Perl is a language that somehow escaped my attention for many years. I wish it hadn't, and I'm not sure quite how it did. There's no doubt that the language, quirky though it is, can “move the freight” in a lot of practical situations. I know I wasted a lot of billable time for not knowing it.
The CPAN library is great, and "here's a rose" @>-+--- to all the folks who work so hard on it. Perl would not be what it is without you, and we all know it.
I'd observe that Perl did a lot of things to naturally attract this sort of attention to itself, because it was a reasonably well-implemented string-processing language at a time and at a place when there was a lot of demand for that sort of thing. Aside from the pedantic purposes that Larry Wall originally built and used it for, which are themselves important and legitimate, Perl is a real “Swiss army knife” for web-sites. It was a purpose-built tool that was, all things considered, well built and re-built. People picked it up and started using it, and “results happened.”
You can really tell when a programming tool was designed by one person, or by a small group of persons who actually need to use the tool, vs. a committee of academics who want to make a fashion statement. The latter group builds a language with a 58-megabyte runtime (actually three of them, all different) that still can't print reliably on Linux and still can't get out of its own way when doing simple GUI-applications on any system. (I am sure by now that you know exactly what (de-)caffeinated language I am talking about.) :-D
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