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Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?

by zer (Deacon)
on Oct 03, 2007 at 06:11 UTC ( #642310=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I am a student in a software development course. I have used perl for over 10 years. Many of the years have been with bad practices but functional code. Perl more or less has followed me through my entire education of computer science things.

The point is that difficult things have become easy to accomplish. I have toted perl for a while to my friends.

Why is it that I am a lone programmer? Why does nobody understand perls capabilities? Why does nobody notice the community backing it? (this gripe will probably get a lot of good responses. Proof of the community)

I sat through an open source presentation done by another student on perl. There were many flaws... and a lot left out...

  1. Perl's definition
  2. Didn't Mention cpan
  3. Didn't mention anything about diversions and cultures
  4. shotty work on the language itself...
Was unable to answer questions as to what languages compete with it and further more didnt seem to have any knowledge of the language itself.

On the other side of the boat you have the useless complainers. The ones who weakly argue that perl is line noise and there is already lisp. Sure lisp is there, however if you took two seconds to learn a bit of this it would clarify. There is some code that is intentionaly obfuscated. Regular code is easy to read once you get used to it.

When I first learned c/c++ it seemed like line noise as well. With time I had to train my eye and everything was good. People who actually do give perl a chance learn write it as c coders.

There is a wealth of information out there on perl. What does it take to really open the eyes of the public? As well anyway who complains about too much documentation has never been in a situation where they didnt know how to accomplish something.

That is my rant!

  • Comment on Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?

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Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by merlyn (Sage) on Oct 03, 2007 at 11:12 UTC
    By Perl's definition I hope you're not talking about the rather pointless "Practical Extraction and Report Language", because that's an empty historical retro-fact. As in, it doesn't do anything to describe modern Perl, nor does it distinguish Perl from anything else. Nor is it particularly accurate since it's a backronym.

    I agree with the flaw of not mentioning CPAN.

    But I'll also disagree about the diversions. Golf and JAPHs are cute info for advanced Perl people who have spare time, but don't belong in any core discussion of the language either. They're even more useless than the backronym expansion.

      thats an interesting point

      i was refering to exactly that with the definition. As even in the perldocs that is what it says.

        It also says that it really stands for "Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister", so don't always believe what you read :-)

      Good point about Golf and JAPH.

        Good point about good point
Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by robot_tourist (Hermit) on Oct 03, 2007 at 06:44 UTC

    This should probably be in Meditations.

    I think perl has a few things going against it from a cultural perspective. It's not used for developing the basic tools, like operating systems, office applications and databases, or even games - so people might think that it's not a serious language. Also, while some may know about Amazon and others that run multi-million dollar businesses with Perl, in general it is seen as a web scripting language. It doesn't have the support of Microsoft so it doesn't get the shiny tools like Visual Studio except via third parties like ActiveState. Neither is it a Wirth language, so many computer scientists won't like it or teach about it (I have no experience with LISP so I can't compare it with that).

    Finally, perhaps many coders aren't lazy enough. I know I often only write code to develop a big application or maintain an old one and I don't always use Perl for the little jobs, like generating test input or running batch jobs and stuff like that.

    How can you feel when you're made of steel? I am made of steel. I am the Robot Tourist.
    Robot Tourist, by Ten Benson

      Talk about Amazon, well those multi-million sites are legacy. Ask those people, whether they still will use Perl, if they start today from scratch.

      With legacy systems, if it is working, you don't just redesign them because there is new technologies available.

Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 03, 2007 at 11:56 UTC
    I don't think programmers are getting too lazy because of perl, but the world is getting more complex. If you want to turn people towards perl, just show them something that uses LWP, and then how to do the same in C - if you can!!

    It's also worth stating that everything C can do, perl can do also, even bit twiddling functions, which is surprising. The only thing that goes against perl is that it's not native, and requires a runtime.

    That said, no one has ever said to me "Hey! Come and look at what I've just done in .net!!" - there are tones of people out there showing off 10-lines of perl - if you want to turn people, just show em something that fits on a single screen 80x25.
      The LWP idea is bang-on.

      My roommate (both of us Computer Science majors) spurned Perl despite my testimonial. But then he wanted to write a script that was right up WWW::Mechanize's alley, munging some web pages and submitting some forms. He was saying "I want to do this program, but it will be really painful and messy." And I said "I can do it in 30 lines of Perl." Of course he didn't believe me.

