Perl, Names and World Domination
Making a clean break from what draws you back is important. Whither can we go if "Perl 5" has lost its coolness factor, and "Perl 6" is already taken? But the path to world domination and greater numbers of "ninja perl programmers" and "perl rockstars" need not not necessarily go through the name of Perl itself. It did not for Ruby - it was Rails that did it. Here is my recipe:
- Step 1: Bundle essential modern Perl libraries in a single Task distribution - akin to Task::Kensho, but sans the domain specific stuff for xml, web, and the like. Think Moose, perlbrew, local::lib, CPAN::Mini, Perl::Critic, Perl::Tidy, Dist::Zilla, Regexp::Grammars, plus a selection of useful modules like Path::Class, Try::Tiny, File::Find::Rule, Perl6::Caller, etc. Spice up with some goodies for everyday development such as Data::Printer, Devel::REPL and Carp::Always.
- Step 2: Give it a fancy name - Perl 5 Extended Library, Perl 5 Power Libs, whatever. A poll for ideas should certainly produce some appealing suggestions.
- Step 3: Make it available everywhere. Include it in the standard Strawberry Perl distribution. Make packages for major unixes (and name them properly, e.g. perl-extended-lib rather than libtask-extendedlib-perl). Make sure it installs flawlessly on all platforms.
- Step 4: Market the hell out of it. Create a subdomain under perl.org (e.g. exlib.perl.org), make the docs for the included libraries available under a special section in perldoc.org, create a cpanel plugin to install it to shared hosts, create a logo that shared hosts can use to signify that they provide these modules to their perl users. Own the SEO for that name. Talk to publishers to write books about it ("Mastering the Extended Perl Library", "Extended Perl Library in a Nutshell").
- Step 5: Rule your newfound minions
The point is to transform a disparate set of essential modern Perl modules and practices into something concrete and marketable. This will make buzz about Perl more effective, trolls online will be easier to silence, newbees will know where to go after the camel and the alpaca, people curious about perl will know where to go and have a look. Even more importantly, IT managers will have a clear path path for training their developers, and clear expectations from potential hires - standards and predictability rule in the enterprise world. A flagship project like that may just prove to be what it takes to drive Perl adoption forward.