NB: These pages were mostly written in 2001 or so. The résumé dates are accurate but the code is aged and unlike whiskey, 8 year-old code doesn't usually taste better. For a look at my current skills and to see my CPAN modules, sample code, and code discussions, please see these pages instead: Perl resources and sample code and PangyreSoft.
Frequently asked questions
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Just the FAQs, ma’am

What is this?
This is my résumé site. I am Ashley Pond V. You can find sections and links to various pages on both sidebars. Most of what you’ll find is sample Perl code with some design as well.

Can I see samples of your work?
You are looking at one right now. All the code and layout for these pages is original. For more, there is sample code and a large selection of sample design.

Why are you better than anyone else?
I know how users work. Most software developers have no idea whatsoever. There are coders who understand subtleties of parsing, memory management, and compilers that I don’t; that’s why I write Perl and not Playstation2 code. I write better programs than many of them because I focus on the use of the software, not just on how it works in the background. There are big sites out there where you can break their search engine by searching for a blank space (" ") because their developers aren’t thinking about their code being misused. Code is always misused. It’s on the developer to make it as bombproof as possible.

“Some of the biggest, most important sites have problems. Google™ has a pretty major user interface bug.”

Some of the biggest, most important sites have these kinds of problems. As of this writing, Google™ has a pretty major user interface bug. If you type in certain punctuation characters or punctuation delimited characters, or even just nothing at all and hit “Google Search,” you get neither results (their conscious choice to not provide them) nor feedback (this is the UI bug, and it’s a fairly atrocious one). See it yourself. You need to inform the user what’s going on. Any form that gives no feedback at all when it is submitted is a broken one.

If I have to research something to finish your job, i.e. I don’t know how to do a part of it and have to find how, I’m not going to charge you for that time. I also know quite a few freelancers who do code and design and if I can’t help you, I might be able to hook you up with someone who can.

I don’t know any Perl and I’d like to hire you but I’m worried I won’t be able to maintain or edit your scripts.
I customize any work I do for the user, not for how I would use it. If you have the need for extra, simplified, or web-based admin features in code, that is no problem at all. I will not leave you with anything you can’t handle and I won’t try to mislead you about things you don’t understand.

I’m learning Perl. Can you help me with a script?
Good going. Perl rocks! It doesn’t hurt to ask for help (mail me). Please try some of the beginner Perl lists and read all of perldoc perltoc that you can understand. Perl has an amazing base of user contributed documentation and is one of the easiest programming languages to get up and running in. There’s also PHP, which is great, but you’ll soon find yourself hitting walls of what the language can do compared to its city cousins Perl, Python, Java, etc.

Do you want to work on a project with me, not for me?
Sounds interesting. Drop me a line.

Do you have a tutorial?
Not as such. Please see all the code samples. Some are geared toward the basics and might help you out. You should also visit the sites in this page’s footer.

You mentioned consulting but you don’t have pages for it.
I have a fairly low opinion of consultants in general. They tend to know absolutely nothing except how to fill out an Excel sheet of random observations, bullet point some common sense recommendations, and put a stamp on a bill because they’ll be in another time zone when you are ready to do anything they suggested.

That said, I would love to consult on your next web project. I have experience that could save you a lot of time, money, and pain on your next small to medium sized site (a dozen to a few thousand pages).

I looked at the Devil’s Dictionary X™ and majenta. Did you do them?
I did all the HTML via Perl and some of the writing. The first versions were put up a 11 years ago already. What’s up now is much more polished and pleasant to look at though majenta is up as an archive and not with navigation in mind. The writing is the work of about 20 different writers and several editors between 1990 and today.

There is also a nice Amazon.com associate shopping site called Sage which I built on assignment.

Do you do Windows?
I’ve done some Perl scripting on Windows and generally it’s easy and fairly transparent. If you have a simple project to run on a Windows box, no problem. If you have a complicated application you need Perl help with on Windows, I’m probably not your man.

You code well for a woman.
That’s sexist and inaccurate. Ashley has been a boy’s name for 300 years. The “V” is in my name for a reason. I suppose naming your daughter Steve might make it a girl’s name eventually too. Don’t write me thinking you’re gonna score on a programming chick. I wouldn’t bring it up if it didn’t happen. Too often.

How good a programmer are you, really?
I am an advanced programmer, not yet a Perl guru but getting closer. I am exceptionally creative and good at visualizing problems from all angles which makes my deliverables better than those of many coders who might have a deeper understanding of computer science than I do. I’m also aware of my limitations. If I can’t do something I won’t try to talk you into paying me to try.

What’s with the copyright? Perl’s open source. Can’t I use your code for free?
Yes, but if you are using it for anything professional, please ask first. I have a personal set of ethics and there are certain places I would prefer not to see my work go. Perl is open source by choice. An open source community only works as long as there is respect for the choices individuals make. Otherwise it’s a bully community ruled by the tyranny of the majority. The majority of any group comprises muffinheads. This is why we have the Bill of Rights, to protect persons from people. I’m not about money for some 20-line code snippet I wrote, I just want to know where it’s going.

What hardware/software do you use?
This site runs on Linux. I work on another that’s FreeBSD, which I like really well.

At home I use Macintoshes and have been using them since 1988. You can get a good PC cheap and a farm of bad ones running Linux for cheaper but I love Mac. They’ve always been better computers (their chips generally outperform Intel at 1/2 the clock speed). They just don’t have as much general-use software support or as big a protection racket behind them.

I run OS X on two dual G4s and have a couple legacy Macs lying about. Lots of open source software like mySQL and Apache compiled with mod_perl; also some publishing, typography, graphics and web, music sequencing and recording software, et cetera, in 8, 9, and X.

How did you do this site?
With Template::Toolkit and a lot of CSS. The code samples are colored via Syntax::Highlight::Perl and the POD is generated with a combination of that module and a subclass I wrote of the lovely Sean Burke’s Pod::Simple.

Shade All the raw pages for editing and composition are in plaintext TT2 (Template::Toolkit) with a little extra meta information in them for the section linking and layout. A single script parses them and runs them through the Template->process(). Finally I apply a little of my own formatting in the vein of this smart quoter.

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Text, original code, fonts, and graphics ©1990-2009 Ashley Pond V.