sam's Blog Subscribe to Sam's Blog

By day of May: 08, 10, 20, 27.

By month of 2010: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November.

By year: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Or by: category or series.


blog comments powered by Disqus
© 2009-2013 Sam Graham, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.