Cheaper Than Golf II

by Scott on October 31, 2010 (LinuxOpen SourceWeb Development)

The original "Cheaper than Golf" detailed an interest of mine that is less expensive than playing golf for a hobby. That blog was written two and half years ago and marked the beginning of this web site. I still learn and practice web development, but it is not always as fun or entertaining as other things so the interest has come and gone in intensity. However, lately I have had an increased interest and there are a few reasons that I can give credit to this renewal.

Perl is my programming language of choice. Actually, it was chosen for me. Back when CGI was the preferred way to add dynamic content. I was given access at my work place to write CGI scripts on the intranet. Perl was the preferred language at the time for CGI writing so that is what I learned. I brought down the intranet a few times (something called an endless loop), but I had the freedom as a non-IT professional to learn and experiment. Since then Perl interest has waned for newer users as PHP, Ruby and Python have become more cool. I have a good PHP foundation as well, but I stuck with Perl as my main tool as it is comfortable and I do not have the time to become proficient in a "cooler" language. Also, there is a repository of Perl modules called CPAN that the other languages cannot match. Lately, Perl's coolness factor is increasing again as there are a group of developers pumping life into it again called the Enlightened Perl Organization. These recent changes in Perl have piqued my curiosity and allowed me to learn more about web programming.

Web programming frameworks are great. They provide the tools to create, modify and maintain web applications. My first framework I learned and used was Catalyst. I used it for this site and few others (Leadership Grip, The 3 Colors of Ministry). Catalyst is great, but it has a lot of parts. Recently, I began learning a new framework called Mojolicious which does a lot on fewer parts. This framework is still in it's infancy, but I liked it enough to switch the back end of this site over to using it. Being a part of a new project is exciting and it is neat to post a question on the mailing list and get a quick response from the lead developer. Frameworks have increased my interest with web development.

Legionsites is a product sanctioned by the American Legion whereby an American Legion Hall can create and maintain a Web site. The custom CMS (content management system) product is used to create content for a Web site and is designed to be simple and easy to use. The project is now preparing to provide a 3rd version of the product to its users. I have had the opportunity to be the main developer for version 2 and 3. Currently the CMS is written using PHP, but I would like to change it to Perl using Mojolicious and possibly a NoSQL database called MongoDB. It is rewarding to have the freedom to develop this product and choose amongst different open source technologies to make it happen.

Ravenwood is a story written by my son, Nathan. He is in the lengthy process of typing it into the computer to make it a book. Nathan is a big fiction writer, he has numerous spiral bound notebooks filled with stories. Just him, his mind, a pencil and a notebook. Not only is his interest cheaper than golf, it is actually cheaper than web development. It is inspiring to watch a passion in action and it motivates me to continue learning.

Four reasons to keep the interest alive. In an industry where a lot of money is spent on proprietary software and training, all one really needs is a computer, a text editor, a search engine (to find the wealth of information for learning) and an interest to learn, which is why I still say it is cheaper than golf.

Tags: LinuxOpen SourceWeb Development

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