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Teaching on a waterbed

After watching Raku, the Big by Bruce Gray I can only agree with the assessment of how difficult it is to teach Raku to a beginner. I have been a Raku beginner myself since 2010. And that means learning the language can’t be hard. After all, even I managed. I had the Synopsis and IRC. The docs were pretty spotty and in some places outdated already (thanks to the GLR). Since there were no books or guides, the best I could do was start coding and asking questions. I’m quite happy with the result.

Things changed when I started to blog in earnest. With all those holes in the docs I had a lot of explaining to do. Let’s look at some code.

my &b = { 42 }; &b.say;
# OUTPUT: -> ;; $_? is raw = OUTER::<$_> { #`(Block|94577606390984) ... }

It’s just a block that returns 42. To explain the output I have to cover return values, default signatures, the topic, optional positional arguments, containers (one can’t explain the absence of a container without containers), default values and pseudo packages. And with all that I still skip my &b =.

I consider myself lucky, that as a beginner, I don’t need to know most of that stuff, before I can start coding. While looking at our website, one can only conclude, that being asked questions by beginners isn’t all the welcome. The link named “getting started” could be named better and be bigger.

We do have live logs now for IRC (logs for Discord have been requested). I can’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be placed prominently on the front page. Our chat channels are the entry point to the community. There is no reason to hide them (or us).

Bruce is right in asking for improvement, there is plenty of room for that. But the perspective of the educator is the wrong starting point. A linear course doesn’t work because of all the complexity hidden behind the defaults. Getting some order into a host of topics can’t hurt. Also, why is that an external link?

The community was my gateway to Perl 6Raku. I would love to see more help for folk with the same learning deficiency then I got.

Categories: Raku
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  1. June 14, 2021 at 20:00

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