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I have occasionally been irritated by the condescending way Perl is referred to as 'just a scripting language', and I agree that it is a poorly defined term.

The Wikipedia article acknowledges the ambiguity of the term, but helps to identify why it is used in a disparaging way:

  • Scripting languages are associated historically with batch programs and job control language (JCL). As such, they are not 'true' programs, but 'mere' shells or shoehorns by which the actual programs are run. To the extent that Perl is considered the equivalent of mainframe JCL, Perl can be contemptuously dismissed, at least by those with minimal exposure.
  • The emphasis in the popular perception of scripting languages seems to be on the assembly of existing components, rather than the development of new components. The existence of the CPAN contributes somewhat to this view -- a skilled Perl developer can often assemble complex applications with considerable reliance on other's code. While this is a huge advantage from a developer's perspective, I think it has contributed to the way in which Perl developers are sometimes sneeringly described as 'assemblers' rather than 'developers'.

No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde

In reply to Re^2: Let's face it, Perl *is* a scripting language by ptum
in thread Let's face it, Perl *is* a scripting language by Ovid

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