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Perl Programming IT Technology

State of the Onion 11 278

chromatic writes "Larry Wall's State of the Onion 11 address is now online. Every year, he describes the state of Perl and its community through metaphor and analogy. This year, Larry explored the history of scripting languages, from their dimly-lit beginnings to their glorious future. Along the way, he also describes several of the design principles invoked in the design of Perl 6. 'When I was a RSTS programmer on a PDP-11, I certainly treated BASIC as a scripting language, at least in terms of rapid prototyping and process control. I'm sure it warped my brain forever. Perl's statement modifiers are straight out of BASIC/PLUS. It even had some cute sigils on the ends of its variables to distinguish string and integer from floating point. But you could do extreme programming. In fact, I had a college buddy I did pair programming with. We took a compiler writing class together and studied all that fancy stuff from the dragon book.'"
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State of the Onion 11

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  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:26PM (#21613505) Journal
    Every year Larry talks about what interesting things have been going on with Perl 6.

    And this year he barely even did that!

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:10PM (#21614145)

    Can we please stop bashing C++ memory management? I write C++ for a living, yet very rarely use what the critics typically call "manual memory management". Either it's really not that hard to do things in better ways, or I guess I must be a superhuman programmer, because according to all the checking software, I haven't introduced a memory leak since... no, actually, I've never introduced one in as long as I've worked here. If you want to talk about the advantages of garbage collection, knock yourselves out, but please stop treating C++ and C as if they're the same in terms of memory management. They are different worlds.

    In any case, garbage collection is far from the biggest benefit of using a scripting language (or whatever we want to call them) over something lower level. As others are pointing out, the more important properties exhibited by most of the modern scripting languages that make them "high level" include first class data structures, first class functions, and dynamic typing.

  • by wardk ( 3037 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:12PM (#21614171) Journal
    attend a local Perl user group meeting seeking basic knowledge like maybe a few tips about hashes and namespaces

    your question may be answered if you are willing to sit through 3 hours of the alpha geeks sparring over who understands Damian Conways latest obsfucation most, hopefully with many examples of their own variations to programs that have no real use. meetup at break with someone who didn't participate in that discussion and note they don't know what the hell they are there for either

    besides, anyone who doesn't know enough about perl to make changes to it's internals is a lamer

    I love using perl, but in my experience, the community around it is lead by pretentious people who think you suck

    ok, I admit I haven't attended one of these in years, but now you know why

    your mileage may vary, hopefully much better results than mine were

    Perl 6. why again should any mere mortal even give a damn??

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:16PM (#21614247)

    Before anyone else points it out, I realised that my final sentence in the parent post reads as though I think dynamic typing is necessary for a high-level language. I don't think this is so in general, but in the context of scripting languages, I think it's one of the key features that lets you write higher level code more easily. In a statically typed language, some sort of type inference serves a similar role, keeping the code generic and cutting out unnecessary boilerplate code.

  • Re:Pair programming? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sohp ( 22984 ) <.moc.oi. .ta. .notwens.> on Friday December 07, 2007 @03:05PM (#21615821) Homepage
    Pair programming isn't 2 people both trying to use the computer at the same time. Pair programming is 1 person working on writing the code and doing the keyboard tasks while the other person looks on and thinks about what's happening within the context of whatever functionality is currently being added to the code. They talk to each other, help each other notice stupid 1-off errors and typos, and bounce ideas off each other. Every so often, whenever one of them is tired of typing, or the one not typing has an idea that can be more easily expressed by typing out the code rather than talking about it, they switch.

    Maybe one of them is a whiz the language and tools, and but is a bit fuzzy on the domain, and the other one is new to the language, but is a domain expert. At first the whiz does most of the keyboard work and the domain expert handles the meta stuff, but gradually they learn from each other and switching off helps them both progress. The domain expert might come to a point where he is trying to explain something complex, so decides to ask for the keyboard and type in some code that does it. It might not be syntactically correct or use the language structure in the best way, but the whiz, looking on, can help clean it up once the ideas are down.

    But really, you can't fully appreciate it until you try it with someone with experience in pair programming.
  • Re:scripting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:59PM (#21618285) Homepage

    I must admit that it would be awfully silly to create a low level language that is interpreted.
    Not at all. Open Firmware [] (used in the OLPC among other devices) is built around a Forth interpreter which can be used to write device drivers and hardware initialization code. Pascal was originally implemented as a p-code interpreter. And so on.
  • Re:scripting (Score:2, Informative)

    by chromatic ( 9471 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:58AM (#21621543) Homepage

    I have not used Perl for a while but when I did I would have called it a scripting language. It just didn't lend it's self to large programs.

    Why not? I've used it for large programs that are still in place. You're reading the output from one of them right now.

    (You won't hear me arguing that Slash is and has always been a good example of maintainable Perl code, but you won't hear Cmdr Taco arguing that he's a good example of a programmer either.)

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein