I am happy to report that the first part of the Raku course is completed and published. The course is available at course.raku.org.
The grant was approved a year and a half ago right before the PerlCon conference in Rīga. I was the organiser of the event, so I had to postpone the course due to high load. During the conference, it was proposed to rename Perl 6, which, together with other stuff, made me think if the course is needed.
After months, the name was settled, the distinction between Perl and Raku became clearer, and, more importantly, external resourses and services, e.g., Rosettacode and glot.io started using the new name. So, now I think it is still a good idea to create the course that I dreamed about a couple of years ago. I started the main work in the middle of November 2020, and by the beginning of January 2021, I had the first part ready.
The current plan includes five parts:
- Raku essentials
- Advanced Raku subjects
- Object-oriented programming in Raku
- Regexes and grammars
- Functional, concurrent, and reactive programming
It differs a bit from the original plan published in the grant proposal. While the material stays the same, I decided to split it differently. Initially, I was going to go through all the topics one after another. Now, the first sections reveal the basics of some topics, and we will return to the same topics on the next level in the second part.
For example, in the first part, I only talk about the basic data types:
Hash and basic usage of them. The rest, including other types (e.g.,
DateTime) and the methods such as
%hash.kv is delayed until the second part.
Contrary, functions were a subject of the second part initially, but they are now discussed in the first part. So, we now have Part 1 “Raku essentials” and Part 2 “Advanced Raku topics”. This shuffling allowed me to create a liner flow in such a way that the reader can start writing real programs already after they finish the first part of the course.
I must say that it is quite a tricky task to organise the material without backward links. In the ideal course, any topic may only be based on the previously explained information. A couple of the most challenging cases were ranges and typed variables. They both causes a few chicken-and-egg loops.
During the work on the first part, I also prepared a ‘framework’ that generates the navigation through the site and helps with quiz automation. It is hosted as GitHub Pages and uses Jekyll and Liquid for generating static pages, and a couple of Raku programs to automate the process of adding new exercises and highlighting code snippets. Syntax highlighting is done with Pygments.
Returning the to course itself, it includes pages of a few different types:
- The theory that covers the current topic
- Interactive quizzes that accomplish the theory of the topic and/or the section
- Exercises for the material of the whole section
- Answers to the exercises
The quizzes were not part of the grant proposal, but I think they help making a better user experience. All the quizzes have answers and comments. All the exercises are solved and published with the comments to explain the solution, or even to highlight some theoretical aspects.
The first part covers 91 topics and includes 73 quizzes and 65 exercises (with 70 solutions :-). There are about 330 pages in total. The sources are kept in a GitHub repository github.com/ash/raku-course, so people can send pull requiest, etc.
At this point, the first part is fully ready. I may slightly update it if the following parts require additional information about the topics covered in Part 1.
This text is a grant report, and it is also (a bit modified) published at https://news.perlfoundation.org/post/rakucourse1 on 13 January 2021.
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