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Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"

by Steve_p (Priest)
on Dec 31, 2002 at 04:05 UTC ( #223254=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

While watching The Meaning of Life last night, I realized that, at least where I have worked, Java is the machine that goes "Ping!" Now, I'm not going to get into the argument of whether Perl is better than Java or vice versa. It's just that when management needs an update on the development work in our area, Java is all that is talked about. While we are doing some good work with Java, a very important part of the system is left out. Perl is essentially the glue that holds the system together.

For our day to day work, and scripts to actually run the system, we use Perl. Perl works much better for our purposes than any shell script to start the system up. When developing, we use Perl for our check-in/check-out scripts with RCS. Our system monitoring programs are all written in Perl. Nearly all our support tools for reporting and manipulating data within the system are written in Perl. With all this, Perl remains the ugly step-sister in our environment.

Now, this is not the first time I've run across this problem. In the environments I've worked in Java is often in the fore front, while all the work that Perl does is hidden, even from the developers' direct managers. Is this a common occurance for all of you that work in a Java/Perl environment?

Comment on Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"
Re: Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"
by djantzen (Priest) on Dec 31, 2002 at 06:06 UTC

    Do you believe that you'd talk about those glue-like subprojects and scripts more if they were written in Java? It sounds to me like your core application is written in Java, with supporting roles going to Perl. If that's the case, then the problem is likely more about representing that aspect of your project effectively to management than overcoming a language bias on their part. To management, a single large project with a proper name and associated mental image that can be sketched on a napkin for the marketing department is a far more tangible thing than a nebulous collection of command line tools you have for operating the system under the covers. It's kind of like asking your mechanic how the repairs are coming along only to hear about his method for organizing his tools. That might matter greatly to him, and to be sure it impacts the repair process, but it's not a good answer to the question "Do I have to take the bus again?"

    If you feel those aspects deserve greater attention from management, draw up a comprehensive map of how the various components fit together, showing the gaps that must be filled in. At that point you can talk about how important Perl is to the project.

      If you feel those aspects deserve greater attention from management, draw up a comprehensive map of how the various components fit together, showing the gaps that must be filled in. At that point you can talk about how important Perl is to the project.

      Frankly, it might be better to just keep quiet about Perl. If management becomes aware that massive amounts of coding is being used, there's the risk that some PHB will say, "Hmm... We should be doing that in Java."

      Sometimes, the only thing worse than a manager who doesn't know what you do is one who does.

      Wally Hartshorn

Re: Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 31, 2002 at 08:13 UTC

    I don't get it, you say:

    I'm not going to get into the argument of whether Perl is better than Java or vice versa

    But your post is just an implication that Perl is better than Java for glue code. This implication isn't backed up by anything, at all. If I misinterpreted your intent, then what was the point of the post (was there one at all?), I don't get it.

    Saying we write this, this, and this in Perl doesn't mean much to me. Please provide explanations of why Perl's so much better for the tasks and include the Perl code (and corresponding Java code) so we can analyze it ourselves.

    Better yet, before posting any Java vs. Perl threads, ask yourself "would I post this to a Java forum" and think about it for a while. This is essential to achieving REAL ULTIMATE POWER!

      Well Java does not have some of the lower level access to the system that you can get by using perl. (Every try getting a listing of PIDS and open ports to kill a runaway server in Java?) I think this boils down to: "use the right tool for each job". Java is pretty good for doing the Web Application thing (aside from the complexity of EJBs), but I would not want to write system maintance programs in Java.
        That might be a good point, except Perl is rather pretty good for the webapp arena too.. :)

        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"
by revdiablo (Prior) on Dec 31, 2002 at 08:50 UTC

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'the machine that goes Ping', and I'm not exactly sure what the point of this Meditation is. Some languages are good for glue. Some languages are good for making bosses happy. Personally, I'd be happy the language that makes your boss happy is Java. I'm sure most folks here can imagine a worse language to be forced into using. :)

    Also, I'm not so sure having some stuff written in Perl, and some stuff written in Java is such a problem. It might be an annoyance, but some would argue diversity is a very good thing. If you mean it's a problem that Java gets All The Credit, and Perl remains in the background... perhaps you're right. But at least you're free to use Perl in the background, where I think it feels most comfortable anyway.

      I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'the machine that goes Ping',

      It's a Monty Python reference. In this context it refers to his management saying a certain technology has to be used even though he perceives them to not know what they're talking about. Keyword is "perceives." They could very well be thinking of thousands of important points that he hasn't even begun to consider.

      Perhaps the poster is falling into the same trap he accuses management of?

        The machine that goes ping is the shiny thing that impresses management - in the Monty Python scene, it's a machine brought in while a woman gives birth - and all it does is go 'ping' every now and then.

        Perhaps this quote from the Hospital administrator in the scene will make things clearer:

        Aah! I see you have the machine that goes 'ping'. This is my favourite. You see, we lease this back from the company we sold it to, and that way, it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account.

        cLive ;-)

Re: Java is the machine that goes "Ping!"
by Jenda (Abbot) on Dec 31, 2002 at 14:09 UTC

    But we must all admit it goes "Ping!" very well. It's sad though that it's about the only thing it does well.

    ++ for a good laugh

    Jenda

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