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Re: Have you heard about recent startups using Perl?

by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor)
on Mar 27, 2008 at 03:36 UTC ( #676618=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Have you heard about recent startups using Perl?

I really agree with Stiller on this one. People don't use Perl to “use Perl.” They use it to do stuff. And that “stuff,” not Perl, is all that really matters.

I've seen first-hand over the past year that you can either build great stuff using Perl or you can churn out mountains of malodorous junk. You can do that in a startup mode or in an established company. Some companies start-up as startups (of course...) and transition to established-company and they're still turning out junk!

The key I'd look for in any company, regardless of size, is really not “what language(s) do they use,” but rather, “do they have a disciplined process?”

I think that a lot of start-up companies drop into the mode that they don't really pay attention to what they are producing:   they just want to produce it very, very fast. “Quick ’n dirty” seems to be the Order Of The Day, and soon-enough that comes around to bite you in the ... “ * ” !! You can also run into some rather spectacular personalities.

So if you land in a company that's (using Perl and...) has done more serious study of software-engineering than just learning how to spell “Joel,” it could be great. Otherwise it's going to be misery. Computer programming, as you will discover, is not just a matter of what you do and how you write it, but your company's or workgroup's entire approach. I feel that start-ups tend to have a higher concentration of poor or non-existent practices, and relatively little understanding or regard for their importance, especially if software is the core-focus of the company.


Comment on Re: Have you heard about recent startups using Perl?
Re^2: Have you heard about recent startups using Perl?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Mar 27, 2008 at 04:59 UTC
    I feel that start-ups tend to have a higher concentration of poor or non-existent practices, and relatively little understanding or regard for their importance, especially if software is the core-focus of the company.

    They get a lot of attention in weblogs though.

      Uh huh. I was a regular subscriber to “f**kedcompany.com” in the late 1990's. (It was a parody of fastcompany.com and much better. “All that money,” flowing around like water, but companies were failing so hard and so fast that every day brought fresh news.

      An awful lot of what they produced subsequently got lampooned, and rightly so, in “Web Sites That Suck,” which I think is on its third hilarious volume by now. None of them really had a ghost of a chance; their failures were a foregone conclusion. So, why did they attract so much well-intentioned money and how did they manage to go on for as long as they somehow did? I mean, I'm sure that lots of 'em were using Perl ...

      Maybe the first question to ask in an interview is “do you know how to spell Joel?” “There are lots of books out there on good engineering practices: which ones do you use here, and how exactly do you apply them? Can you tell me anything more about them than their buzzwords?”

      No matter how badly you need the job, you need to ask hard questions too. “Leave no stone unturned,” but you won't find gold coins under most stones. (It's mostly fungus.) If you find yourself stuck in a job that you hate, and you notice that you keep winding up in those kinds of jobs, part of the problem could well be you!

      Maybe it's just because I've used so many languages over the years, but really I find that the language doesn't matter. I opine that it should not weigh heavily in your job-selection criteria. If they're cranking out crap and seem to be happy with it, shop elsewhere: such problems are systemic. You'll be caught-up in them for a time but won't change them. The company will always have cash problems and politics problems and so your job will never be stable. You can find better stones to turn.

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