Since FTFM(Finding The F*****g Manual - courtesy of dagolden) and now being able to RTFM whenever and wherever I am as long as I have access to Perl means that I don't have to worry about remembering everything or take loads of dead trees around with me. I used to wander off with a laptop and a book in hand, sit under a shady tree with the sound of the wind rustling in the trees and fawns pronking in the meadow then settle down to have a leisurely look at some aspect of Perl, start testing something out, forget the exact sytax and have to thumb through pages and break the train of thought, by which time it had started to rain and the fawns had gone home for tea and I had forgotten what I was trying to do and would have to start all over again.
Its a amazing what a little confidence, in one language brings to another and how it takes all the anxiety out of the process of getting things done when you don't know quite what you are doing but know where to go. Finding the door to all knowledge and wisdom that is Perldoc that has been hidden from me has given me new found confidence, even perhaps a rather cavalier attitude to other new things too.
I have had to learn how to use Joomla as it is the preferred tool of one of my clients. I have tossed around with it a few times but never really got to grips with it in the past. As there is an incentive to use it I found myself getting to grips with it a bit more easily, even though my first reaction was to resist it.
There is a little lesson there too: learning is greatly improved when there is a sensible achievable goal with a little bit of lookah involved and a doable deadline . Not the huge, re-invent the world in a day type mountains I have set myself in the past. Not impossible if you have all the tools to hand but a bugger when you can't find the secret to planet making in Mrs Beeton's, Omelettes for All Occasions.
As learning experiences go it was not too bad after all it is like using a WYSIWYG editor with a few extra functions. What at first seems a weird way of linking everything together, is not in the end a bad concept, its probably more the case that the documentation is aimed at the non-programmer, which did help. Of course I am always comparing experiences to see if one will help with the other.
As soon as I had installed the system, had a play around with a template or two and then put some content in to be able to get a feel for what I was looking at, I opened the php and css in a text editor and started to customise everything in the code rather than from the web interface.
If I had had to delve too much into the PHP I may not have enjoyed the experience quite so much as it is not my language of choice and I could see from the little of the code that I did see that I would not have done it that way if I had started from there in the first place. I was just pleased that I did not run off screaming into the wind.
Honestly, a few months ago I was so hacked off with all programming languages that I would not have attempted to even install a new cartridge in my printer in case it involved me writing Post Script. The difference now is that the more time that I have been learning Perl the better I have become at seeing the commonalities in all languages and systems and so when faced with a new challenge things seem clearer. I am nothing if not persistent.
I think it proves that I am climbing the tree and tasks that seemed a real arse ache a few months ago are now possible because Perldoc had taught me one vital lesson - have the confidence to know that you will be able to get to the next step, and after that you will be able to get to the next. Belief in the ability to be able to do something because you know how to find out how to do it.
I may be repeating myself here, I said I might be repeating myself here but it is worth repetition, I said its worth repetition.