Thoughts on Perl6

Greg Hill greg at
Sun Aug 14 11:46:08 MDT 2005

"...but I'ld also say at least 25% of my programming time is spent 
FIXING, apps that were originally sent to some offshore outsourcing 
firm, for peanuts and maybe a bag of chips, that firm then botches the 
job royaly and I'm hired to "make it work"."

Well, it might have fewer bugs if they could program in their native 
language, so then they don't lose understanding to their weak english 
skills.  Just a thought.

"Sorry but in those cases the idea of having to look at 1,000,000 lines 
of code in Sinhalese much less debug it, sends a shiver down my spine..."

It's perl, what perl app has a million lines of code?  More like 10,000, 
if it's a big app :P  Besides, there are perl5 modules that let you code 
in unicode already, so it's not exactly a 'new' feature.  It's just 
going to be built in to the language next time around.  (someone correct 
me if I'm wrong about that, but there is a utf8 module, and supposedly 
it lets you code in unicode, from my understanding).

Anyway, I imagine you could easily translate the source to english 
(there are unicode translation programs around, right?).  So, then you'd 
be left with broken english, which is what you would've had to begin 
with anyway.  Besides, most technologies have the ability to be abused, 
but IMO the benefits are far greater.  Think about what Alan was 
mentioning with mathematical formulas.  You could make a +/- operator, 
have it return a junction of both results and all of your math would 
come out as expected.  That's insane.  Tell me another language that 
lets you do that easily.

As for the Perl bashing, I feel I need to throw in my 2 cents.  I hope 
it doesn't encourage another huge flame war, but if it does, it does.

I, for one, believe in the TIMTOWTDI mentality.  I like not having 
arbitrary restrictions forced upon me by the language.  I want the 
programming language to work for me, not against me.  That's what it's 
for, right?  To let me do what I want more easily.  That's the real goal 
of Perl, to let you do what you want to, regardless of whether your 
behavior is self-destructive.  You wanna kill yourself, go ahead, here's 
10 ways you can do it, pick your favorite.

I don't have trouble reading other people's Perl code.  If you can't, 
then perhaps you just need to learn the language better.  It might take 
me staring at it a while to figure it out, but that's most of the fun of 
programming (figuring things out).  And believe me, I've looked through 
some seriously nasty Perl code (anyone heard of interchange?).

Perl does have its own share of problems, I'll admit, but I have yet to 
see any valid argument against it on this list (hint, if you want to 
bash Perl, talk about the OO syntax).  Perl6 will fix every real problem 
with Perl and give us hundreds of new things to toy around with.  I, for 
one, am excited.

And I can't believe that someone was bashed for being a sysadmin. 
That's just sad.


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