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Re: I want you to convince me to learn Perl

by pemungkah (Priest)
on Oct 01, 2013 at 22:10 UTC ( #1056544=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to I want you to convince me to learn Perl

At the moment, I write both for a living. They're both good and useful languages, and it's more important - at least for me - to focus on what you get as opposed to the way you express it.

Perl has CPAN, and a very large community around that; you'll almost always be able to find a module that will get 80% of your work done. Then you only need to write the other 80%.

Python tends to, in my experience, have islands that are meticulously implemented and tested, where everything is simple and straightforward, easy as pie; and chunks of Terra Incognita outside those islands, where the dragons can be fearsome indeed. The 80-80 rule tends to apply just as much in Python, except you're more likely to find someone on Stack Overflow who has a solution or at least a link to a suggestion.

One anecdotal thing: I often find, because of Python's "there's only one right and obvious way to do it" philosophy, that refactoring is often much simpler than it would be in Perl, simply because similar code is much more often close to identical, making it much easier to spot the places you should refactor.

I find Perl's test tooling much simpler to use than Python's, simply because you can get tests written in very few lines with very little scaffolding. The more you lower the barrier to actually writing tests, the more tests you are likely to write.

So learning either will be of benefit; they're both useful tools; I feel I've actually gained a lot of insight by being considerably more bilingual than I used to be. Often I can see a better solution in one language by briefly considering a problem in the other, even if it's "wow, this is so much harder in language 1; I can just do X in language 2...which is probably what I should have been doing in the first place!"


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