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Very interesting presentation. From what I could see, Perl may have been a serious contender were it not for two areas that they felt were problematic. Sandboxing and TIMTOWTDI.

The sandboxing issue stems from the fact that Perl is designed to Get Things Done and trusts the programmer to do the right thing in terms of security. Frankly, while I know quite a bit about Web programming security, I don't know as much about "sandboxing" per se. Does the Safe module help with that? At my company, we are developing tools to abstract out many of the dangerous aspects of Perl coding. For example, some of our database work is driven through a database module that forces the developer to use placeholders and automatically rolls back transactions that the developer does not explicitly commit (thus, if the program dies, we don't have "partial" data entered). Unfortunately, these tools are not as mature as they could be.

Another tool that I have just started using to deal with these issues is a "Web form filter/untainter". Essentially, to read in form data, I set up a list of fields and regex filters for each field. Only data that is passed through a filter (and simultaneously untainted) gets into my code (I hope to integrate something similar into CGI::Safe). This is just to point out that many dangerous aspects of programming can be mitigated with proper tools and standards. However, I am curious to know how this compares with PHP.

The TIMTOWTDI issue is problematic, though. With only three Perl programmers here, we've been bit by this problem. Perl is just so ridiculously flexible that even a small programming department can produce code that varies widely in style, even if it's all high quality.


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In reply to Re: PHP (and Perl) at Yahoo! by Ovid
in thread PHP (and Perl) at Yahoo! by dws

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