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Perl Programming

Perl Turns 25 263

Several readers sent word that the Perl programming language turned 25 today. In his commemorative post at the Perl Foundation's website, mdk wrote, "So what does the future hold for Perl? Well I don't have a crystal ball but I cannot see the language fading from usage in the next quarter century, the truth of the matter is that even though there are languages that can do some of the things that Perl does, some of them do some things better, others do things Perl wasn't designed for, there is no language that has been designed to do the things that Perl is very good at doing. No language in the current scripting languages seems to have the flexibility, maturity and extensibility of Perl. The main power of Perl has always been its ability to quickly adapt, and be adapted, to suit purposes. ... The greatest challenges we will face for Perl is a shifting end-user base that will become more reliant on devices that are feature focused but crippled in application choice, the rise in mobile devices will continue and Perl will need to evolve to work with that. A better challenge for us to face would be the integration with electronically aware, and connected devices and systems, the apocryphal internet of things, in this Perl could be a powerful tool. I also believe that the more we see a divergence of language uses in the other scripting languages the more they will face issues in their core designs, issues that Perl avoids due to its malleable nature, what some believe is the crippling factor for Perl is likely to be its saving grace as it has the power and flexibility to cope with the shifting goalposts of an increasingly technologically reliant world."
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Perl Turns 25

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  • Recent convert (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCFusor ( 1763438 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:28PM (#42328835) Homepage
    I recently became a fan of perl as my goals changed towards things it excels at - sticking together big other functionalities easily.
  • I used it. Once. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <graham.rick@gmail.cFREEBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:38PM (#42328979)

    I wrote an app in Perl once. It was the only language that I could get to reliably connect to MSSQL from Linux.

    It was fun to write, but I go back and look at the code now and it looks like Greek.

    On the upside it's been running for over 5 years and having no problems at all.

  • Re:Recent convert (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCFusor ( 1763438 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:39PM (#42329003) Homepage
    Yup. Me too. It's just awesome to be able to get stuff from CPAN with about the right "chunkiness" and documentation vs say trying to learn some huge monolithic library. Better yet - those cool modules often "accidnetally" document other things, like say, Gnuplot, so you can roll your own specialized versions easier than trying to understand the "native language" dox written by someone who didn't code in some other language, then translated by another non-programmer. And I can't believe I got first post.
  • Why perl? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:40PM (#42329015)

    What can perl do that newer languages such as python and ruby can't do, and do more readably/maintainably?

    I understand about path dependence and sunk costs, which is why we still have COBOL, I'm asking about language features that are unique to perl.

  • Re:Why perl? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by miletus ( 552448 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:53PM (#42329205)

    How much of readability is the fault of the language vs the developer? Cut-n-paste coding is the bane of any language.

    As a perl programmer, I sometimes ask, what can python or ruby do that perl can't?

    MVC web framework like Rails or Django? Catalyst, Mojolicious, etc. PSGI has taken a lot of pain out of deployment of apps.

    Good, modern object system? Moose.

    GUI stuff? There's Wx and Qt interfaces.

    OK, embedding C looks much easier in python, but I've never needed that.

    If all the CPAN stuff would just work with other languages, I'd be more willing to switch. Javascript seems to be where all the web stuff is heading anyway.

  • Re:Why perl? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by preaction ( 1526109 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:06PM (#42329395)

    Surprisingly, embedding C++ in Perl is easier than embedding C. Of course, that's just my opinion, there aren't a lot of docs on the C++ topic, and I am one of the few Perl programmers who actually enjoy C++.

    The Parrot VM http://www.parrot.org/ [parrot.org] is supposed to be for dynamic languages what the CLR and JVM are for Microsoft and Java respectively. If it ever makes it to prime time, then you could use your CPAN module with Ruby, or vice-versa.

  • Re:I used it. Once. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:08PM (#42329415) Journal

    Sounds like Perl. Powerful, accessible to a complete beginner, reliable, and practically unmodifiable once written.

  • Re:Recent convert (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @05:56PM (#42330785) Homepage
    It's a great language actually. Instead of people moaning that people write shit perl (like any other language), why no learn to do it right and enjoy it. CPAN of course is a tremendous resource but even on it's own it's not hard at all to write or understand and on the off chance you see something you don't understand, perldoc will almost certainly cover and well because that's another thing that Perl has (along with Python) that many languages lack and that is exceptional documentation.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.