In The Lost Secret of Mug-Driven Evolution, I asked "Is it reasonable to write new code in Perl right now?"
I also said "Build credible new things. Brag about them. Repeat."
It's time to do that!
While Onyx Neon still occupies a lot of my attention, I've been working with a local company called Big Blue Marble to develop small web-based businesses. This has taken me through a crash course in things like search engine optimization and statistics that I hadn't figured I'd ever need to know.
(Half the fun of small business is realizing that there's something you should have started doing months ago, that no one available has any experience with it, and that one of you has a week to get to a basic level of competence with it before you move on to the next crisis. The other half is realizing that the next time you tackle a problem like this, you'll be that much better at it.)
I've alluded to my work with financial analysis and basic financial literacy a few times now. That's part of my work at Big Blue Marble on a site called Trendshare. The big idea was to build something that our fathers would use to help them take back control of their investment portfolios. (They're smart men, but they've been for too long at the mercy of financial managers who don't have their best interests in mind, and their retirement accounts have suffered.)
I know most of my readers aren't newly retired men who've taken distributions and want to figure out where to put their money (short answer: find one or two good low-cost index funds, and then take maybe 10% and pick a couple of great stocks), and I know most of my readers are perfectly capable of building spreadsheets and pulling financial data from various APIs to measure important ratios like debt-to-equity and forward and historical PE, but we built a system that follows the Benjamin Graham value investing model, and we're pretty proud of it so far.
It's definitely closer to the minimum viable product, but what active software project isn't? Besides that, who knows if the analysis engine will prove more popular than the plain-English guide to investing that's on the site as well. Maybe people would rather read about how to invest than use tools to help them—and that's why we're announcing it now rather than later.
Almost all of the code in the project is Perl 5. I've started releasing some of the components to the CPAN. I'll continue to do so. I'd love it if you could do us a favor and tell friends and family who might have an interest in such a thing that it exists, because we'd love to get more traffic, and especially hyperlinks from lots of places. Basic user accounts are free, and we take great care to keep personal information private.
Modern Perl Whitepapers
Remember when mithaldu set up Perl Tutorials, after he noticed that too many of the top-ranking Perl pages in search engines were old, out of date, and even incorrect?
Onyx Neon recently received the domain Modern Perl Whitepapers as a generous gift from Ravi Kotecha. I decided that the world needed yet another Perl hub and have (slowly) started to add resources to help point searchers to the relevant places.
The entire site is one big SEO exercise, based on keyword research as to what people are looking for and what they're not finding well enough. (How cynical does that sound?) I do think it'll be a good resource because Onyx Neon has the flexibility to update it to match what people search for.
The code behind the site is a very silly, very simple static site generator with lots of conventions, but it seems to work very well for basic sites. I will eventually clean that up and release it too.
I'm working on an outline for an updated Perl Testing book. My plan is still to create a Kickstarter project to build up interest for it (and to give me time to focus on it full time as well as to finish releasing the book publishing tools to the CPAN.)
There will be a 2012-2013 edition of Modern Perl in the next couple of months to replace the coverage of Perl 5.10 with the coverage of Perl 5.16.
I continue to intend to finish the Little Plack Book but recommend without reservation the Plack Handbook.