I enjoyed Perl4. I was also glad when Perl5 came out, and as successive versions of Perl5 acm out, and CPAN dramatically expanded its capabilities, Perl has become a central part of my work life. Based on its current strengths and the promising plans for Perl6, my team at work is planning to move our legacy applications into Perl. I also really like Perl. I like the Perl community. I like the appreciation of language that it brings to working with computers. I'm even not that impatient about the wait for Perl6, since it was clear some time ago that Perl6 was a very large undertaking.
Thus am I one of the faithful.
But as one of the faithful, I think there are some important issues highlighted in both Perl needs The Solution and Perl is dying. While Perl6 will give us a great deal, there are still some problems that it won't solve. And yes, some of those problems may be significant enough to blunt Perl's future success.
Pluralism is one of Perl's greatest strenghts, and responsible for much of its thriving success. While we're benefitting from pluralism, we also need to mittigate some of its costs. For me, the most important ways we can do this are to provide:
- A guide to Best Practices.
- A set of recommendations on pre-Perl6 goodies, one that is aimed at the people who ask questions on PM.
- A package of modules for doing web apps, one which well serves those who aren't committed to using Perl, and who would rather go check out Rails if you present them with a list of different choices with the strengths and weeknesses of each.
TheDamian has given us the first item on this list and we owe him our deep gratitude, both for seeing the need and for doing the job. While the recomenations are very good, IMO, for some purposes just the existence of authoritative
recomendataions is the most important part, and is enough to take care of a score of reasonable concerns about Perl. When you're selling perl for a major project, and management has heard rumors about tower-of-babble coding practices, you can plunk his book down on the table and you don't have to say much after that.
If those with the knowledge and credibility can establish the other two items anywhere near as well as TheDamian has managed the first, with Best Practices, then Perl will be a very strong contender for being "the language for the rest of us". The additions won't make it any less of a wonderfully flexible language for those of us who already know it fairly well, they will just help others to follow.
This is not a matter of fad or fashion, it's just a matter of improving service to a wider community.
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