perl [was: in defense of Java, again]

Shane Hathaway shane at
Fri Jan 27 10:06:05 MST 2006

Jonathan Ellis wrote:
> Which is the long way of saying, I hope the the distinction between
> "putting down Perl" and "putting down Perl programmers" is not lost
> here.

Well, you put down programmers, not the language, when you said "That's 
why these days you mostly see sysadmins and other not-really-experienced 
developers using Perl."  Even if no one in the group takes such a remark 
personally, it's more likely to invite flames than useful discussion.  I 
think most of us don't like to wade through flames.

> Look, if a language is known primarily for being prone to degenerate
> into spaghetti if everyone isn't very careful, something's wrong,
> and when the best apology is pointing out that you can write bad Lisp 
> or Python or Smalltalk if you really _try_, well, I think we all know
> what that means even if some of us (obviously not me) are too polite
> to say it. :)

Personally, I'm less interested in which language is most productive and 
more interested in seeing language design experiments.  The design of a 
language strongly influences the way programmers think, and I'd like to 
discover the best ways to think.

I consider Perl to be an ongoing experiment with only early conclusions. 
  I used to think that the C experiment was complete, but then I wrote 
some microcontroller code last year using CC5X, which implements a 
variant of C.  This variant has no pointers.  It turned out to be easier 
to write than JAL, a high level language designed for microcontrollers. 
  I was quite surprised; clearly there's something there for me to learn.


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