The Perl Advent Calendar is an online advent calendar that features a different Perl module each day for the twenty-four days of advent, and an extra module on Christmas day. Or if you're not Christian, it's a site that annually features descriptions of a new module for twenty five days starting on the first of December.
In the words of its creator, Mark Fowler:
It all started three years ago on the 30th November, when the London Perl Mongers were having a quiet social drink in the pub. We were talking about online advent calendars and the impracticality of shipping chocolate through your web browser. I suggested that someone should do a Perl Advent calendar, where instead of chocolate or a pretty picture you get something Perl related each day.
Remembering this conversation the next day at lunchtime I quickly hacked together a Calendar and picked a module. For the first year I had nothing but links to each day and the module documentation - created with pod2html. I was surprised how popular this was. It got punted on from the London.pm mailing list to
use.perl.org, NTK, and even as far as the O'Reilly front page. Soon I was getting a lot of traffic - to put it in perspective more hits to my tiny little server than one of the UK's largest broadcasters was at the time.
So a year passed. And, Christmas, as it has a habit of doing, came round again. While I had decided to do another advent calendar, certain things it would seem were destined to thwart my efforts. The first of these was my stupidly scheduling a holiday in late November, just at the time when I needed to be working hard on improving the codebase. Still, given the choice again I think I'd still consider lying on the beach on a Caribbean island the sensible option. The second of these was a less pleasant distraction - while I was abroad the shared colo box was attacked by a cracker, meaning my friends had to do a reinstall just before the site meant to go live.
The long and the short of it was that 2001's calendar was almost as rushed as the previous year. I bodged the whole site together in a couple of days. Perl, of course, is powerful, so I got away with it and live to code another day. But this year, I was determined to do it better. I gave a quick talk of how I bodged the calendar together at a London.pm tech meet, if you're interested - the slides are online.
Earlier editions by Mark Fowler (2000—2004) are available under the Academic Free License.
For recent versions (2005 to date), unless otherwise noted, the text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License and code is available under the Artistic License or GPL 2, i.e; "the same terms as Perl itself."
We've got a whole document about how to contribute to the Perl Advent Calendar! Read it!
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