perl [was: in defense of Java, again]

Ross Werner ross at
Fri Jan 27 12:52:36 MST 2006

On Fri, 27 Jan 2006, Gregory Hill wrote:
>> I can't speak for Jonathan, and I'm not a perl hater, but I would say
>> that perl is (or at least can be) messy because the syntax is too
>> rich.  There are too many ways to express the same thing.
> Wow, someone's hit the nail on the head finally.  Some people like being
> told how to think.  Others like to express themselves.  I, for one,
> quite enjoy the looseness of Perl's syntax.  To each his own.

I hear this argument a lot against Perl ("the syntax is too rich") but I 
don't see how it leads to unreadable code. I mean, let's say you have a 
large project and in one file, code typically uses lots of "[exp] if 
[exp]" and "[exp] unless [exp]", and in another file it typically uses "if 
([exp]) { }" and "if (![exp]) { }" instead.

Maybe you can argue against this from an aesthetics standpoint, but I 
don't see how it makes the code any less readable.

Again, does anyone have any *actual* real-life examples of how Perl's 
"more than one way to do it" philosophy leads to unreadable code??

 	~ Ross

p.s. I'm a Perl-hater too, by the way, lest anybody think I am the Perl 
Defender from Hell. I just hate it for completely different reasons, as 
I've never seen unreadable Perl code in large, real-world projects.

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