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Email: Hack and Learn - September

Hashes, Scalars and Arrays

Thu Sep 27 22:35:27 2012

           MDK in SteamPunk visage

Another month, another train journey and another blog post about a NWE hackday event...

This month saw us assemble in the wonderful arena of the Manchester Hackspace which sits in the same street (in fact it is next door to) the MadLab where we often meet. The hackspace is a great place to have a technical meeting as you are surrounded by the mad wizzardry of DIY technology and inventiveness. I felt as if I was in the lair of a supertinkerer cross of Wilf Lunn, Stephen Hawking and Phineas & Ferb.

We decided to continue on with the theme of learning Perl together this month with Ian taking the role of teacher and Claire and I being the newbie/neophyte students of the language. I would like to learn some of the code that the developers I work with use as their gravy and this seems a good way to do it.

The lesson this month was on the subject of Scalars, Arrays and Hashes and the manner in which Perl treats these elements. It would be unwise for me to give you a second hand account of how these work here when there are quite excellent Perldocs that you will find more informative. What was interesting is that I seemed able to learn some of this, whether this was a product of my intelligence is open to debate, what isn't a matter of discussion is the fact that Ian was able to transfer the knowledge.

The lessons are serving useful to Ian as well as he is using them as the basis for for further courses he will be giving at events such as the London Perl Workshop, to be held at the University of Westminster, Cavendish Square Campus, on 24th November 2012.

An interesting element I think is the need for Ian to prepare handouts or put live a pdf of the work we did and the exercises he created so that I/others can practice this after the night and during the following month. I am hoping to keep the level of information fresh in my head so that I can build upon it at next months event.

If you are new to Perl and live in the North West you might want to consider joining us both online at on, or on our mailing list. You can also join us in person at one of our monthly meetings or at a hackday, conference or social event in the local area.


If anyone has feedback (and until we have a commenting system) please don't hesitate to email me at: m.keating [at], if your comments are useful, fun, or just plain interest to me, or if I think will be useful to others, then I will add them to the end of this post, let me know how you would like to be named (anon, nick etc.).

Mark Keating is: Managing Director of Shadowcat Systems Limited
Director and Secretary of Enlightened Perl Organisation
Chair of the Marketing Committee for The Perl Foundation
Co-Founder/Co-Leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
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Mark Keating is the organiser of the London Perl Workshop (since 2008), has joined the organising team for the QA Hackathon in 2011, the TPF GSoC Mentors/organisers 2011, the Dynamic Languages Conference 2011.