Embracing the Perl community was a bit harder. Since 2003 I was happily tinkering
on PCE (the first intermediatory name of the editor this book is written with).
By accident I found the largest German Perl forum and stayed there, became a regular.
Today I'm a moderator there and much more active than on perlmonks or stack overflow.
But back then I saw it just as a promotional tool for PCE and my desperate rise
to fame and glory. The People on that board maintained a linklist, a wiki and
much more. They did even their own Workshop. More precisely some active member
from Frankfurt.pm did. Almost the same folks that also organize this years (2012)
YAPC::EU. September 2005 I attended my first so called "Freaktreffen" or lets say
"Frankfurt Perl-Workshop" how it was named later. I was eager to talk there and
guess with what topic - WxPerl of course. How embarrassing to remember how
nervous I was. Next September I did the talk "WxPerl without hurdles" with
lot of nice pictures from the books of one of my favourite authors: Michael Ende.
That way and because I was nearly the only one answering qestions about that
topic on the forum I became the WxPerl guy which sort make feel destined to write
a WxPerl tutorial in the mentioned wiki. It grew slowly, but got never finished
beyond chapter five. L<http://wiki.perl-community.de/Wissensbasis/WxPerlTutorial>
There were some complains due to that because it is still the only Material of
that kind in German. This Book is also an attempt to supersede it with something
much better. Gaining some pride in actually teaching Perl, I started to edit in
the Wikipedia. In the coming years and with a lot of help I largely overhauled
the main Perl article and the whole section "Programming Language Perl".
The former do I still maintain. It thought me a lot how to organize knowledge.
I started also a WikiBook on "Programming Perl" which didn't went very far,
but was well received.
However the very first Perl people I could observe in wildlife I found in the old
city of Dresden, February 2005. And I saw them in the same place were my first
optical camera (35 mm kids!) was produced. It was the seventh German Perl Workshop
and I never skipped one since. Alreading next year in Bochum I talked about PCE,
2008 in Elrangen about Wx::XRC and in Frankfurt 2009 I showed that
"WxPerl can do more". That was an enhanced version of my first YAPC talk from
2008 Kopenhagen and maybe some nucleus from which this book grew. The egg cell
started splitting definitely in Oktober 2009 when Alexander Demmler organized
for me and about twelve other people a two days special workshop in the woods
of Bavaria. Just us in a side room of a village beer tavern by the river and me
speaking whole day till I could only croak. It was a great event in Essing but
reflecting about the quality of the material offered I still tend to hide my face.
Next year was much better, when I held a more than five hour training course at
the YPAC::EU in Pisa called "WxPerl in Details". Because during that course the
attendees could witness the genesis of the very application I ran and shown
the code snippets with, it was also the birth of the idea what kind of apps
should be produced in a WxPerl book. As a side effect it produced also a nice
oversized cheat sheet with most of the names of the widget, events and constants.
The WxPerl Tablet is available in German and English and still serves as a kind
of index in the official WxPerl wiki. L<http://wiki.wxperl.info/w/index.php/WxPerlTablet>
In Pisa I also met Mattia Barbon the very humble and kind Italian creator on WxPerl.
He actually gave me his blessing to write "the" WxPerl book:
"I'm glad somebody does it."
While LinuxTag 2011 I spoke in Berlin about "Modern WxPerl" because there are
some ways to shorten the sometimes very verbous syntax.
This book will not only try to show them all but also to built a new one.
All that was just the fathers of the story. There is another side of
development that led to these pages. In the beginning of 2007 Renee Bäcker
rocketed the first German Perl magazine called "$foo" and looked desperately
for authors. I remembered the old days, when I was chief editor of the school
magazine and how I loved writing. So I decided to join Renee, which I met at
any Freaktreffen, GPW or YAPC. Since issue number two every booklet (or PDF) has
at least on article written by me. Thats not because I have so much Ideas,
but because I wrote two long tutorials and some short pieces.
Yes from 4/2009 to 4/2012, only leaving out 4/2011 I did twelve parts with
altogether sixty some pages that I could just wrap together and expand a bit
to get a book. But writing is like software.
You always want to do it over and better next time. And just recapitulating from
the several quite good but not exhaustive documentations isn't satisfying either.
I plan to go here a different route.
Frankly, you can make it without that book. But this text will save you the time,
trying things out an failing sometimes. There are some traps, which maybe not the
best advertising. But unless you just checked in from wonderland you guessed that
Wx is far from being perfect.
During the research for that book I try all sorts of unrational things to see
where the limits are. Those things also save testing time too and are not part
of any documentation (except the Wx book by Julian Smart & co.
L<http://www.wxwidgets.org/docs/book/>, but thats solely for C++ programmers,
which is a parallel universe).
But once you read this volume and know the concepts and limits you will need a
different kind of book - namely quick reference material. I think a specialized
application which allows to browse the class hierarchy, displays according
working snippets and has advanced features like tabs and bookmarks would be ideal.
However, there is no such app yet. Guess we found our primary demo app that will
be built during the chapters and a remedy against meaningless examples. Its the
professional version of the programm from "WxPerl in Details". And when we do it
right it might become a general purpose documentation viewer for the benefit of
all CPAN modules and even Perl itself. This is a full fledged free software
effort and some code seen here will end up on CPAN too. The first small step
in that direction was the tiny module C<Tie::Wx::Widget> developed May till
December 2011. To include comparisons with all the toolkits I know virtually
nothing about, like Tk(x), GTK, Qt and Prima will also need a joint effort.
And to be complete I will sprinkle some design lesson here and there.
I believe in beauty of colors and proportion and visited even a class in
university about that subject.
One last word about Kephra, to which PCE was renamed into long ago. It not only
started my Wx adventure, but still impels my interest in Wx. Even taking the
projects into account I don't want to write about, it is by far the largest
WxPerl program I have written. Its just natural that I will mention here my most
valuable experience from that.
Some people fear the unholy editor wars but I assume my readers are smart enough
to handle different opinions. And I have very strong ones when it comes to text
editors and IDEs. Nonetheless I do not recommend any certain one to do the
examples with. It is only easier for you if it can hold several files at once
and does run your code within the editor.
While writing these lines I'm also in the middle of a major rewrite to overhaul
most parts to create an editor of a new kind. I know that's bold, but I hope I
can inspire you to also write an App not seen on this earth yet.