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I'm sure everyone's run into it - the holy war between Perl and the various alternative scripting languages there are out there. As a Storage Engineer, who grew up with Unix, I ... well, sort of fell into it as the next best choice after 'plain' Bourne Shell scripting. Not 'bash' that wasn't always available - 'being installed everywhere' was important, and where it wasn't, well ... why not use something a bit more fully featured?

One of the things I'm thinking of doing, is pulling together some of my colleagues, to introduce them to scripting - and for obvious reasons, that'll be with Perl. I expect one of them will ask me 'why?' - this is from a set of people who have experience will all sorts, up to and including a guy who writes very extensive scripts in 'awk'.

So my list of 'Why Perl':

  • Because it's often installed by default.
  • Because it's readily available on every platform (at least, those I've run into)
  • There are a lot of existing modules to tap into
  • There is a lot of expertise to draw upon (Perlmonks)
  • You don't need to do much to move from 'shell script' to 'perl script'...
  • It's really good for the types of task that you tend to do a lot of, when doing 'systems programming'. Running commands, capturing and parsing output.
  • ... But despite that it's a powerful enough language that you can go a lot further with ease. (OO programming, multithreading, to name a few.)
  • I get along with it better than the other languages I've worked with.

But I thought I'd raw upon the further Wisdom of the Monks - when asked 'Why Perl?' what answer do _you_ give?


In reply to Why Perl? by Preceptor

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