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Re: Perl and Infiltrating PHP Workplaces

by Booger (Pilgrim)
on May 25, 2006 at 23:42 UTC ( #551730=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Perl and Infiltrating PHP Workplaces

Yo Withigo:

Since we know each other I thought I'd write down a few of my thoughts evoked by your question. I've been on both sides of the PHP-Perl fence when it comes to web development and I think I have a fairly good grasp of the concerns of both camps. I realize we don't really see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues so feel free to ignore me if you so desire.

There are a lot of technical facts we can flaunt and discuss until the dogs came home. In the end there will only be one thing that really matters: either you'll have a job or you won't.

When I started building XpanceNET I built it using PHP. With the exception of some issues with stack size pretty much everything I wrote was cross-platform out of the box (more so than a lot of complicated Perl applications I would think -- especially those that use a many CPAN modules). I didn't have to go thinking about details that distracted me from the web application and for all intended purposes I think the outcome was fairly good. In hind sight we (the company) didn't spend enough time considering our problem domain and a year later we were stuck in deep mud with our application. Perl came along when I realized that XpanceNET was much more than a simple web application and that we needed to branch out into long running processes, something that even now is particularly difficult to accomplish with PHP.

I think that the old adage of "picking the right tool for the job" applies well in this sort of situation. I have since moved on from Morcor to a new company and I have to say I've never been more satisfied with an employer such as I am now. I work from home now alongside other developers spread out over North America. We have an office that I've never been to and I work alongside professional and trustworthy individuals who are all very good at what they do. My manager is focused and manages our time well. And yes, we use PHP almost entirely.

I don't have any illusions about "converting" our development team to Perl or even convincing them to switch. It would be a terrible idea to rewrite our applications in Perl; talk about wasted time and energy. Perhaps Perl has a future in some new project or application? I think there are some possibilities there. Don't sell yourself short just because you happen to use PHP; there are many successful companies and effective developers that have chosen PHP as their language for web applications.

I still use Perl for personal projects and small utilities that I build to make myself more productive but it is no longer a language I use to earn my keep with. At least, not for the immediate future. Professional software developers must feel comfortable developing without their language of choice. I found this article to have a interesting (albeit humourous and stereotypical) description of some programmers who were particularly aligned with their language of choice.

Do I miss Perl? Sometimes. Until I remind myself that in the end it doesn't matter what language you code in: specialization is for insects.

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