      So, whether it's LWP or WWW::Mechanize, get them thinking about some problem that would be excrutiating in another language, then show the simplicity of the Perl solution.

      It took me 22 lines. He uses Perl a lot now.

        LWP is a bang-on for sure. I used it a lot. However this bang-on is NOW in many other languages, take a look at Python and Ruby, with this same topic, they all bang-on.

      SOAP::Lite works pretty well as a jaw-dropping demo, too. To accomplish something similar to a 3-line server and 2 line client with Oracle's Application server took a 250MB patch.


        Among all the client side solutions for web service, C# is the best. This is not just about language, but about the fact that MS always provide the best IDE.

        Java is losing some of its popularity to C#, and one of the reason is IDE, actually a big one.

        Talk about SOAP::Lite, it misses lots of things and is not actively maintained.

      yea i have done that and it is impressive for the most part. Slowly bit by bit perl is going to take over the world... (funny because lispers have been saying that for the longest time)
      If you want to turn people towards perl, just show them something that uses LWP, and then how to do the same in C - if you can!!

      Right there is actually one place where Perl could improve its reputation: Perl advocates need to stop comparing Perl to C. It made sense 10 years ago, but these days, if you want to be taken seriously, comparisons need to be made with languages that a prospective user might use instead of Perl. Namely, Python, Java, and maybe Ruby.

      Nowadays, if you compare Perl to C, it looks like you're trying to avoid the real competition.

      The languages that are replacing Perl - Python and Ruby are not at higher level. So this is a different situation than Java or Perl replacing c.

      Compare with Python and Ruby, Perl tends to encourage bad programming style. Style is personal and yet not, it is quite often of the community.

        Python has been "replacing" Perl for almost as long as I remember. Doesn't seem to have acomplished that in those ten years or more. And with Ruby? Well, Rails is the current hype, right. Let's see how long it lasts. I would not give it more than one more year in the headlines. And I would not bet on any replacing either.

Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Oct 03, 2007 at 16:19 UTC
    Are programmers getting too lazy for assembly?

    Isn't that what assembly programmers said when people started using C?

    Are programmers getting too lazy for C?

    Isn't that what C programmers said when people started using Perl, Python, et al?

    We are constantly evolving toward that one glorious "Tower of Babel" language, that lets us talk to the computer, in our natural language, and it will do what we want. Until that day comes, there will be many new attempts at laying the groundwork for it, all fighting and claiming that they are the best.

    But as of today, I find Perl's syntax most closely reflects the way I think, and makes programming easy. (But maybe it is a sign of Perl addiction, and it is just that I'm starting to think in Perl).

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. Cogito ergo sum a bum

      Actually Perl is the c when you compare c and assembly. Till today, I still consider Perl as a higher level language compare to C# and Java etc. The fact that Microsoft is combining Ruby (essentially at the same level as Perl), proves it.

      However when you look at those languages at the same level, and enjoys popularity, namely Perl/Python/Ruby. Perl is dying not only because everyday some people are moving away from it, but also (and more importantly) the language is not advancing at the desired pace. Look at Python 3000... they said they would do it, and they are doing it with a published timetable. Look at Perl 6, you see a totally different world, an example of failure.

        Look at Python 3000... they said they would do it, and they are doing it with a published timetable. Look at Perl 6, you see a totally different world, an example of failure.

        You're killing me, Smalls!

        Shall we have a real comparison between Python 3000 and Perl 6?

        Perl 6 adds plenty of new features to the language: lexically malleable grammars, opaque objects, auto-threading junctions, continuations, co-routines, generators, lazy lists, hyperoperators, roles, optional type annotations, multiple dispatch, sub-types, multiple simultaneous versions of the same module existing in process, STM, hypothetical variables, and a formal specification with an executable test suite and multiple implementations.

        Python 3000 added required parentheses on print, rearranged the core libraries a bit, and dropped a couple of features.

        It's often easier to achieve a modest goal than an ambitious one. (Python 3000 has probably had more funded development time than Perl 6 has in the past two years, if the rumors are true that Guido's working on it half-time.)

Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by zer (Deacon) on Oct 05, 2007 at 06:21 UTC
    This was a good post overall. It is unfortunate that it has lost its civility and point. I didn't start this post to trigger a "flame" fest. I recommend for someone who can moderate this to remove all the useless bable including this post.

