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Re^2: Argument for Perl ( again and again )

by aaron_baugher (Curate)
on Oct 19, 2012 at 21:48 UTC ( #1000057=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Argument for Perl ( again and again )
in thread Argument for Perl ( again and again )

Don't try to convince someone by trotting out a list of things you think make Perl cooler than other languages. Chances are good that the person who knows "other language" better than you will already know how to accomplish the same thing in a more "other-language-ish" way.

That's a good point. And if he really cared about regexes and glue language, he'd already be using Perl. The fact that he thinks one regex implementation is as good as another tells me that a list of Perl's strengths just isn't going to impress him. (The fact that he used "easy" and "Java" in the same sentence makes me think I wouldn't try.) Perl isn't a buzzword language; a lot of what makes it special is hard to define.

Take statement modifiers, for instance. At first glance, they may seem superfluous -- they don't let you do anything you couldn't already do with normal loops. But it's hard to describe how much they aid the process of reading and writing code (and how frustrating it is to switch to a language that doesn't have them). Similarly, it's hard to explain why =~s///g is so much better than preg_replace(), but it is. I think a lot of Perl is that way.

Aaron B.
Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

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Re^3: Argument for Perl ( again and again )
by davido (Archbishop) on Oct 19, 2012 at 22:24 UTC

    I think the most successful tack is the one that encourages someone to investigate, not because "mine is better", but because "different is enlightening." Here's a quote I happen to like:

    Thoughtlessly applying techniques effective in one language to another typically leads to awkward, poorly performing, and hard-to-maintain code. Such code is also most frustrating to write because every line of code and every compiler error message reminds the programmer that the language used differs from “the old language.” ...Every language can be a fertile source of ideas... However, ideas must be transformed into something that fits well with the general structure of [the new language] in order to be effective in the different context.

    – Bjarne Stroustrup The C++ Programming Language, Special Edition.

    (Emphasis added.)

    My feeling is that most of the time when people are quick to dismiss another language it's because they haven't learned enough from it to get past the stage of "thoughtlessly applying techniques effective in one language to another", and are frustrated because "every line of code and every compliler error message reminds the programmer that the language used differs...". Given a chance, most languages have at least something to offer. I think Perl has a lot to offer to those who are willing to work past the awkward stage.


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