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Exegesis 2: Damian Conway On Perl6

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the when-smart-people-use-numbers dept.

Perl 125

sumengen writes: "Damian's writing a series of articles parallel to Larry's Apocalypses. These 'Exegesis' articles will show full perl6 programs, with commentary exlaining the new features. The first Exegesis (numbered 2, to keep in sync with Larry) shows a perl6 version of a binary tree program from the Perl Cookbook. Get excited to see things like:
my int ($pre, $in, $post) are constant = (0..2);"

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"are constant" that's retarded... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220204)

"are constant" that's retarded...

for perl anyways, is this supposed to be some COBOL style shit or a language that has syntax like "s/\/=[ab]//" etc type crap...

Perl has always been nasty syntactically and the people who learned it and know how to use it like it that way. Regexs, $_, and all the other assorted funky magic stuff. Let's not try to throw in some stuff that looks like semi-english just to stop the weenies from switching learning python.

I don't like Perl (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220205)

I don't like Perl because it sucks. Why does it suck? It sucks because Larry Wall is not a computer scientist so he designed an ugly mish-mash of a language that is write-only. It is almost impossible to decipher a Perl script 6 months after it has been written.

What is even more ironic is that Larry fancies himself some sort of "linguist" or "English" major. He went to college and read a couple books on Shakespeare so now he thinks he is some kind of language expert. Well it doesn't work that way.

Take a look at Perl. Does it look like it was designed by anyone who knew anything about the English language? No, it doesn't. It honest-to-God looks like it was designed by someone who was an Egyptian hieroglyphics major who spent all his free time watching Star Trek -- in other words, someone completely disconnected with reality.

So you can see why Perl sucks. Not to worry; there are other better languages to use. Try Python or Ruby, or gosh darn it -- Korn Shell. Any of these is better than Perl, a "language" which should be relegated to set decoration for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220206)

This is off topic, but what the hell - everyone else does it !

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been doing some stuff in Perl. It's the first time I've used it, and I must say that it has, without a doubt, one of the most tortuous and confusing syntax of any language I've ever used.

I *HATE* all this stuff with preceding variable with $'s and %'s and stuff - it reminds me of the old BASIC days of 15 years ago.

In the latest Perl book, there's a couple of paragraphs that try and defend all this $ and % stuff. It basically says that if you don't like it you're missing the point and that you really ought to go back to school.

Well, Mr. Wall, YOU ARE WRONG ! This sort of crappy syntax should not be necessary. There is simply no reason for it at all.

It is INCREDIBLY difficult to just pass a variable about the place and actually get it to pop out at the other side in the same format as it was at the start. Or, more correctly, it's incredibly difficult to contrive some weird reference syntax (with the appropriate $ or % or whatever) in both the call to a function and the extraction of the variable out of that bloody stupid $_ thing within the function.

I agree with an earlier post - it is a jumbled mess. C++ is often criticized for being confusing and having weird syntax. This may well be a valid complaint, but at least once you know how to do it, it's consistent !

I don't doubt for a moment that someone will read this and think "idiot - he doesn't know what he's doing". The thing it, it shouldn't be difficult - it should be easy to do easy things.

I've often seen the following description of Perl.....

"It makes difficult things easy and it makes impossible things possible."

Added to this ought to be the phrase "it makes easy things UNBELIEVABLY difficult and contrived".

That brings me nicely to a general problem with the Perl book (and indeed most of the available Perl documentation) - why are the examples so crap ?

example (this is lifted straight out of the book)......

The 'while' loop..........

while ($tickets_sold ;
$tickets_sold += $purchase;

This isn't actually that good an example of what my gripe is, but look at it !!! I mean, what's wrong with a READABLE example like.....

my ($blob) = 0;
while ($blob 10)
print "$blob\n";

In other words, stick to the topic in hand - why start introducing stuff about file input and stuff when all you want to know is "what does a while loop do ?", and "how do I write it ?".

This sort of crappy, over engineered, example is typical of what you get in the documentation.

Plus, the examples are often incomplete - they assume that variables are defined (OK, I know you don't need to do this), and they often assume that you've done lots of other stuff. Until you realize this, you tap in the example and find it won't even bloody compile !!!!!!

