|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Perl in the Enterpriseby Scott7477 (Chaplain)
|on May 17, 2006 at 20:44 UTC||Need Help??|
A post showed up today at BSD DevCenter titled Of Oysters and Perls, or Perl in the Enterprise.
The author, Robert J. Pratte, asks “the question of when Perl will make it as an enterprise-class language?.” He says, “Sure, Perl is widely used in large systems, but usually for testing, systems administration, CGI, and “glue.” What about large, critical applications, however? How many architects and managers have considered Perl lately when it came time to look at an alternative to Java or C++?”
Pratte is not necessarily negative in this post. He asks “why are people frothing over Python or Ruby when Perl still has so much to offer?” He admits that “Perl is widely used in large systems, but usually for testing, systems administration, CGI, and “glue.””
But he suggests that improvements need to be made to turn Perl into a “respectable corporate contender” and gives a laundry list of desired improvements: “better error handling, logging, and threading”, and “adding assertions, native compilation, and a snazzy IDE” along with “some nice frameworks for web, CORBA, and SOA.”
In the end Pratte seems to be saying that Perl can be an “enterprise-class” language that could be used in applications that require bulletproof operation. He gives the example of apps that run submarine navigation systems.
I would be interested to read what all you experienced Perl monks think of all this. Is he way off base, and are there examples of Perl being used in “mission-critical” applications?
Update: I appreciate all of the responses; following this thread has been very educational. My thoughts are that with the right people, and with good planning and project management nearly any application could be produced in Perl to meet the standards of Wall Street trading firms, which I think have the most demanding software requirements in non-military applications.
While ruminating on this subject I came across several items on the web that seem relevant and were at least interesting reads. One is a story titled Botched stock trade costs Japan firm $225M which discusses a human error where IMHO poorly designed software was as much to blame as the actual typo by the person involved.
Another is a document Avionics Software Challenges and Initiatives, which is a Boeing analysis of the title topic. A document that made me chuckle is this case study which describes how the US Navy built a prototype "Smart Ship" which was run using Pentium Pro PC's and Windows NT 4.0. The money quote: "In September of 1997 ... the Yorktown's propulsion system failed. The ship had to be towed to a Naval base at Norfork, and the ship was not restored to operational status for two days. The culprit? The software running on PCs designed to control the ship crashed, taking the rest of the ship down with it."