Perl is dead

James Laver james.laver at
Thu Dec 4 13:40:53 GMT 2008

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:59 PM, Robin Berjon <robin at> wrote:
> This is something that I don't have the technical know-how to accomplish,
> but a way of using Perl from within PHP, I'm guessing as a library
> extension, would provide a strong deployment vector into a large and
> talkative community that is often blissfully ignorant that there even is
> anything else. It would be a neat way to show cool tricks, and the power of
> CPAN. Doug MacEachern had suggested he was working on something like that
> ages ago, but I don't know if it went anywhere.

It's actually being worked on by a Zend employee:

There appear to be a few bugs to work out and the project isn't overly

The problem is that the PHP community at large have their way of doing
things and cpan modules generally don't fit into 'their way' (mostly
from an API-UI perspective, if that makes sense). Obviously Zend feel
the need for it to happen if they're spending an employee's time on
building it, but I'm not sure how much headway it will make.

Talking as the resident PHP-hater (I have a PHP day job, how could I
not hate it?), I don't think this is the way forward.

At one of the tech meets earlier in the year (the one hosted at
Outcome technologies) I gave a speech comparing PHP and Perl and
praised the ease of deployment in PHP. This is what I consider to be
one of the two problems perl faces right now. I suggested a solution
to this as well, a mod_perl replacement that behaves like mod_php
(which effectively behaves like standard cgi, but with optional
cacheing etc.). The other half of the problem is deploying modules.
Most PHP people either don't want to or can't grok the concept of
having to 'make' modules (or they don't have make installed etc. and
no permissions to install it). We can solve this one by having some
ready-made packages (pure-perl only) and a short "here's how you use
them" (use lib '~/lib/perl5').

The other half of the problem is resources that properly target
newbies. We don't have a fancy "Create a blog in 2 minutes with 4
lines of code" a la rails or "Create a wiki in 5 minutes" a la
turbogears (okay, timing and code level exaggerated, but you get the
point). Furthermore we don't have an easy introduction to cpan and
even less of an easy introduction to packaging modules for cpan. These
are still somewhat dark arts.

So I propose a four-pronged solution:

1. Create a site targeted at newbies / potential converts where we
really do teach these things to people who don't know better or that
we could potentially convert rather than people that have a few months
of perl under their belt.[1][2]
2. Create an easy distribution mechanism for pure-perl cpan packages.
This ideally should be pre-made tarballs/zips that you can just
un(tar|zip) into somewhere under ~
3. Create the mod_php clone behemoth discussed.
4. Create a catalyst handler to make it work under (3)

I'm even willing to put my laziness where my mouth is and try to get
these going, but help certainly wouldn't be amiss...

[1]This is not an attempt to rubbish existing resources which I find
to be brilliant but which aren't necessarily achieving the aim I'm
noting. I also note the perlmonks is a brilliant resource for
[2]If anyone does know of a site like this, I don't.


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