I HATE Perl !!!!!

OK, rant over.

if const &perl6 (a..Z) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220207)

Then { if ( why == simple ) then why = not happy elif (why = complex) then why = happy endif elif # perl6 elif # subject

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220208)

Now rewrite slashdot in Mercury, functional programming language freak.

Of course a functional language like Mercury, ML, Haskell, etc, is going to eat up a binary tree for breakfast. In my experience getting a functional language to do anything more than a small example of code is nearly impossible, although I have seen that people have coded raytracers, etc, in ML. Speed demon is not the word to describe these things though.

The usefulness of a language these days is scored by the number of libraries available for it to do things. Perl wins here, C wins here.

Anyway, Perl is easy in my opinion. Regular expressions are great once you know about them, and really powerful. Sure, Perl has some idiosyncracies that need to be sorted out, which is what Perl 6 should be aiming to do.

I like the $, %, @, etc. They show me the type of a variable at a glance. Look at C variables - most people (should) use hungarian notation, and just look at the horrible result of that.

Just because BASIC did the same kind of thing doesn't mean it is a bad idea. However, BASIC was much more limited. I mean $ for scaler, % for hashes, @ for lists, etc is easy with Perl.

And CPAN rules.

New Sig: If you think a C geek is bad, wait 'til you see an ML freak.

Re:Perl misses the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220209)

What I find so difficult (and annoying) is that you can take a variable (@ping) and you can do something 'obvious' with it like @pong = @ping. Except, this ISN'T obvious, is it ? It doesn't do quite what you were expecting, does it ?

Well, actually, it does precisely what I was expecting. This is probably attributable to the fact that I bothered to learn perl before trying to code perl. What's with people confusing "easy to do powerful things" with "if you speak english, you can code"? To my knowledge, the latter has never been a stated goal of perl.

The $,@,%,etc. does not refer to the type of variable that was originally declared (that's why we have UNIQUE NAMES), it's supposed to tell perl what context you mean something in. It's a feature -- NOT a bug. But apparently enough of you have complained to get it changed, and since the change is elegant anyway, I'll do the manly thing and just suck it up.

Re:RFC, like request for comment? for real? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 13 years ago | (#220210)

Wow, looks like a few people forgot turn on their humor detectors this morning. -1 flaimbait and two flames? I guess it's a self fullfilling moderation!

Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.

death of the diamond operator? (2)

opus (543) | more than 13 years ago | (#220211)

Damian Conway writes:

The first thing you'll notice is that reports of the diamond operator's death have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, even though the Second Apocalypse foretold its demise, Rule No. 2 has since been applied and the angle brackets live!

I assume this means that Larry has had a change of heart since he wrote Apocalypse 2, but what is this mysterious "Rule No. 2" that has been invoked?


Re:Not as advertised (1)

Piers Cawley (1193) | more than 13 years ago | (#220212)

Of course, to really get the advantage from Perl, you'll probably have to start messing with fairly high level conceptual stuff.

People just seem to have a problem getting their heads 'round the likes of pointers. A big difference between Perl and C is that you can get a lot done in Perl before you have to start using pointers/references, so when you do start to need them you are at least comfortable with the rest of the language.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Piers Cawley (1193) | more than 13 years ago | (#220213)

Note too that an awful lot of what is claimed to be good about the language in question is projected for Perl 6. Larry just hasn't got to that part yet.

Okay, so you'll still have @$% and friends, but so what? Personally I /like/ the easy interpolation into strings that that gives me.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (3)

jCaT (1320) | more than 13 years ago | (#220214)

I had a really nice response to this that would have been extremely helpful, but the guys at slashdot seem to think perl code is random characters:

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted.

Reason: Junk character post.

Kind of funny, since it's all written in perl. Kudos, rob- you've managed to stifle any discussion about perl code. :)

Python, (1)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 13 years ago | (#220215)

Well, I'd just like to say that I love python. Then again I also love perl.


Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

LunaticLeo (3949) | more than 13 years ago | (#220216)

Perl is easy to learn if you are coming from a Unix background. All the good stuff in built into the language (grep, sort, hashes, arrays). It has got the best from awk, sed, C, and shell.

