Better Perl

Nicholas Clark nick at
Sun Apr 6 21:13:28 BST 2008

On Sun, Apr 06, 2008 at 08:41:52PM +0100, Jonathan Tweed wrote:
> On 6 Apr 2008, at 18:13, Nicholas Clark wrote:
> >On Sun, Apr 06, 2008 at 05:11:45PM +0100, Jonathan Tweed wrote:
> >
> >>* It's hard to hire good people and getting harder.
> >
> >This is good people who know Perl, or good people generally?
> It's always hard to get good people, but it's even harder to get good  
> Perl people. With fewer people learning Perl and instead learning  
> Python or Ruby there are fewer people becoming interested in the  
> language in the first place.

It may not be just Python and Ruby. I think that there was also the the
problem that post 2001 some people kept liking Perl, so were prepared to be
paid less to work on Perl, with the result that many Perl jobs paid less
(and were able to pay less) than than (say) Java jobs to get the same
calibre of person. So people don't go into Perl for the money, which also
reduces the talent pool.

> Not sure on Python, but PHP has corporate backing from IBM. I wonder  
> if part of the problem is that Perl people tend to stick to Perl  
> conferences and events. Maybe if a few more Perl people were openly  
> active in wider communities such as the agile and web worlds there  
> might be a bit more mindshare there.

I know that the world tour included UKUUG this year, and there
were a lot of Perl talks. Also OSCON's Perl track (and talks) are looking
stronger this year than last year.

I guess that part of the problem is that the Perl community is too damn good
at putting on Perl conferences and workshops, so most people are satisfied
(often in their native languages) by these.

Maybe we should get less good at this :-)
But then we can't put that as a plus point of Perl.

> I suspect I might get groans by using Ruby as an example, but take a  
> look at It's not just about the way it  

I'd looked at, and couldn't see much that stood out as hugely
different. Although what is interesting here is that *is* the
Python foundation, whereas TPF and are distinct.

> looks, it's also about the content and structure. Interesting,  
> obvious calls to action that pull in newcomers to the language. A  
> Windows download that doesn't take you to a commercial site that puts  
> the free downloads right at the bottom of the page under a whole load  
> of pay for products. The Ruby on Rails site also features prominent,  
> inviting calls to action.

This may be viable to change now, thanks to Adam Kennedy's work on Strawberry
and Vanilla Perl.

> The Ruby site also devotes most of the page to frequently updated  
> news content about the language, showing that things are happening in  
> the community, that it is active and under current development.  
> Compare and contrast to where it looks like the site was put  
> up in 1994 and nothing has happened with the language since. If it  
> wasn't for the fact that two of the headlines have 2008 in the date I  
> would have no idea when the stories had been published.

So arguably steal the feed from perlbuzz (or even planet Perl) and make that
a central part of the site?

> The Perl community can appear extremely cliquish. Sites like use Perl  
> and PerlMonks are also pretty intimidating in appearance and in dire  
> need of a visual refresh.

I think partly Andy and Skud set up to address the issues of
appearance and cliquishness of

So we have, *and* Maybe this is part
of the problem.

Nicholas Clark

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