|P is for Practical|
Re: Seeker Of Perl Sympathyby Errto (Vicar)
|on Jan 08, 2005 at 23:38 UTC||Need Help??|
Whew. Tough question, and I may not be the best person to answer it, but I'll give it a whirl. I personally have encountered resistance to Perl (though not as strong as you describe) in two very different environments: 1) a Computer Science department at a prestigious academic institution, and 2) the IT department of a large corporation whose primary business has fairly little to do with IT.
First of all, I think part of the problem is simply technical; that is, many of these people have never seen well-written idiomatic Perl 5 code that takes advantage of things like modules, nested data structures, objects, coderefs, and m//x. The code they've seen consists mostly of global variables, typeglobs, eval-strings and indecipherable regexes.
Beyond that, it depends on the background so I'll try to address the two separately.
As for your proposed objections
Blinding speed? Tight, highly-predictable RAM usage?
Yes. That is an extremely common view. The hilarious part, of course, is that if they're talking about web applications then they're full of it because the overhead of interpreted languages is not where performance of web apps suffers, in almost every instance.
Compiling code into binaries so that nobody can read their source?
Yes again. And frankly, for code that's to be distributed to customers on a commercial basis, I honestly think that's a fair objection. Of course, if they believe Java is a solution here they're damned fools because decompiling Java is fairly trivial.
By the way, while it is true that writing obfuscated Java code would be nigh on impossible, C is another matter altogether. Obfuscated C contests were a venerable tradition before Perl was even born, and believe me I've seen "serious" C code that was pretty darn obfuscated.
Note: Please don't interpret my comments as dismissive of Computer Scientists. I greatly admire the work that they do and have some ambitions to return to the field myself. I just think some of them have silly attitudes about certain things.