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Re: Perl and London Broil: The future of computing magic?

by weierophinney (Pilgrim)
on Feb 03, 2009 at 20:31 UTC ( #741120=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Perl and London Broil: The future of computing magic?

Caveat: I'm one of those "guys at Zend", and in fact work on Zend Framework. In the past I've done a ton of perl coding, but I am and have been primarily a PHP developer for the past six years.

What is said here, while it resonates to a degree, can also be said within the PHP world. There are many "unzip and go" types of PHP apps that are exactly as described here -- they just worked, but you really, really do not want to look at the source code. Besides being boring, much of it is indeed an unmaintainable mess of spaghetti.

But there are movements within the PHP community to consolidate and standardize best practices, and you can see these with organizations such as PEAR and the various PHP frameworks that have cropped up the last few years. PHP, too, can be a London Broil -- it's simply a matter of how you do the development, and the mindset you bring to it. With PHP 5, PHP now has a credible and usable object model (something that, until I saw Moose recently, actually had advantages over Perl 5), and many developers are creating enterprise-ready frameworks and applications with it. And if you were to ask most PHP developers working on a site of any size, they'll be well aware that a website is not just spitting out HTML, but involves coordinating with web services, memcached, and more. Balogna refers to the old style spaghetti code that has made PHP popular, whereas London Broil represents the new wave of frameworks and applications being developed in PHP.

This post seems primarily geared at comparing PHP to Perl for the purpose of web development, and that's the primary flaw I see here, because the two languages were designed for different things. PHP is scoped for short-lived, non-stateful requests primarily focussed on gluing together various sources and returning the result. Perl allows for long-lived, stateful requests that may or may not have input or concrete results. Sure, Perl can do the web -- but that's only one facet of its capabilities, and not the primary use case it was designed for. And on top of this, I've seen crap code in both languages; Perl has its own share of Balogna scattered around the web.

By the way, if you're interested in efforts to make creation of and use of Perl web applications easier, you may want to take a look at this interview about mod_perlite, as it addresses some similar ideas.

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Re^2: Perl and London Broil: The future of computing magic?
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Feb 04, 2009 at 22:47 UTC

    I don't think that anyone is seriously trying to hold either language up into a comparison with the other, such that either one would be “found wanting.”

    With the possible exception of a handful of n00b's who still think that “an O’Reilly book is a recipe for a lifetime career-plan” (most of whom are rather unlikely to frequent these parts), I don't think you have any reason to fear a flame-war here. (Yawn... feels nice, doesn't it?)

    As you say, PHP and Perl are both well-designed for different purposes, and Perl's scope (in practice...) is much larger. Yet, within the context of both languages, pure-magic can be done. And most of us make our living today with both.

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