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Perl is an ad-hoc irregular jumble of functionality... and that is A-OK

by princepawn (Parson)
on Oct 11, 2007 at 17:56 UTC ( #644296=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

And in 6 years as a software developer in Perl, I have to tell you, that is just fine. Perl (up to and including version 5) was built on immediate obvious simple solutions to real world problems.

Larry Wall, as developer of a Usenet news reader amongst other things, had practicality as the first and maybe only thing in his mind when developing his language.


  1. Is perl an elegantly crafted highly regular software architecture for problem solution? NO
  2. Is perl a well thought-out result of hours and hours of deliberation over the perfect language? NO
  3. Is perl solvings thousands and thousands of problems this very moment in all spheres of IT? YES
And for that reason, criticisms (such as the title) really dont hold much water.


With PHP, we can apply a weight of 10,000 to each of items 1 through 3 in the previous section. If Lisp looks like oatmeal with fingernail clippings in it, PHP looks like the floor around the bathroom after a wild frat party. It is 10,000 times more ugly than Perl. 10,000 times more stream of consciousness and inscrutable to reason. But for all its shortcomings, PHP is kicking much ass. When you can download a tar file, uncompress and have spiffy looking blogs, forums, mysql interfaces, content management systems, and more in under 1 hour, then you can only STFU unless you (AND YOUR LANGUAGE) can do the same.

ICFP 2007

I dont know how the hay they did but they outdid every elegant, articulate functional language on the planet.

Perl 6

You know, Nicklaus Wirth called his successor to Pascal "Oberon." It was inspired by Pascal, didn't look too different, but he gave it another name.

In terms of version numbers Perl 6 should be Perl 90 or something. It is not a smooth transition using items 1 to 3 as criteria. It is completely the opposite. It is an attempt to be elegant and well thought out and it is doing so in a glass house away from real world demands and constraints. So my suggestion is: "Rename Perl 6 to something else entirely, because it is not in the spirit of Perl in the least bit."

You may now downvote your ass off.

Have a nice day!

Carter's compass: I know I'm on the right track when by deleting something, I'm adding functionality
  • Comment on Perl is an ad-hoc irregular jumble of functionality... and that is A-OK

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Re: Perl is an ad-hoc irregular jumble of functionality... and that is A-OK
by Mutant (Priest) on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:16 UTC

    Not sure I agree on your assertion that Perl 6 is not the least bit Perl like. I think PHP is so successful because it fully embraces "Worse Is Better", which is kind of what you're alluding to. Perl 5, to some extent, does too, but it's attempted to move towards a more "correct" design, while still being genuinely better (and Perlish). I think a good example of this is the strict pragma.

    Perl 6 (at least as it seems from where I'm standing) is an attempt to re-design Perl with a "Better is Better" approach. Hopefully it won't sacrifice too much of it's ability to get the job done, or it's Perlish-ness.

    People say Perl 6 is going to be obsolete once it's released because it's taking so long. I actually think the real challenge for Perl 6 is if the whole "Better is Better" approach can actually work. Many have tried before, many have failed. See: Lisp

      The other major challenge is "why Perl 6?"

      People use Perl because it was available much earlier than the more correct stuffs like Python and Ruby. So it is bad, but what can you do? you have no choice.

      Now Perl 6 might be right, but it is no better than Python etc., plus it is not the first coming... so why Perl 6?

      This will be the exact reason why Perl 6 has failed before it is born.

        Now Perl 6 might be right, but it is no better than Python etc.

        Feel free to learn something about either language before comparing them.

        I think perl 6 will be great for people who love perl and want to see its flaws addressed. I wonder if there where people making the same complaints about previous perls? Or C++ versus C? Visual Basic vs. QBasic?

        Eric Hodges
Re: Perl is an ad-hoc irregular jumble of functionality... and that is A-OK
by lidden (Curate) on Oct 11, 2007 at 19:20 UTC
Re: Perl is an ad-hoc irregular jumble of functionality... and that is A-OK
by Cop on Oct 13, 2007 at 01:07 UTC

    It is certainly interesting to see how the Perl creator wants to glorify his language by moving away from its public impression as ugly duckling, and moving towards something more snow white, but at the same time some ordinary users are struggling and hanging on to it.

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