Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Syntactic Confectionery Delight

Comment on

( #3333=superdoc: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Note that the first word in the title is apparent, meaning that the rest of the title is thing as they appear to me, not necessarily the way they are.

Ok, let's do this storybook style. I'm sitting in my office and my boss says "how do you find out the length of an array in Perl?" So I tell him

1+$#array #or scalar @array

A week later I'm reading comp.lang.perl.misc and Uri Guttman says to someone asking a similar question about strings: To take the length of a string, you use length. Larry did a good job of naming the Perl functions.

So then I, the nobody, have the nerve to email Uri Guttman, one of the Perl 5 Porters and lead author on one of the best Perl papers ever (on sorting) and tell him he isn't right about Larry naming the functions... Larry didn't do so great a job... why? Take a look:

Desired operation Perl datatype Perl function
lengthhashscalar keys

In other words, the desired operation is the same in each case, but the way it is done in Perl is not... while one may say: "RTFM", one thing that reduces the learning curve for a language is for it to be intuitive. That's why I'm in awe when I hear people (even Damian Conway) say: "my brain thinks like Perl"... I have to stop,drop my jaw and say: "why in the world would you want different names for the exact same conceptual operation and what is it about your brain that seeks diversity in the function names for the exact same thing?

Example 2

Operation: Taking a "slice" of something in Perl

A string substr $STRING, $OFFSET, $LENGTH
An array @array[$OFFSET..$LENGTH+OFFSET]

Again while a logical person would say "how do I take subseries of something, regardless of whether it is a string or an array", we have the questionable brilliance involved in creating two radically different syntactic mechanisms for doing so.

And again, one must think seriously about offering a CAT scan to anyone who proclaims that such unwarranted non-homogeneity is "how their brain thinks".


Perl makes simple things simple, and hard things possible, but also makes consistent operations possible through highly inconsistent means.

And of course we cant forget the recent interview on Perl.COM with Ilya Zakharavich handled by BigJoe about how FILEhandle information is inconsistently handled by Perl.

In reply to Apparent Inconsistencies in Perl Function Naming by princepawn

Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":

  • Posts are HTML formatted. Put <p> </p> tags around your paragraphs. Put <code> </code> tags around your code and data!
  • Titles consisting of a single word are discouraged, and in most cases are disallowed outright.
  • Read Where should I post X? if you're not absolutely sure you're posting in the right place.
  • Please read these before you post! —
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags:
    a, abbr, b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, col, colgroup, dd, del, div, dl, dt, em, font, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, hr, i, ins, li, ol, p, pre, readmore, small, span, spoiler, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, tbody, td, tfoot, th, thead, tr, tt, u, ul, wbr
  • You may need to use entities for some characters, as follows. (Exception: Within code tags, you can put the characters literally.)
            For:     Use:
    & &amp;
    < &lt;
    > &gt;
    [ &#91;
    ] &#93;
  • Link using PerlMonks shortcuts! What shortcuts can I use for linking?
  • See Writeup Formatting Tips and other pages linked from there for more info.
  • Log In?

    What's my password?
    Create A New User
    and all is quiet...

    How do I use this? | Other CB clients
    Other Users?
    Others romping around the Monastery: (5)
    As of 2017-12-12 21:08 GMT
    Find Nodes?
      Voting Booth?
      What programming language do you hate the most?

      Results (338 votes). Check out past polls.