Random Perl ... rant

Peter Edwards peter at dragonstaff.com
Wed Apr 2 23:20:44 BST 2008

Andrew wrote: 
>Ovid wrote:
> > 2.  Python is arguably a nicer language than Perl for many tasks and if
> people can get 
> > over their silly qualms about vertical whitespace,
>It's an interesting point because I'm one of those with silly qualms.
>I fully appreciate that there's good reason for it, and acknowledge that
yes, I do _normally_ 
>indent my code "properly" anyway so it makes no difference. I also think
that the underlying 
>implementation is rather elegant (the scanner generates indent/undent
pseudo-tokens which effectively emulate { and }).
>In fact, it's probably true to say that  90% of my dislike for it is
entirely irrational.

I dislike the use of whitespace to convey meaning because in English it is
semantically neutral beyond conveying separation. Possibly that may be a C
programming background, or having been bitten too many times by Makefiles
with spaces in instead of 1 tab. For similar reasons I dislike YAML.

I use Perl 5 mainly because I'm pragmatic and focused on delivering systems
that work and I know can be scaled and will be reliable and where I know I
can write X transactions in a certain time period. It means I can estimate
projects and quote realistically.
Up to now I've avoided Perl 6 because it's not production-ready and what I'd
heard at conferences did not enthuse me.
However, I listened to a couple of talks by Jonathon Worthington and Andrei
Shitov on Parrot in February and it was starting to look more enticing.

Python is a nice language (apart from the whitespace). When it has a library
of production-tested routines like CPAN then I might consider using it :)

Zed's blog about Ruby's performance and reliability in production was
cross-posted to a list I'm on back in January.
TBH I was aghast. And I quote
"Notice how it took me a few seconds to reply. This one single statement
basically means that we all got duped. The main Rails application that DHH
created required restarting _400 times/day. That's a production application
that can't stay up for more than 4 minutes on average."

Er... if I did that I'd be out of business pronto.

> > 3.  PHP wins, big time, because they target the Web so heavily and  >
that's *still* where the mindshare is.
>"There are many great things about PHP, but the language isn't one of
>(can't remember where I read that, but kudos to whoever wrote it)

Heh. PHP5's not bad and PHP6 will be good.

Perl seems to be in a loop where neat features from Perl 6 get retro-fitted
to Perl 5 in arcane ways. 

<shrug> at least I can sleep at night knowing I'm not using .NET

Regards, Peter

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