I have a confession to make. I'm not the world's best programmer. I don't get paid to do it, but I do it because it's fun. I do it because I can make an html table of 1000 photos with six lines of Perl code instead of six days of clacking away in Notepad. I do it because there's a puzzle to it, there's the thrill of learning a new language, and I do it because it gives me the power to make this machine do whatever I want it to or else I'll throw it out the window! I've no intention of ever being a Perl master but I do intend to be a Perl life-long student. I love a language that makes simple things easy, especially since most really hard tasks can be accomplished in several simple steps, even if it's thousands of simple steps, that is, if you aren't worried too much about efficiency.

So, how has Perl ruined me as a programmer? It makes easy things simple. I didn't start programming with Perl; I started programming in C64 basic. Even that had a lot of short cuts (why type out print when ? works just as well? And it was Java that taught me about OOP. Java had less short-cuts than did my beloved C64 basic, but it could do a lot of things that I could never do before (especially since there were a lot of things a C64 just couldn't do!). Then came Perl. With Perl, heck, why bother with variable names when $_ works so well? Why type out for each my $counter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) when for (1..5) saves keystrokes representing hours of life that will be gone for ever? Yep, Perl made me lazy.

So, this week I took a new project for a non-profit. I'm writting a VBA macro. The lazy in me is going nuts. I don't like the lack of simplicity. I mis being able to type things like ++ or at least +=1 instead of value=value+1. I don't like writing out  for each c . I'm not saying VB is bad (enough other people have said that elsewhere: "Sure seems like a lot of typing for a visual language!"), but I'm saying Perl has made me not want to tolerate unnecessary restrictions and unnecessary keystrokes. That's how Perl's ruined me as a programmer.

Funny thing is, I appreciate Perl all the more for it! I've developed a new sense of laziness and hubris, which means, really, Perl is a complete success!


Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

-Howard Aiken