Better Perl

Iain Barnett iainspeed at
Mon Apr 7 14:50:22 BST 2008

On 7 Apr 2008, at 9:27 am, Dave Cross wrote:
> Quoting Iain Barnett <iainspeed at>:
> Personally, I'm all in favour of renaming Perl 6. Ain't gonna  
> happen tho'.

Why not? (sincerely asked)

>> - Do what Apple have done with their business model (and M$ with  
>> their
>> developer support) - which is produce a vertical model for perl. So
>> newbies can get started within minutes, no /(f|m)ucking/ around with
>> the command line. The advanced people are more advanced and can just
>> get on with it.
> I'm probably being a bit thick here, but what is a "vertical  
> model". What exactly needs to change in order for newbies to get  
> started within minutes?

Horizontal is choice, like the pc - you can pick any NIC, any  
motherboard, any RAM... Apple use the vertical - one OS, all the  
parts are chosen for you. You don't get to choose the latest super  
dooper graphics card, but all the drivers work, everything just  
works, quickly (and well).

Starting up on Perl is very horizontal, choice is it's central  
philosophy, but it's also becoming a weakness - as others have a more  
vertical model (Python, Ruby). If there was a vertical model for the  
beginners, perhaps where they were shepherded away from choice (This  
Is The Way To Do It), and then as they get more advanced show them  

> Do you know that you can already rate CPAN modules? See http:// 
> Also CPANTS ( includes measures for  
> "has_test_pod_coverage" and "no_pod_errors". Is that a move in the  
> right direction?

Yep, I've seen it but very seldom are things rated more than twice. I  
was thinking more along the lines of auto-checking (perhaps a  
regex? ;) to how fully the docs are done - a standards checker, if  
you like.
Maybe several scores - one for tests, one for docs, one for ratings,  
one for downloads? Otherwise it ends up like the Amazon book reviews,  
I loved it = 5, I didn't like it = 1.

> As Jonathan Stowe hinted at in his reply to you. The Perl community  
> is volunteer-driven. Many of your suggestions are really good ones  
> and the best way to make them happen is to get involved. You  
> obviously have a lot of ideas. I'd love to see you follow them  
> through.
> Cheers,
> Dave...

Well, in fact, I already am trying to. I've started learning Java and  
reading up on Eclipse so that I can help with these projects, as I do  
see them as important. But having read the docs so far, I'm a way off  
being any help yet! - I'm not a Java programmer and I don't  
particularly want to be, but I can see the benefits to others so I'm  
willing to make the effort.

I'm not being critical for the sake of it. I am trying to get  
involved, and part of that is suggesting, as a relative newcomer to  
the language, some of the things I think could be improved. It's not  
to take away from the outstanding contribution that's already been made.

> But, as I understand it, many other languages are now incorporating  
> Perl-style regular expressions. So, whilst that doesn't help  
> newbies, it does mean it will be less of a problem for people  
> coming to Perl from other languages.

I actually got into perl (partially) because I liked the C# regexes,  
which were a complete copy of the perl syntax. But most non-perl  
developers I know rarely use them. I've got a very intelligent, very  
skilled programming mate who designed a parser by using basic string  
functions and moving through the characters one by one because he  
wanted to avoid regex!

I had to bite my lip :)


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