Better Perl

Aaron Trevena aaron.trevena at
Fri Apr 4 10:00:17 BST 2008

On 04/04/2008, Jonathan Tweed <jonathan at> wrote:
> > Perl still isn't dead, it's still kicking, and it will be around for a
> > while.
>  Just like COBOL.

There really isn't any comparison.

How many people are teaching themselves COBOL, how many people are
building startups on COBOL, how many new open source projects were
written or released in COBOL this year?

> > Furthermore, I do not believe a language needs a "killer application",
> > nor a myriad of shops using said language as their main programming
> > language. Neither duct tape, nor post-it notes have a "killer application",
> > nor are the products consisting mostly of duct tape or post-it notes.
> > But noone is afraid those products are "dying".
> >
>  True, but that doesn't mean people are betting their businesses on them.
> Does that mean Perl is only useful for gluing things together, not building
> core systems?

I build core systems using Perl for a living. Not only does it pay
reasonably well (although not banking rates), there is enough work for
me to work exclusively from home. That's pretty healthy.

I think Perl moved beyond duct tape to core components a while ago, I
think Sir Brad of Danga demonstrated very well that when it comes to
building really good components (in the UNIX tradition) with a small
sprinkling of C, that it excels.

If you look at all the big web 2.0 outfits that apparently don't run
perl, you'll soon find that actually they use stuff like Perlbal,
Memcached, Mogilefs, not to mention dozens of smaller components or
applications like Bugzilla, RT, mtop, etc.

People don't build huge monoliths with Perl - unlike Java and C# it
plays well with others - it integrates with C and C++, it doesn't
require installing Enterprise Frameworks to do a simple task, and
unlike PHP componentises well.

Perl is and has been (except for a brief period in the bubble)
the cinderella of programming, getting on with the jobs nobody else
wants, getting her hands dirty and pulling more than her fair share,
while the ugly sisters are the belles of the ball.


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