perl [was: in defense of Java, again]

Ross Werner ross at
Fri Jan 27 10:47:11 MST 2006

On Fri, 27 Jan 2006, Jonathan Ellis wrote:
> 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

Where I'm confused is that through this entire conversation you haven't 
pointed to a single example of a way that Perl is "prone to degenerate 
into spaghetti". Every major Perl project I've looked at, the code has 
been surprisingly easy to read. I gave you my example of frozen bubble and 
haven't received a response, not even a "Well that's obviously an example 
where the programmers were REALLY careful and managed not to fall into all 
of the Evil Traps that exist for the poor, ignorant Perl programmer."

I know it's de rigeur these days to bash Perl for being unreadable 
("obfuscated Perl contest? Isn't that redundant?"), but I have yet to see, 
in a major project, this idea of Perl being "prone to degenerate into 

*What*, exactly, about the language causes this? And can you find any 
examples of how it's true in projects out there? Surely your opinions must 
be based on some feature in the language that you see time and time again 
being abused and turning otherwise decent code into an unreadable mess?

 	~ Ross

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