    I am sorry for any honest student of perl who honestly is curious and comes accross this. The community is a large source of pride and knowledge. Lets not abuse it

Re: Are programmers getting too lazy for perl?
by Cop on Oct 03, 2007 at 22:11 UTC

    There are so many languages out there, general and specific, so first of all, Perl is one of many. Different people will lay their eyes on different languages for reasons.

    The reason I liked Perl: it is simple.

    Like it or not, Perl is losing its ground:

    • Some of perl's strength now become common strengthes of lots of languages. Considering the benefits those languages could provide, Perl is no longer at the top of the list.
    • Perl is not advancing at the pace you would like, when the entire computer world is flying forward. Perl 6 takes forever, and once it is out, its design is already outdated.
    • CPAN is a plus, but consider the fact the it also has lots of packages you won't even need in other languages. Lots of people expect a complete package at one kick, not to dig around.
    • Some of Perl's traditional battle ground, for example CGI, is gone. No battle ground, no battle.

    I am talking as a guy who is familiar with dozen of languages, dislike my post, but think about it.

      Well, Cop, you've racked up quite a distinctive level of performance in the few days you've been posting here at PerlMonks. Apart from the occasional node that has been reaped to erase a pointless insult, I notice a fairly consistent tone of negativity on your part toward the use of Perl, and a matching negativity on the part of readers toward your posts.

      Since PerlMonks is a site whose whole purpose is to support the use (and users) of Perl, the tone of your posts is an obvious and consistent mismatch. The response that other readers have shown by means of voting on your posts has made it clear how much we value your contribution of complaints, dismissals, bleak projections and overall rejection of Perl.

      I appreciate the invitation to "think about it". Some of the people I work with prefer Python (which I haven't used seriously yet) for a variety of tasks, and in a couple of those areas, my own skill with Perl has not yet reached the stage where I could match what they are doing. So I actually think about this sort of language-comparison thing fairly often.

      It's not that Perl can't do the tasks in question. My main case in point involves using the Qt graphics library to build GUI's that support Arabic and bi-directional text display in a manner that is legible to Arabic speakers. (To the best of my knowledge, this cannot be done with Perl/Tk, which is the only graphics package I've had practice with.)

      There are Qt modules on CPAN that tie Perl into those libraries and would let me do what my colleagues are doing in Python. I just need to learn Qt, and that, quite frankly, is just a matter of finding documentation and/or sample code that's as good as what I get with Perl (and the Perl/Tk modules), so that I have a better chance of catching on quickly once I really get started.

      (The first time I tried, a few years ago, I didn't find such docs for Qt, let alone adequate docs or sample code for the Perl API to Qt. I haven't looked again recently, but I hope the situation has improved. In fact, I know it has, because I've seen some Perl/Qt posts here at the Monastery.)

      In any case, I'd like to suggest that your time could be better spent looking for a site similar to PerlMonks that supports whatever language you find preferable to Perl. Go to that site, and contribute positive and useful information to support the use (and users) of that other language (or other languages, if you like a bunch of them).

      For example, if Python is your thing, maybe there's a Python site with lots of daily, detail-oriented discussions among Guido, authors of prominent Python books, professionals with years of Python experience, journeyman programmers and novices trying to catch on. Go there and pitch in. When I need to learn Python, I hope I'll find it, and maybe you can help me out.

      If there is no such site for the language(s) of your choice, and you are starving for a good place to talk constructively about programming, come back to PerlMonks -- but be ready and willing to make a positive contribution to this community.

        Like it or not, my comments are not based on ignorant or inexperience... I am also a Perl guy, and have higher XP than you and vast majority here do, believe or not. Obviously I won't tell you the other ids that I have used and still using.

        Update: I just checked your numbers, with 2400+ posts, you only got 19K+ points... I obviously managed to get more points with less writeups.

      I am talking as a guy who is familiar with dozen of languages

      No doubt 22 years experience and two degrees as well!

        How did you know that? Amazing, do you know me in person?

      Perl is not advancing at the pace you would like, when the entire computer world is flying forward. Perl 6 takes forever, and once it is out, its design is already outdated.

      No, it is (actually) "taking forever", because once it is out, its design won't be outdated for quite a lot of years.

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