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Re: The Decline of Perl - My Opinion

by VSarkiss (Monsignor)
on Feb 02, 2002 at 22:36 UTC ( #142973=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to The Decline of Perl - My Opinion

Well, to start off, I think you're equating "popularity" with "success". It's true that Perl awareness is not as widespread as the other languages you mention. (By the way, I notice that two of them, C# and Java, are products of corporations who would like to run away with the market regardless of the technical merit of their solution). But when I first read the title of your note, I thought a lot of other things. To me, "decline" means disuse or death, neither of which I think apply to Perl today.

The fact that there isn't a company with a lot of money standing behind Perl is probably the cause of the phenomena you observe. The same applies to other software that is produced and maintained by enthusiasts rather than companies. Linux is a very good example. Up to recently, Linux was perceived as just a hobbyist's toy. Now there are small glimmers of its acceptance in the corporate world, mainly from IBM stepping up and putting together a marketing package that non-technical people can understand. (I'm thinking of recent TV ad campaigns.) But does that make Linux "better"? Now there's a way to start an argument.

I agree that except in certain cases (look at The Top Perl Shops for some examples), most companies don't "get" Perl. Last year at my current client, I suggested that a new application be prototyped using a Perl backend. My suggestion was met with something between ridicule and disbelief ("We don't want a bunch of scripts, we want a real program". That one stung.) To give them credit -- and this lends credence to one of your points -- they had very few people that could program Perl. And none of then were very good at it.

So has this lack of knowledge among some people made Perl any worse, or any less useful? No, definitely not. I think the ongoing work with Perl 6 is some of the most interesting and exciting stuff around. I think the language continues to be used in fascinating leading-edge application areas, such as bioinformatics. The state of Perl definitely doesn't fit my definition of "decline".

Nonetheless, I think your point of "corporate acceptance" is well-taken. It's not that the language is declining, it's that it's not making inroads in the average boardroom. How do you get past that barrier? For my part, I think the p5ee project is a step in the right direction. We need to simplify Perl training, which is one of the goals of the standardization, and provide something for a corporate executive to hold on to -- which is a topic of discussion in the mailing list right now. And the nice part is that the standardized framework doesn't stop all the wonderful and creative Cool uses for Perl that we've become accustomed to. If the lack of corporate acceptance is of concern to you, then join the group. "Dont' curse the darkness, light a candle" is an old Chinese proverb.

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Re: Re: The Decline of Perl - My Opinion
by trs80 (Priest) on Feb 02, 2002 at 22:48 UTC
    There was a post on the mod_perl list later the same day that I wrote this, that shows a steady rise in the use of mod_perl based servers. The graph.
    Maybe a better title should be, Top Hindrances in Selling Perl Solutions

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