Somehow, though, I just don’t see Perl having its proper place in a scenario like the one you describe, Kevin. It’s just not what I think of Perl as being “for.” So it’s like using a wrench to drive a nail ... we’ve all done it, and maybe we have a few bandages to show for it, but it’s just not the scenario where this language was meant to shine, and where it does shine. All of us need to rip-apart text files, to build elaborate data-structures and forget about ’em, to use regular expressions and high-performance hash tables, and ... to use CPAN.
CPAN, really, is where it’s all at, anyway. The perl executable on my machine is tiny; the php executable (which compiles everything in at build-time) is many megabytes in size. Yet the composite content of CPAN, inclusive of its many dynamically-loaded modules, is larger still ... if, when, and as-needed. (And, to make useful use of Perl on a client, you’d have to install these same big things ... Perl would be very uncomfortable there, and it wouldn’t really out-shine the neighbors.)
A “popularity contest,” even if the statistical methods used are sensible and really appropriate to the occasion (vs. the simple selling of magazines ...), is for the most part just a measure of fashion, and/or of what subjects a harried business school or college figures can be stuffed into a degree-program that will sell. When you have many tons of freight to move, and someone paying you to move it, you need ... a locomotive.
“Programming languages: always learn another one. Just because.”
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