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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Saturday August 15, 2009
09:10 AM

Must improve the First Time Experience before we promote Six

[ #39468 ]

While reading this review of the wildly popular Flip video recorder, I was struck by yet another situation in which popularity has resulted from a ruthless focus on the First Time Experience.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/technology/personaltech/20pogue.html?_r=1&page wanted=all

David Pogue compared the experience of using the Flip to the use of the Graffiti on the Palm.

Jeff Hawkins, a brain scientist, knew something about people: if you're successful at something the first time you try, you fall instantly in love with it. And sure enough: people fell in love the first time they wrote on a Pilot with the special alphabet and saw their letters turn into perfectly typed text. ...

Somebody at [Flip maker] Pure Digital must have sat through countless meetings, steadfastly refusing to cede any ground to the forces of feature creep. A juicy bonus, if not a lucrative speaking career at management seminars, is definitely in order.

This is the same principle that made PHP so successful, and makes the iPhone interface so compelling (and has made a number of Apple projects into such compelling products). It's also what I was trying to target with Strawberry Perl (for the audience of Unix Perl people anyway).

The new "Six" installer (that installs Perl 5, Padre and Rakudo at the same time) is definitely shiny, but as it stands it is most certainly NOT First Time Experience friendly.

Installation works fine, and so does starting up Padre.

But the next most obvious action, (File -> New -> Perl 6 Script) causes Padre to immediately crash. The Perl 6 plugin is also not on by default (so Perl 6 support doesn't actually work) and Perl 6 execution only works if you save as a .p6 file, which you have no way of knowing that you have to do, because the Save dialog doesn't suggest a file name for your code.

So please, by all means, if you are tolerant and familiar with Padre or want to help us out then install Six and try it.

But please restrain yourself for promoting it. Yes, it's neat. But it's VERY alpha and simply not ready for the unwashed Perl 6 curious masses to try out.

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  • Note that the File -> New -> Perl 6 Script crash still happens even if you have Perl 6 support on, so far as I could tell. And boy, I never thought of naming my file .p6 -- I thought that went out of style years ago?
    • A long time ago, .p6 was used for a short time, and then everyone wised up and avoided it. The proper way to name Perl 6 files is in the same manner as Perl 5 files, meaning .pl, .pm, .t, .pod, etc, and whether they are Perl 5 or Perl 6 is determined by the *content* of the files. If the file begins with something like "use 6.0;" rather than "use 5.008" then it is Perl 6; the latter means it is Perl 5. Using .p6 extensions is a terrible idea and anyone who returns to it should abandon the idea.

  • I will address these issues in the next version of Padre::Plugin::Perl6 and Padre.
  • And truly, Padre is great, and #padre even greater.

    While the combined +Six .msi installer did crash from New...->Anything, and could not highlight anything other than Scintilla/Perl5, I've been able to get warm, welcoming and generally excellent support from #padre from Ahmad, using the public anonymous-IRC page, under the nick "user2560".

    To quote Matthew 25:40 from GWT: "I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant [they seemed], you did for m