For the Children of Windows (much like Children of the Corn), you are screwed. If you want an easy-to-use/familliar programming language try Logo. A more serious suggestion is Rexx from OS/2.

Has anybody noticed that all these Python/KDE/PHP/GUI loving and Unix whining posters come from User IDs over 200,000 ? What you people want in Windows 2000. Go get it from a warez site and call it Freeware.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

LunaticLeo (3949) | more than 13 years ago | (#220217)

I DO come from a UNIX background !

You come from a unix background. That is nice.

Are you standing in support of the claim Perl is hard to learn?

So you've used sed, awk, bourne-shell, cut, sort, and grep alot...right? You know that bourne-shell uses backticks for sub shelled output? You know that '/' is called slash and '\' is called back-slash? (inverting this distinction is a big child-of-windows give away.) You've programmed in you know argc, argv and envp right?

All these things translate one-for-one into PERL and you find it hard to understand PERL?

If you didn't understant all the above unix references, you aren't from a unix background. You are a cage-monkey the knows how to reboot unix computers. (Sorry for insulting all the cage-monkeys out there; love yah!)

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#220218)

Er. the semicolons in odd places like "if; br(T, tree(T), tree(T))" is pretty obfuscated. Yes, you may say there is a good reason for it, but then there is a good reason for Perl's oddities as well.

Re:RFC in Perl 7 (2)

armb (5151) | more than 13 years ago | (#220219)

> I'm surprised Perl doesn't support the GO-FROM-idiom yet

You're thinking of "COME FROM".

See "A Linguistic Contribution to GOTO-less Programming" Pr ogramming.html

It's been implemented in INTERCAL.


Re:RFC, like request for comment? for real? (1)

_Gus (5251) | more than 13 years ago | (#220220)

Does this guy actually has to audacity to call something an RFC and actually just mean request for comment?
Well DUH! Of course they are RFCs, thats what we english speakers call an "abbreviation" or "acronym". Would you *really* have expected then to type "request for comment 005" where "RFC005" is both correct and perfectly clear?

Maby just *to* flexible ? (3)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 13 years ago | (#220224)

How about:
$*ARGS is chomped;

Maby it's just me, but I fear that setting properties to variables that affect how fuctions work on them, will greatly decrease the quality of code, available.

Let's just face it, not everybody has even heard of Dijkstra [] , let alone know how to write 'proofable' programs.
echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln80~Psnlbx]16isb15CB32EF3AF9C0E5D7272 C3AF4F2snlbxq'|dc

Re:applescriptish (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 13 years ago | (#220225)

If you set $\ (or $OUTPUT_FIELD_SEPARATOR if you use the English pragma), you can use whatever you like, including \n.

My guess is Perl 6 will make this a property of filehandles... seems good to me.


Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (4)

malkavian (9512) | more than 13 years ago | (#220226)

Urrr.. I tend to use Perl a lot.
Ya know, it's quite easy to pick up (I got up and running in an afternoon on the basics).
The prefixed identifier is pretty useful as a memory aid, so that you are ALWAYS aware of what type you're dealing with (scalar, array, hash, sub, or typeglob).
To learn what these are, you read one page in a book, and all is clear. Now, how difficult is that??
If you're having trouble extracting values out of variables, then I think you have a weird view of 'difficult'. Pulling a value out of a deep struct in C can be difficult, but using $_ being difficult? Bah.
Still, if you don't like it, fine. Your choice. But, please don't keep saying it's so difficult.
I taught my Girlfriend to use Perl in a day (at the basics), and she's never learned a programming language in her life prior to this. She's now sailing away in it happily.



Re:PERL: PERL is an Ebonics-Related Language (?) (2)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#220227)

Or functions like
touch (my $bitch) and die;

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#220228)

I just assumed there were some unescaped '<' and '>' characters in there that would make it make sense.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

ode to a small perl of green putty... (3)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#220229)

Perl may look confusing, but there's nothing like having to work in VB for a week to make you miss the raw power Perl provides.

Some of these language changes disturb me too, but I trust Larry to ultimately make it fairly simple to transition from perl5-think to perl6-think. The transition will break a few things but it sounds like it will increase the power of the language by about as much as perl4 to perl5 did.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:PERL: PERL is an Ebonics-Related Language (?) (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#220230)

if $bitches = $da_shit, do $nasty_stuff


Try This (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#220231)

10 PRINT "Fuck You!"
20 GOTO 10

Be sure to pipe the output through lpr.


