I understand his arguments and in fact think they are very valid from his perspective. Let me explain that in more
- I've met "really really bad" Perl coders. They were
quite experienced in Perl and their craft was often nontrivial.
So why were they THAT bad? Well - they thought they were
very good. They were intelligent, they obviously knew
(or thought to) that they "master" an extraordinary
language, so they felt like XPs.
What happened? Most of these guys were young and had
no experience in larger scale projects. They virtually
laughed at requests like commenting code and programming
cleanly, using a certain indentation and set of idioms.
In that sense, the 2nd argument of your boss was right.
- But in my opinion this problem applies only to
young wild Perlies AND to (project) managers that are
not strong enough to either persuade the Perlies for the
necessity of discipline or to take the bitter consequence
to fire a young programmer that could develop into
a real elite if only he had more insight.
Then again, this also supports arg 1 of your boss.
- Perl is complex. To harness its power in large scale
projects needs many things: good people (skill,
discipline) both at the programmers and the project
managers side, the WILL to solve problems and the
bias towards elegant technological solutions, i.e.
not only programming to solve something, but to program
to solve a problem ELEGANTLY too. Especially with perl.
This is very contrary to most perl scripts out there
because Perl often serves the glue/guick'n'dirty
To sum up: I think your boss is right, because his needs
are probably technologically not THAT rocket science, but
it is utterly important that the jobs get done.
Then again, if you feel different about this, you're in
the wrong company.
There are companies, that wouldn't touch VBScript even
if they'd need to fly the right Perl programmers in from all
over the world.