Perl, perl –or– PHP or die, eh…? Wait a second, I’m thinking!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Camel bones

I’m supposed to be writing about Perl once per week. I didn’t this week. What I did do, however, is update HTML::Truncate to work a bit better—I think I’m ready to recommend its use—and fix to have a nice set of Perl feeds on the splash which also meant updating RSSycklr.

While we’re boostering for anything except Java, let us take a moment to note that The Programming Language with the Happiest Users was not Ruby; Python neither. And there are plenty of us who would not be programmers at all if we couldn’t work with Perl.

So, if you are a new hacker considering where to direct your energies, you can listen to buzz or you can listen to those of us who love what we do and don’t go shoving it in everyone’s faces all the time. Or not, you know… there are plenty of good languages and if you think Perl isn’t good enough for you, well, “fair enough.”

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Re: Perl, perl –or– PHP or die, eh…? Wait a second, I’m thinking!

I've recently worked with Ruby for the first time because I started using Watir: a browser automation tool. Ruby's capabilities astonished me, but I can also see it being easily abused and made incomprehensible by coders thinking they're being l33t.

And what's your beef with Java?!

By jody on 13 May 2009 · 07:28
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A is A

Re^2: Perl, perl –or– PHP or die, eh…? Wait a second, I’m thinking!

Ruby, as I understand it, I’ve barely played with it, is a terrific language. It has some major things I see as problems: it’s the slowest, I think by far, high level language, it lacks (or until recently lacked) native utf8 support, and its third party code base and support is all hype. People talk about how hot Ruby and Rails are but can’t point to anything other than the notoriously unreliable Twitter as a Rails driven site of any serious size.

Still, I know a lot of Perl kids, some very smart ones, who have mostly switched to Ruby. This was pre-Moose though so…

My beef with Java almost exactly mirrors my beef with Eric Clapton. I don’t hate Eric. He’s a perfectly good player who has written some great songs. What I do hate is the hype around him. He is considered by many to be the greatest guitarist ever. He’s not even in the top 1,000. So, I bash him. Not because I think he’s bad but because I don’t like the hype.

In addition to Java’s marketing driven hype, I don’t like the semi-object oriented nature, the lack of closures, and the Java’s fine. I’m just sick of hearing how it’s better than everything else when it lacks many of the capabilities of most other high level languages (Python, Ruby, Perl, even PHP) and until not that long ago it was the blue-ribbon winner for the slowest.

For 20 years Perl folks have heard, Perl sucks, Perl’s slow, Perl’s unreadable… and we all say, “Whatever.” Instead of “whatever” there is a drive to respond, “The Hell you say.” Well, that’s how I interpret it. :)

By A is A on 13 May 2009 · 18:04
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A is A


I’ve commented 2 or 3 times at SWT in the last couple months and had them never appear. I’m too lazy to remember to complain.

By A is A on 13 May 2009 · 18:54
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Re: Perl, perl –or– PHP or die, eh…? Wait a second, I’m thinking!

Ruby IS one of the slowest interpreted languages I've encountered, but I think that's partly due to its ability to compile itself at run-time; that is, you can change code as it's running, say changing a variable's scope as the program is running. Scary.

Ruby's source code (C) is available for scrutinizing, if one feels inclined to optimize it.

I've rarely worked with open source languages (eg. Perl, Ruby, etc) in my 20ish years of programming. Microsoft's .NET crap is surprisingly popular, and Java seems to be mainly utilized in enterprise-level applications. I've recently worked with clients who have embraced open source, utilizing PHP, Perl, Linux... it's a nice change, but those shops tend to be home-grown businesses who aren't in the "corporate" mindset - their IT managers aren't dictated by upper-level management who think they know something about IT because they read it on CNN's Technology section.

I don't have the same impression of Java, but then I work with it, so I may be biased. I've had no need to work with Perl, so I haven't. In any case, I still prefer non-interpreted languages. C and assembly FTW - no bloated distributed run-time libraries needed.

> I’ve commented 2 or 3 times at SWT in the last couple months

Are you still pitching penis enlargement pills? I took a look today in the Spam pile and didn't see any from you, but they're automatically purged regularly, too. Tommyboy will be disappointed.

By jody on 14 May 2009 · 04:45
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