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Re: Are we a dying breed?

by renodino (Curate)
on Nov 10, 2005 at 23:59 UTC ( #507594=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Are we a dying breed?

...the company has decided to convert all large perl applications into it's nemesis.. java.

  1. I don't see Java as a Perl "nemesis". They both have their uses, champions, and detractors. As another poster noted, colleges (even trade schools) are churning out Java coders as fast as possible. Which is probably a good thing, since it usually takes 10x staff to implement something in Java as it would in (Perl, Python, Ruby). My preference is Perl, but I do miss some Java features - esp wrt threading - that Java does very nicely (and, I'll add, I'm trying to implement Perl modules to address that...).

  2. Finding good developers of any language persuasion is tough (if you think the Perl pool is thin, think about the piles of COBOL code out there likely to succumb to coderot as an entire generation of developers retires!). There are many developers skating by using IDE wizards to cover their lack of knowledge of the language in which they've pimped themselves as being proficient. Also, since a major portion of Perl users are

    • sysadmins, accustomed to just hacking whatever is needed to keep the systems running at 3 AM so they can get back to bed
    • people who picked up Perl casually just to build some simple CGIs
    • J. Random Hackers who've been using Perl as a general purpose tool for lots of little odd jobs

I'm not surprised that many of your candidates were not well versed in the CompSci aspects of Perl. I suspect that many in the Perl community are not deeply experienced in building Big Object Oriented Projects. Java, OTOH, is nearly impossible to use without some grounding in OO basics. I consider it another strength of Perl that so many people can use Perl effectively without needing to know all the CompSci esoterica, yet it provides all (well, maybe most) of the tools needed to build Big Object Oriented Projects.

So, in reply to the OP Subject line:

No, the Perl community isn't really dying. Its just that there weren't that many of us (Big Object Oriented Project Perl Developers) to begin with. There are still many, many "little project to just get it running for the task at hand" perl developers.


Comment on Re: Are we a dying breed?
Re^2: Are we a dying breed?
by rcseege (Pilgrim) on Nov 11, 2005 at 01:48 UTC
    I don't see Java as a Perl "nemesis". They both have their uses, champions, and detractors.

    Agreed, and I would guess that there are many out there, myself included, for whom Perl is just another tool than can be pulled from the toolbox when required or appropriate. I would think that one of the distinguishing differences between many developers would be the degree of freedom they have in picking the tools used for a given job. Some employers don't care how a problem is solved, some do. I have an easier time finding paid work for Java...

    Can Perl be used for most jobs? sure, but then so could many other general purpose languages. Is it always the right fit for a job? That's a different question, and that depends on several factors -- many of them not technical.

    ...since it usually takes 10x staff to implement something in Java as it would in (Perl, Python, Ruby).

    I think this is an oversimplification, which depends on the problem, the developer(s) in question, their experience, the tools they have available to them and their own private libraries they've cobbled together over time. There are many things that I can do faster in Perl than in Java, C, C++, or various other languages.

    However, there are a few things that I know I could do faster in Java than in Perl. This doesn't mean that Java is necessarily better at the task, but that I am better and more experienced at solving certain problems in Java or other languages than I am in Perl. I am also more knowledgeable in the tools available in Java to solving those problems than I am in Perl. So, for some tasks, and for some period of time until I was able to get up speed on the Perl equivalents, I would be less effective.

    No, the Perl community isn't really dying. Its just that there weren't that many of us (Big Object Oriented Project Perl Developers) to begin with.

    I completely agree that Perl isn't dying, it's just that maybe developers aren't using it for as much as they used to. Perl has a lot more competition these days with some of the newer languages and it's showing it's age a bit. If someone was interested in an OO scripting language and just starting out, I wonder why they might choose Perl when there's Python or Ruby. It's more understandable if someone has existing experience with Perl, but I think it can be intimidating to beginners.

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