PHP versus Perl (was: Perl Grads)

Andy Armstrong andy at
Thu Jun 28 17:34:23 BST 2007

On 28 Jun 2007, at 16:53, Peter Corlett wrote:
> That "code" is actually a lot more understandable than much of
> Movable Type.
> I mean, your code has to be pretty awful if many of its users give up
> and switch to a PHP/MySQL replacement.

PHP's big wins are ubiquity and ease of deployment. "Hello World" is a
ten second job in PHP.

I was recently speaking to a vaguely technical person who's been playing
with web stuff. Clever person but complete computer noob. He's been
writing some not-as-bad-as-the-worst-I've-seen-by-far code. He didn't
really understand that PHP was a language - just thought of it as
something that web servers do. Part of the furniture. That's what Perl
(and Python probably) are up against.

PHP is convenient enough that I'm quite likely to reach for it for
quick and dirty pages and sites - you know, that code that you hope
nobody ever sees. It's the web equivalent of switching on a BBC Micro
and typing

> 10 REM My Kewl Website

I'm inclined to think that PHP has won that particular battle. For all
we're sniffy about it not being a proper language it does what it sets
out to do pretty well.

I don't think it'd hurt if we had Bundle::PerlHypertextProcessor[1] that
installed mod_perl, a load of other useful stuff and finally a gizmo
that would allow you to save

         print "Hello visitor number " . rand;

as or whatever and have it just work.

We need to get over the whole "but that'd allow ignorant people to write
nasty code!" thing and make Perl easy to use again.

[1] Preferably packaged as a .deb and .rpm too

Andy Armstrong,

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