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I don't know... I tend to think of that as just a perlism. I'd argue that even an intermediate perl programmer ought to know about $@, and ought to expect to see it fluttering around evals. Ultimately, yes, it may be "punctuation"y, but so are regular expressions. So are hashes. So is much of what makes perl perl. I don't think that a programming language has to be wordy to be understandable.
How are some of these other things written in Java? (Forgive me for probably getting some of the class/method names wrong, but structurally, this is what it's like):
So the Java way is, in general, more wordy and less full of punctuation (well, maybe not by volume of punctuation characters, but, at the very least, the punctuation is more mundane).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not being critical of the Java way... I'm just saying that it is different from the Perl way, and that there isn't anything wrong with that.
Not an editor command: Wq