|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re: How to wake up the Perl community?by Anonymous Monk
|on Mar 20, 2013 at 04:34 UTC||Need Help??|
Yes we are in trouble, and we have been for a long time now. The only thing is the screaming is reduced. If you were to go back a few years, the "Perl is dead" screaming was a lot louder than it is now. I believe that's because a degree of irrelevance is slowly beginning to take over us. We are getting irrelevant.
There is little point in living in denial.
Though Perl is still by and large a very helpful tool to get things done(of a different kind). Most people don't use it to solve the in-demand problems of our time(Read: Concurrency, Web framework stuff, asynchronous IO, scientific programming, teaching courses etc). People believe regular expressions, file operations are solved problems(And guess what in many ways they are). And your usual Unix glue ammunition comes with every other language these days. To add to other problems, integrating with OS ise a worry of the past. These days running on many VM's is vastly more important than integrating with a OS like Unix.
Apart from general small time scripting work, we are no longer relevant to the larger programming problems of our time. To do anything useful with OO we need something external like Moose, forget that- even to do something as simple as function signatures or say exception handling we need CPAN modules. No sane software shop is going to use a external library to do simple OO, function calls and exception handling. And this doesn't even begin to describe what is wrong with our language.
Yes you can argue that a language like Java needs frameworks to do most work, but hey! they don't need libraries to work with basic syntax. I hope you understand, we are having some very basic problems here.
Talk to p5p guys and they will tell you they have their own pains. They have to maintain backwards compatibility with a code base 25 years old, and a code base maintaining which requires heroic efforts. And beyond all this, adding new syntax sugar makes the TIMTOWDI problem only worse. In short 'we are screwed if we do and screwed if we dont'.
Come to CPAN, a while back it had no competition. Now every other language has their own CPAN. And lets be frank if you really want to find something on CPAN, you are likely to face a problem of plentiful options
We are long past the stage of having to wake up people. We are in a stage where we have to figure out how to slow down being irrelevant, then stop being irrelevant and some how find a way of bringing back lost users.
There have been attempts in the past to make this happen. Chromatic wrote a wonderful book, Stevan little has a new project called 'Moe', Schwern started 'Perl5i'. Pugs, Ponie... Have all been there..
The fundamental problem remains, we haven't solved any basic problems and we have nothing new to offer for years now.
Perl 6 is the only hope. And we must hope they get some production ready stuff out in a year or two. Before you pounce on me and ask what exactly is production ready and how it varies from person to person. I would like to tell you lets not indulge into this semantic play of words. The whole world has a definition for production ready, which is really spec completeness, no dead-on-arrival bugs, a standard library and documentation. You can argue that a beef steak is ready for consumption even when the cow is alive depending on whether a lion or a human eats it- and thereby the beef steak was production ready when the cow was alive. But hey, a person ordering a beef steak at the hotel expects it to be as he eats it at other hotels.