Re:Shades of PL/I (2)

geophile (16995) | more than 13 years ago | (#220232)

Do you really expect to see three variables initialized to 0, 1 and 2 in a tight inner loop? The ridiculous PL/I initialization syntax sought to be concise, and this was achieved at the expense of clarity. This Perl construct seems the same. Just about any syntactic monstrosity can be justified on the grounds of performance, but you have to wonder how much it's really going to help in practice.

Shades of PL/I (4)

geophile (16995) | more than 13 years ago | (#220233)

25 years ago, I spent many hours debugging a PL/I program to discover that some code I inherited relied on arcane initialization rules and got it wrong. How nice to know that untold generations of programmers will now have the same experience thanks to constructs like "my int ($pre, $in, $post) are constant = (0..2);" I was never a Perl fan and I'm even less of one now. But out of curiosity, what possible justification is there for such a construct?

I was also happy to see Basic's "dim" recycled.

Really guys, haven't we learned anything since oh, I don't know, 1965?

Re:The real strength of Perl (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 13 years ago | (#220234)

<flamebait type="humourous">
Ah, so instead of programming with a well designed language, well designed libraries, and a community bent on producing a top quality, readable, naturally extensible language, I get to program with.... culture!

I'll go down to the supermarket and get ten tons of yoghurt now, shall I? :)

Re:the more I learn about C, the more I like perl (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 13 years ago | (#220235)

Being a C++ coder, the more I learn C++, the more I like C.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#220236)

Urrr.. I tend to use Perl a lot.

This coming from a Malkavian.

This amuses me tremendously.


what a time for my mod points to expire... (1)

jslag (21657) | more than 13 years ago | (#220237)

oh well, good show anyway.

PERL: PERL is an Ebonics-Related Language (?) (5)

Jester99 (23135) | more than 13 years ago | (#220238)

Now in Perl 6, one can have such syntax as: my int ($pre, $in, $post) is constant = (0..2);
and: $ARGS is prompts("Search? ");

With the advent of this new "is" construction and the use of passive voice in the code, I think that the following should also be added:

  • A be operator,
  • a being modifier, and
  • the gerundative form (-ing) of any keyword should be allowed.

This would allow for such conventions as:

$*ARGS be chomping;
"" is being required;

(or if one wants to be smart:)
recognize $foo!;

Just a thought.

the more I learn about C, the more I like perl (2)

aberoham (30074) | more than 13 years ago | (#220239)

Has anyone else out there sort of grown up with Perl during this dot.compost era and now started to check out C and the real guts behind ''world domination?''

I'm finally getting into C by taking a night class at UCLA, and my god, this stuff only gets cooler and cooler. To see the community RFC type thing go on with Perl6 and to watch/hear/readof the ISO committee floundering [] with other languages is very interesting too.

Of all the uninspiring things happening with government, the economy, environment, etc these days, I really recommend that any inclined kid such as myself out there get back to basics and check out what their local community college/college extension has to offer. I have, and every time I walk out of class it's like "oh, no shit, that's friggin sweet." Maybe it's just me, but for some of these things, it's just easier to be in an engaging classroom environment rather than to be all by your lonesone with Conway's ''OOP [] .''

Anywho, back to coding [] ..

Re:I don't like Perl (1)

ianezz (31449) | more than 13 years ago | (#220241)

The usefulness of a language [is determined] by the speed at which you can make something out of it that you can actually use.

Uhm, that's a little bit narrow-minded IMHO. At least, you should throw in also the ability for people other than the original author to quickly understand what the code does, how it does it and change its behaviour according to the new requirements. Requirements usually aren't written in stone, and even if Perl allows you to be extremely quick at producing new working code from zero, having to almost refactor everything at every change request which can't be done by the original author doesn't sound too well to me.

You can say: "but there are comments for this! There is literate programming!", but in the end the final word is always said by code itself, not by the comments (do you expect all programmers to write meaningful and exahustive comments explaining the exact behaviour and side effects of a piece of code? I've given up expecting this some years ago...).

