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What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??

by mrmick (Curate)
on May 30, 2002 at 19:20 UTC ( #170489=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello fellow Monks,

I'm ashamed to say that it's been a long time since I have logged in here. The "real" world had taken priority for a while but I promise to come and visit more often. This has been a great place where one could talk to others who share the same passion - PERL PROGRAMMING! :-)

Now to the meditation part:

I had recently visited ActiveState again and see that they are really pushing Visual Perl for Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET. (I also noticed that they put a bit of a hefty price tag on it - but that's another matter for another time).

What are the benefits of integrating this wonderfully robust language called Perl into Visual Studio? It seems (although I may be mistaken) that this 'plug-in' as they call it is only meant for web programming. Perl is MUCH MORE than a web programming language.

How well does Perl perform on this platform? Can we add and use modules?

What I'm asking from everyone here is to share your opinions. You may not agree with me but that's what makes this all fun and informative.

Mick

Comment on What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??
Re: What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??
by tlhf (Scribe) on May 30, 2002 at 21:57 UTC
    Well, taken from the ActivePerl site;

    Visual Perl is the high-productivity Perl plug-in for Visual Studio .NET. Powerful, Perl-specific features within the familiar Visual Studio environment provide ease of use and accelerated development cycles.

    Visual Perl integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio .NET, allowing programmers to fully leverage the features of Microsoft's popular development tool suite.


    It really just allows one to use the Visual Studio.net IDE for programming Perl. I used the beta, and thought it was ok, but to be honest my PC is kinda slow (Cyrix 300) and lacking on ram, so I didn't really get to grips with it that much. It offered a lot of functionallity, and is probably nice if you're gonna code Perl along side one of the .Net languages.

    It's not really a 'platform' as such, as an editor, like Emacs or VIM. As for your other queries: You can use as many perl modules as you like (although ActivePerl users generally use PPM and not CPAN). And it isn't just for web programming, you can code whatever you like, I don't know what gave you the impression that it was aimed specifically at web development.

    So, to some up - it's just an IDE. If you like Visual Studio, and don't mind the price, go for it. If you prefer ViM or Emacs, then don't go for it :). I myself kinda like ViM, but do almost all of my web programming in Editplus, mainly because all the unix desktops are too slow to be usable on this PC.

    To be honest, I find the PerlNet component in the Perl Development Kit to be much more interesting. That allows one to use Perl as a .Net language, in much the same way that Jython allows one to write Java bytecode in Jython.
      Doesn't the PerlNet component just link the native Windows version of Perl with .NET with a bit of glue to allow them to call each other? Perl is not running on the .NET VM, is it?

      If so, then if you use Perl on .NET it won't be portable to other platforms (like Mono, or Parrot's .NET emulation). Ironic, ain't it?

        Well, to be honest, it might, I don't know a massive amount about it. I played with it a bit on my pc, and it worked fine without any noticible deviations from .Net, so I assumed that's how it worked.

        Do you have any urls where I could read up on this?
        Doesn't the PerlNet component just link the native Windows version of Perl with .NET with a bit of glue to allow them to call each other?

        Yes.

        Perl is not running on the .NET VM, is it?

        No.

        then if you use Perl on .NET it won't be portable to other platforms

        Er, maybe im confused by what you mean by this, but the previous two answers (which you asked rhetorically, so you know this already) clearly indicate that the perl code you write using the .NET IDE, so long as it doesnt utilize other .NET features should be just as (non)portable as the same code written using Emacs, Ultraedit or the commandline. Why should the fact that youve used the activestate IDE change anything?

        Yves / DeMerphq
        ---
        Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.

Re: What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??
by demerphq (Chancellor) on May 31, 2002 at 08:51 UTC
    (I also noticed that they put a bit of a hefty price tag on it - but that's another matter for another time).

    Actually I'd like to address this one now if you dont mind.

    Activestate has been a long term champion of Perl, they have put serious programming and marketing effort into making Perl a competetive language in one of the largest software markets there is. Its arguable that Activestates work with Microsoft has legitimized the use of perl in many enviornments where it would have otherwise been forbidden. They have put considerable effort into improving perl on the Win32 platform, they have employed at least a couple of perl gurus (Gurusamy Sarathy & Dominus when the latter wrote the regex debugger) and they did so before YAS offered funding to the likes of TheDamian and Elian and Larry Wall. They release a perfectly capable and free version of Perl (one that is used I have no doubt by a considerable, if not the majority of the monks here).

    Considering all of this I for one do not begrudge ActiveState charging what is necessary to keep themselves afloat in these difficult times and ensuring that these very same programmers can make a living. And frankly I resent the implication (made not only by you but by others as well) that they are not entitled to do so.

    I for one am very happy that ActiveState maintains its focus on Perl, and that they are continually trying to push new boundaries and produce new and exciting products. I hope they continue to do so, and I hope the community of Win32 Perl users dont take that effort for granted.

    Regarding the rest of your post VisualPerl is simply an IDE for perl that lives within the .NET framework. It can everything that normal perl can do and (a few things extra). It has a powerful regex and code debugger. In short I think its a good buy if you already have dot net to use. (Our team was impressed enough that we got our normally parsimonious company to buy us four seats.)

