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Perl Is

by tedv (Pilgrim)
on Feb 01, 2001 at 23:57 UTC ( #55820=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Question of the thing we call "Perl"

Perl is the light of the world! Perl is your Saviour! Perl is a combination Hookah/Coffee Maker! Perl is a panacea, guaranteed to solve all your problems! Erm, right...

If you closely inspect something, such as the human body, you realize that it's just an arrangement of unimportant, uninteresting things (electrons, atoms, molecules). But that doesn't change the fact that the human body is an amazing piece of (rand & 1 ? "evolution" : "creation").

The whole is more than the sum of its parts because information is embodied in the organizational context.

This applies to Perl in two ways. In a fundamental way, Perl is one of the few programming languages that uses organizational context to affect meanings (or support new meanings). This does not mean that "Perl understands programming better," but that it's more natural for many people to think in the Perl mindset than in, say, the Java mindset. The contextual meanings that Perl supports allows programmers to be far more expressive than they could with other programming languages. Deep down, at the atomic level, Perl is just a programming language. It happens to be a very, very expressive programming language. It's the power of the language itself that impresses me.

On a recursive note, Perl is more than a contextual programming language. That's because programming doesn't happen in a vaccuum-- it happens by real people communicating with each in the real world trying to solve real problems. So to me, Perl also encompasses the community of people using the Perl language. A large set of people is uninteresting, but the way in which the community self-structured itself is impressive and amazing. Again, it's the contextual organization of the Perl community that gives the community its real value, not just the value of the individual members.

Well, that's the base case and the inductive base. By induction we can show... Erm, right...


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