simak29 has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:


Not sure if this is the right forum to ask, but I'm curious to know what the Monks here feel about Python becoming the more popular language of choice for data processing. Do you use Python in your day to day work at all? If so, in what instances do you use Python and where do you use Perl?

Again, apologies if this question is irrelevant here.

Disclaimer: (Yes,an afterthought so I don't get bashed :)) I'm neither a Perl nor a Python expert. i'm just a Jill of all trades and a master of none...a perpetual and curious learner.

Regards, Simak

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Perl and Python
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Dec 24, 2014 at 00:37 UTC
    I am always slightly amused by the concept of popularity rating programming languages.

    In terms of which language has the most executables in daily use, the answer is -- COBOL. Followed closely by FORTRAN.

    Shell, C, C++, IBM Assembler, Perl, Python are right up there. (I don't have any feel for where to put JCL, IBM's Job Control Language, since it's used by every Banking Institution, Medical Organization, Insurance Company, Stock Brokerage, Governmental Agency, etc on the planet to control the execution of all those COBOL programs.)

    So, in direct response to your question, I don't really care.

    I have always collected programming languages. I want to know enough about a given language to be able to determine its strengths and (more importantly) its weaknesses. When I was actively in The Business, I always tried to recommend the language(s) that best fit the Client's environment, problem, and expertise. My job was to craft a solution for the Client rather than for my own personal preference.

    That said, in my Retirement, I am using Perl, Ruby on Rails, and Postgress for my home-brew music inventory system. Right now I have a Python window open for a quick calculator, a Perl window for quick prototyping, and a couple of Vim windows opened on source files. I am currently extending a Web-facing tool kit for a non-Profit using Apache, FastCGI, Perl, Shell, and Python.

    In the past two years I have written a backup-tape inventory using Perl and Windows Excel; a network monitoring package in IBM Assembler, and a financial reporting application in Perl and Shell. (Why yes, I am busier now that I was before I retired. The difference is that now I can choose what project I will work on. Bosses can be so non-understanding when you tell them: "I wrote that for you last year; why do I want to do it again? What New and Interesting Thing is there in your new Client's new project?")

    And, when People ask about why I selected a particular programming language for their project, I tell that I try follow the advice of the Mikado:

    'Let the Punishment fit the Crime'.

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


      Most executables in daily use - COBOL? Really?

      Mobile phones? Cobol = 0

      Communications infrastructucture? Cobol = 0

      Android, Apple and Windows tablets? Cobol = 0

      Windows and Macintosh notebooks and PCs? Cobol = 0

      Calculators? Cobol = 0

      Where is that Cobol you speak of? I've already recounted some 99.99% of computing devices and quite possibly I could add some more 9s.

      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        I'd add:

        • Home: TVs, DVRs, games consoles, coffee makers, fridges, freezers, washing machines, microwaves;
        • Transport: cars, airplanes, trains, ships;
        • Retail: POS terminals, cash machines, ticket machines & barriers;
        • Industrial: CNC lathes, grinders, milling machines, robots;
        • Cloud: Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Azure, Rackspace, ...;
        • New corporate: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, linked-in, et al;
        • Commercial aerospace & satellites;
        • Military: aerospace, satellites, rocketry, comms, radar;
        • ...?

        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
Re: Perl and Python
by LanX (Cardinal) on Dec 23, 2014 at 23:27 UTC
    Truth is that people asking simplified question like yours won't understand the complex answer. :)

    So why bother?

    Cheers Rolf

    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)

Re: Perl and Python
by karlgoethebier (Abbot) on Dec 23, 2014 at 21:43 UTC
    "Do you use Python in your day to day work at all?"

    No. Please see The Spanish Inquisition as well as the movie.

    Regards, Karl

    «The Crux of the Biscuit is the Apostrophe»

Re: Perl and Python
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 23, 2014 at 21:13 UTC
    Perl, Python, Lua, PHP, Javascript... pretty much the same language IMO.
Re: Perl and Python
by trippledubs (Deacon) on Dec 23, 2014 at 21:18 UTC
      I don't know. Can it? :)
        Have no idea. Didn't really know Perl could do it until the other day. To be serious about your question, I don't think anyone (here) has a more than passing interest in whether or not, at some point in the future, Python surpasses Perl in popularity. When I first became a Unix Admin, I asked one of the senior guys which language I should use. They told me Python, but then I noticed that person, whose work I really admired, actually never used Python. They continued to use Perl while extolling the virtues of learning Python. I think he thought it would help my career more, but I haven't actually seen it make a difference, and in my few freelance jobs so far, client does not care either way. 'Implementation detail'. I think that learning Perl is beneficial in becoming a better Python programmer and vice versa. Hanging out here will make you a better programmer and computer scientist in general so stay awhile and try some Perl programming and tell us what you think.