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petdance (2468)

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I'm Andy Lester, and I like to test stuff. I also write for the Perl Journal, and do tech edits on books. Sometimes I write code, too.

Journal of petdance (2468)

Sunday August 25, 2002
06:10 PM

The Red(mond)headed Stepchild

[ #7300 ]
I'm reviewing Jenness and Cozens' Extending And Embedding Perl and Tregar's Writing Perl Modules For CPAN for the next issue of The Perl Review, and I came across one of my pet peeves about much of the Perl community: Ignoring Windows users.

For example, both books discuss the importance of the make utility in the early chapters. In Jenness & Cozens, a footnote says only "On Microsoft Windows and other operating systems that lack compilers as standard, you'll need to install a version of make." Tregar's book is far more helpful, and provides a URL to the Microsoft website for a download.

Comments? Am I full of it? Any Windows users feel like they're getting short shrift?

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  • I know this doesn't really address your concern, but...

    I'm beginning to feel that Cygwin Perl is getting there. I use CPAN from my Cygwin Perl installation of 5.8.0 and most everything just works.

    So, I run Perl, with make, on Windows with no problem.

    I dunno, but expecting authors of modules that use XS to 'make' (pun intended) sure that their stuff runs under Visual.NET C++ is too much to ask. With Cygwin, most XS modules just... work... Or, if they don't you have the tools at hand to figure out why.

    • IME, if you have the Visual C++ environment installed properly, XS modules build like you'd expect. There are plenty of exceptions -- using Curses or other libraries not generally found on Win32 -- but overall it's generally as simple as on Unix. Because Win32 is monolithic, you can mostly rely on kind-hearted souls to create PPM packages and they'll work as expected as well.
      • There are a couple of things wrong with that. First, not everyone has Visual C++. In fact, I'd bet that most people don't have it.

        As to the PPM packages, those are always terribly behind the times. If anyone wants to be involved in the development of, say, HTML::Lint, which is updated constantly, they're out of luck without a version of make.

        All that is what makes it so heartening to know that 1) nmake is available from MS, and 2) that Tregar's book refers to it.

        Also, I don't count Cygwin as Window



        • Oh sure, clearly most people don't have VC++. It's just that there's a perception that Perl XS modules are difficult to build on Win32 even with VC++. (Not that you have this perception, just what I was responding to.) Not true.

          As for keeping up-to-date: I'm a fairly infrequent Win32 user, but it seems that ActiveState is better than they used to be. And there are different repositories -- like the one Randy Kobes runs, or the one I run -- focused on particular niches.

          I entirely agree that most people d

          • Also, I don't count Cygwin as Windows. It's Unix running on Windows.

          Cygwin is not for everyone, for sure. But, if you are familiar with the Unix world and you want to do development on, say, HTML::Lint, Cygwin will allow you to do that.

          I just tried it and HTML::Lint installed and tested straight away. There was something funny about how LWP wasn't able to fetch the modules, but wget was. I think it's the firewall/proxy here at work, because this works fine from home.

          • ActiveState's Perl is a fine fine
        • The thing with nmake is that it doesn't get advertised very well. Having no Visual Studio of any kind on my Windows box, nmake has got a lot of use out of me, but I'm always surprised to discover how few novices know of it's existence. It would be nice if AS could add a link like they do to the MS installer.

          As for PPM packages being behind, I have coped very well with the current pace of AS. I often find it a bit unnerving if code is rapidly changing ... what is a stable version to work against? At least

  • Windows (Score:2, Insightful)

    Not so much that I'm getting short shrift, more like I'm getting no respect, Rodney Dangerfield style.

    I can't help it. I feel almost dirty every time I tell people that I know such-and-such about Windows this-or-that, or that I know how to code in VB, etc., because I get the very real feeling it reduces any "geek cred" I might have accumulated with them.

    I've just kind of gotten used to reading a book and realizing that Windows isn't something the author likes (or is even familiar with). It's part of t


    You are what you think.
    • I've just kind of gotten used to reading a book and realizing that Windows isn't something the author likes (or is even familiar with).

      I'm betting familiarity is a major reason, maybe the primary reason, Windows gets "the short shrift" in Perl books. I use Cygwin, but I couldn't tell you how to build a module on Windows "natively." If I set out to write a book about building modules, rather than doing cursory research into the subject, possibly picking up some misunderstandings, and tacking on a sect

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • And yes, we should have talked about where to get make.

    But it's not because we hate or are trying to ignore Windows users. We simply didn't think to include more information. (Maybe there's also an implicit assumption that if you're doing serious development on Windows, you either have make installed already or you're using Cygwin.)

    I also don't know very much about developing on Windows, so it would be Bad to write a lot about it. :) For instance, does Visual Studio come with make? If so, there'd be no

    • In my mind, Cygwin is not Windows. Cygwin is Unix on Windows. If I'm a real Windows/DOS programmer (and I was at one point), then I want to use my Perl natively, not thru the Cygwin shell.

      Also, note that make isn't just for C developers. In the context of much of your book, Simon, (which I'm enjoying a great deal), C and make are going to go hand-in-hand. However, for people who want to write and/or use pure Perl modules, a lack of make leaves them high and dry.

      Many times I've had people ask me, as