Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Why Learn Perl? Interview 3 - Savio Dimatteo, Established Perl Developer

For the last six months Geekuni has been in the Beta phase. Several dozen people have taken my Perl Essentials and Web Development courses, giving me helpful feedback on the course content and technology. As market research I've interviewed a few of my graduates to understand what motivates people to learn Perl. I'm sharing these interviews to provide a glimpse of the future Perl community.


Savio and I have bumped into each other at a number of London.pm meetups and we've both worked for the same company (Lokku). Savio has presented a number of talks and contributed to CPAN on things like Geo-coding and CSS Sprites, so it goes without saying that I was flattered that an expert like Savio decided to take (and complete) my Web Development course.  This interview is my opportunity to meet the man behind the code...

Savio, reading your LinkedIn profile, I've learnt you studied in Bologna (Italy), you live in Heidelberg (Germany) and you have had jobs in both London (UK) and around Barletta (Italy). How did you come to be so spread-out and do you ever consider consolidating your identity in just one or two locations?:)

The choice of living and working into yet another place has traditionally been driven by the type of study or job I decided to do next. I think it has been an enriching experience overall. And yes, I do consider taking a break and settling in one location. Perhaps Heidelberg is my final destination? :-)

What motivated you to take my Web Development course? What were you hoping to learn and did you find what you were looking for?

I was mainly attracted by the "learning by doing" approach of your course. It works well when I learn about new technologies. Also, choosing Dancer as the subject of the course came as a natural choice at the time. During the weekend I used to play with Django to keep myself fit with Python, and at Lokku I was using Perl for web development. I really had no excuse to not go for such an effective Dancer course!

You've got a great deal of interesting technologies under your belt - Java, Python/Django, Hadoop and MapReduce... How would you describe Perl Dancer2 to someone familiar with these technologies thinking of adding Perl to their repertoire? In particular, how would you compare Python/Django with Perl/Dancer?

If you have thought about adding Perl to your repertoire you are going to be amazed by its flexibility and power already. With Dancer you are going to build web applications that take full advantage of this. Structuring your idea into a web app will be a clean, simple process, and great Dancer plugins are frequently being released on CPAN to assist you. How will you exactly expand the structure of your web app? You choose.

In Django, the overall process is more guided. You are strongly encouraged to develop your web application in a certain way. It takes some more effort than Dancer to learn and get started with an initial, simple web app in Django. In my opinion you can see the benefits of using Django when you are dealing with large projects.

Considering your broad technical background, do you have any hobby projects you'd like to share with us? If you find some extra time on your hands, what's the next technology you want to learn, and why?

Being a fan of the chess game, in my spare time I work on my own C chess engine, and a C/OpenGL chessboard

During the high schools I had built this ASP e-commerce website for a family business, which is now a more modern Django project. My personal website is another project built in spare time. You should definitely check out my GitHub profile for other projects.

A while a go we've started to improve our Javascript code base at Lokku. So at the moment I'm pretty much into the Javascript/jQuery world. I'd really like to find some time to have a play with Node and client-side frameworks like Angular.js and React.js!

It's great to see Perl developer with a broad and deep familiarity with the surrounding technologies. You can be sure I'll be seeking your advice on the next set of courses for Geekuni!

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