|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Passion for Perlby kelan (Deacon)
|on Sep 16, 2002 at 21:17 UTC||Need Help??|
I found a small musing once, discussing being a Perl programmer. I thought this piece was particularly pertinent:
The phrase "foo programmer," where foo is a programming language, usually means "someone who writes programs in foo." But the phrase "Perl programmer" implies much more than, say, "C programmer" or "FORTRAN programmer" or even "assembly language programmer." You see, Perl programmers like to code in Perl. They like to code in Perl like they like to breathe.
It made me think about why this should be so. Personally, I've loved programming since I first started; years ago, before I knew of Perl. However, having now gotten used to Perl and learned it reasonably well, I must admit that I like it more than the other languages I know or have come into contact with. And I think that most programmers who like programming in and of itself, would very much like Perl. Again, the question comes: Why?
Part of it is right there in the Perl Creed: To make easy things easy, and hard things possible. It's very appealing to be able to easily do what many consider easy things. Not needing armfuls of setup for simple, natural, and commonly done tasks. Being able to start right in on the pieces that are more important: the hard things. The hard things that become possible with the flexibility and elegance that Perl provides.
Even more, though, I think the reason that those who like to program really like Perl is because it lets you do what you like: program. It isn't always getting in your way and confining you. Or making you find ways to sidestep limitations. In fact, Perl encourages the creativity and cleverness that makes programming enjoyable in the first place. It almost lets you express your ideas directly in code. Allowing you to mold it to your will, instead of forcing you to submit to its. You think doing something a different way makes more sense? Do it! Perl won't stop you, indeed it will usually help you.
The greatest testament to the Love of Perl is the community that has built itself up surrounding it. CPAN is full of modules written by people who want to make using Perl even better. And you can see the love in modules like the Quantum modules: cool and useful ideas from another realm brought to Perl. Or in the Acme modules, which are really examples of crazy people doing crazy things in that crazy language they love, Perl. But also in modules like POE or LWP or any of the other framework modules which I'm sure have taken countless hours to enhance and perfect, and because of that, are so useful.
Before I began using it, I had heard of Perl, usually disparagingly for how it looks like line noise or how having so many ways to do something is just confusing. But once I began using it, I realized how well it fits with the True Programmer, the one who loves doing it. Such freedom and power. Such ease and elegance. It truly is a wonder.
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