    Yves / DeMerphq
    ---
    Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.

      I have to agree with demerphq.

      I find such statements quite hypocritical. A large number of the people on this site are paid to code Perl, and an even larger number mention regularly that they would love to be paid to code Perl.

      All ActiveState is doing is looking to be paid for their work. If you don't feel their work is worth paying for then don't buy it.

      First of all, I am NOT begrudging ActiveState being compensated for the effort they have put into any project that they may have. They have done a wonderful job porting Perl to WIN32 and any tools that they create as added value are certainly worth being compensated for.

      My comment about the price tag was simply me noticing that there was considerable cost for this and not yet knowing what value this would bring me. I get paid to program. I expect others to get paid to program. I just was not, and still not certain, about what I would be paying for in this case. There is nothing hypocritical about wanting to know what you will be paying for. Would you buy a house or a car without understanding what it will do for you? No matter what the cost, everything is an investment and should be treated as such.

      Before you start resenting what you think someone has implied, be certain of what they mean.

      Mick
        First of all, I am NOT begrudging ActiveState being compensated for the effort they have put into any project that they may have.

        Ok.

        My comment about the price tag was simply me noticing that there was considerable cost for this and not yet knowing what value this would bring me.

        No. That may have been what you _meant_ but it wasnt what you said. I quote (with added emphasis)

          (I also noticed that they put a bit of a hefty price tag on it - but that's another matter for another time).
        The phrase 'hefty price tag' to me implies that you think it is overpriced. (And yes, I can hear you saying 'hefty' meant that its a lot of money. Well how can you know its a lot of money if you dont (as you admit) know anything about it?) This view is further reinforced by your following phrase, where you imply that the subject of their pricing is matter that should be discussed and debated at a later time. If you didnt think that the matter was contentious then I doubt you would have said either. No matter, the point here being that you can't fault me, (and others) from reading what we did into your words.

        There is nothing hypocritical about wanting to know what you will be paying for

        Of course not. But then again you didnt say "For me the price is quite expensive, is it worth it?" Perhaps that was what meant to imply, but obviously the message wasn't recieved as intended, which I would say is usually a good indication of an unfortunate choice of words.

        Before you start resenting what you think someone has implied, be certain of what they mean.

        *Caugh* I certainly try to give writers the benfit of the doubt, but in writing and reading there is _never_ certainty, and IMO the burden of clarity is on the author and not the reader. In future if you wish to avoid such misconceptions then perhaps you should avoid phrases that even if they arent meant to come across as innuendo and insinuation.

        Yves / DeMerphq
        ---
        Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.

Re: What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??
by theorbtwo (Prior) on May 31, 2002 at 08:58 UTC

    I can't say much about perl.NET in purticular (never used it or .NET), but I can share a little about activestate in general.

    You'd think that since one of the goals of perl6 (via parrot) is making pretty much every language that activestate is involved with run under a common runtime and interoperlate well, that activestate would have some of their people working on perl6 and parrot.

    They have zero involvment.

    I think that this belies somthing about their community involvement.


    We are using here a powerful strategy of synthesis: wishful thinking. -- The Wizard Book

Re: What do you think about ActiveState's Visual Perl .NET??
by c-era (Curate) on May 31, 2002 at 14:00 UTC
    Having actually purchased and developed with perlnet and visual perl, here are my comments:

    Visual Perl

    I personally didn't like this product very much. I ended up just writting my code in vim and then creating a new project with exsisting files just to package it up for the installer.

    Perl.Net

    Calling .net objects from perl is easy enough, and this alone is worth the money to get a decent gui on win32 (if you develop commercially). Although most of the other .net libraries already exist for perl. I actually wrote my gui in c# so I could use the gui editor and then called my perl code from c#.

    Making calls to perl code from c++, c#, or vb only takes a little modification of your perl code. The problem I ran into was complex data structures. I had lots of trouble passing HoH and AoH data structures between c# and perl. I ended up writing an iterater to navigate the structure.

    Activestate NEEDS more documentation. While they do have some, it is not nearly enough and sparse at times. Another problem is finding the dlls required for distribution (the answer is on the perlnet mailing list now).

    I also ran across some bugs, but activestate has put the fixes in their current version (it took about two weeks to get a bug fix).

    Overall, I think it is a good product. It has issues, but it is also a fairly new product. The ability to use c++, c# and vb with perl is very nice (easier then writing xs) and helps open to door for more people to use perl in their projects.

      Well i have tested the ActiveState Visual (dot net) Perl and it's cool thing to write .net perl .Shure microsotf is going to the c # and they don't care the other languages (only vb) .It's to hard to write .net perl appz yet but hope one day to have an perl ide equal with ms net ide (yes the one we do C$# and vb dont net). I have a vision : one day to use the perl,pascal,php,python,java on a single virtual machine (OVM -Open Sorce Virtual Machine) :Mono ?(http://www.go-mono.com) or maybe the Sun could bring those languages on the Java vm I tell u :tried Component Pascal on the Java.vm and .net vm and is Hard Work to write aplications on java vm in another language .
        You vision is the same as mine (use any languages together), that is why I can't wait for parrot. If you haven't yet, you should really check out the parrot mailing list.

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