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Just my personal experience. I have been using at least 30 differents programming languages in my life. In the late 1990s, I was using TCL/TK. Essentially because of TK, I did not like too much the TCL semantics, more practical that shell scripting, but the feeling of not being always sure whether I was going to use the content of the variable or its name. I moved to Python in about 2000 or 2001. Loved it. Used it quite a lot at the time. Really excellent to do a quick script. At the time, I had read some articles to the effect that Perl was so ecclectic that you needed a dozen books before you could start to do something. I thought at the time that I would stay away from Perl.

Then, in early 2002, I started to work on a large data migration project. A very large part of the standard migration suite used at the time consisted of a couple of hundred Perl scripts, most of them with just a few dozens of lines, some with a couple of hundred lines, usually not more. I thought it would be sensible on my part to try to understand this language. With no intention, at the time, to really use it.

I picked up a Perl tutorial on the Net and spent a few hours reading it, trying to write very small scripts to get a gist of it. I really found it easy and powerful. A few days later, I had to write a one-off script to reprocess some very large files. For some reason, I strangely decided to try to do it in Perl (for sure, it would have been easier for me at the time to do it in Python). In fact, it took me just a couple of hours to write the script in what I would call today baby Perl. I probably would not want to look again today at the ugly piece of code I wrote then. Sure, I had the -w flag switched on, but no use strict, no 3-args file opening syntax, most probably very clumsy formulations, poor awkish regexes, etc. But my point is this: after using a Perl tutorial for about 3 or 4 hours, I was able to write an actually useful program for my job. I no longer have this program, but I would certainly consider today that it was not really looking professional, I would most probably rewrite it completely, but it worked and did exactly what I needed, and did it fast. And, to paraphrase a sentence in the Camel book, what I did not know did not hurt me.

To make a long story short, I used Perl again next time I needed something similar, and again and again. I am still using some other programming languages, but whenever possible, I am using Perl. And my point is: I have never seen any other language where you can actually do something actually useful for professional purposes within less than a day for learning the language and developping the program.


In reply to Re: Why Perl? by Laurent_R
in thread Why Perl? by Preceptor

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