|No such thing as a small change|
Perl falls victim to shifting trendsby vladb (Vicar)
|on Aug 19, 2002 at 15:16 UTC||Need Help??|
The unit of the company that I happened to be a part of has a long-standing relation with open source technologies and Perl in particular. To this point, we’ve managed to successfully utilize the powers of Apache and Perl to run our web servers. Perl has also proven to be an excellent tool for internal server-side processes (such as monitor scripts, ftp daemons etc).
However, all this is about to change, unfortunately to myself and other co-workers who’ve come to like Perl for the things it does best. It’s been decided in the higher flanks of our company, that Java technology should be adopted instead for all our development needs. Thusly, instead of writing a templating script in Perl, we are now required to do so in Java. I suddenly feel being swept by the tidal wave of shifting trends. From where I stand, I can’t quite reason or concur with the pointy-haired boss why Perl wouldn’t be a perfect fit for virtually any web development project. However, I have to oblige with this new directive, unless, of course, I would rather wish to quit the company (a rather unlikely prospective at this point). These recent happenings remind me of an article titled Revenge of the Nerds (authored by Paul Graham, who by the way has also been mentioned in a couple other meditation posts recently). Specifically these first passages:
The pointy-haired boss miraculously combines two qualities that are common by themselves, but rarely seen together: (a) he knows nothing whatsoever about technology, and (b) he has very strong opinions about it.
Suppose, for example, you need to write a piece of software. The pointy-haired boss has no idea how this software has to work, and can't tell one programming language from another, and yet he knows what language you should write it in. Right: he thinks you should write it in Java.
Why does he think this? Let's take a look inside the brain of the pointy-haired boss. What he's thinking is something like this. Java is a standard. I know it must be, because I read about it in the press all the time. Since it is a standard, I won't get in trouble for using it. And that also means there will always be lots of Java programmers, so if the programmers working for me now quit, as programmers working for me mysteriously always do, I can easily replace them.
Fortunately for myself, I have a strong grounding in a number of languages (Pascal, C++, etc), including Java. Although, I very much like coding in Java, it wouldn’t be my first choice for many tasks that we currently do in Perl, and do so well as a matter of fact. I’m wondering if anyone of you had to go through similar change and how did you deal with it? Lately, I feel like there’s an ever shrinking opportunity for me to contribute to this monastery due to the change, which is also rather unfortunate (for me at least :). If this change is widespread, than this may have a negative affect on the Perl community at large as there will be fewer and fewer practitioners of this language.