I may be wrong, of course, and honestly I hope I am. I recognize that Perl programmers have better things to do that writing code which is difficult to read, but I wouldn't like to have to say one day "Inside Perl there is a little nifty language..." as it has been said over and over for C++.

If this is going to be the case, expect a Language-X to Perl translator really soon, and Perl being relegated to be the new assembly language of the third millenium (btw, IIRC, this is one of Larry's proposals: using Perl as a cross-platform VM with translators on the top of it from several languages -- after all, this is the current trend).

Re:I don't like Perl (1)

ianezz (31449) | more than 13 years ago | (#220242)

Do you really mean that it is not possible to write readable code in perl???

I was talking about languages in general. All languages suck more or less from this point of view (this is why you have many of them - otherwise we'd be all using only the One True Language - which is not the case).

That said, i fear Perl is going in the direction of the creeping featurism that affected C++ some time ago, and IMHO it would be really a pity. Introducing constructs that to save a line or two affects how the code is interpreted 1200 lines below, and then saying "you should use them locally" adds to the list of things that an average developer could get wrong or overlook.

A language with an anal-retentive syntax is definitively not the answer, but nor is trying to support every conceivable programming style (in the sense of the amount of syntax sugar thrown in) in a single language.

So, to answer your question: it is definitively possible to write perfectly readable Perl, exactly in the same manner it is possible to write perfectly readable assembly or C. But people won't write readable code just because it's possible.

Re:Maby just *to* flexible ? (1)

ianezz (31449) | more than 13 years ago | (#220243)

Taking your reasonement to the extreme, we should all start writing JVM opcodes.

It is flexible enough so several languages with other paradigms are implemented on it, it is cross platform in the sense that there are decent JVM for the main platforms, and making readable programs only requires disciplined programmers. Maintenance is easily done because everything is well documented with comments and on dead trees.
< /IRONY >

It is worth noting that it requires years for a coder to get the experience needed to be `disciplined'. Expecially, it requires lots of debugging other's code. Even you weren't born as a `disciplined' programmer, but you became disciplined like everyone else, day by day.

In the meanwhile, either the `still not disciplined coder' refrain itself from using languages requiring more discipline (which is a fancy way just to say that some languages are definitively not for beginners), or (s)he use the language anyway, with great headaches for the guy doing maintenance.

It's good for a language to be flexible, but trying to support all coding styles at once just for the sake of it is pure evil. That's why there are multiple languages out there.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Wodin (33658) | more than 13 years ago | (#220244)

hmmm... That looks a hell of a lot like Prolog.

Re:death of the diamond operator? (1)

theMAGE (51991) | more than 13 years ago | (#220248)

Rule 1: The boss is _ALLWAYS_ Right.
Rule 2: When the boss is Wrong, the first rule takes effect.

What I want to know is (3)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 13 years ago | (#220250)

Does Perl still support GOTO?

God, I love that command.

Re:Shades of PL/I (1)

Bassthang (78064) | more than 13 years ago | (#220251)

But out of curiosity, what possible justification is there for such a construct?

Optimisation?????????????? Typing like this will be an optional feature, but it will speed up certain programs (e.g. numerical routines).

Re:Perl (2)

Bassthang (78064) | more than 13 years ago | (#220252)

Will it? I thought python was whitespace dependent ... :-)

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

fanatic (86657) | more than 13 years ago | (#220254)

example (this is lifted straight out of the book)...... The 'while' loop..........
while ($tickets_sold ;
$tickets_sold += $purchase;
If it was taken from the book, why are there 2 syntax errors in the first line? Try again.

This isn't actually that good an example of what my gripe is, but look at it !!! I mean, what's wrong with a READABLE example like..... my ($blob) = 0; while ($blob 10) { print "$blob\n"; }


Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

fanatic (86657) | more than 13 years ago | (#220255)

Ooops, hit submit when I meant preview

example (this is lifted straight out of the book)...... The 'while' loop..........
while ($tickets_sold ;
$tickets_sold += $purchase;
If it was taken from the book, why are there 2 syntax errors in the first line? Try again.

This isn't actually that good an example of what my gripe is, but look at it !!! I mean, what's wrong with a READABLE example like.....

Your syntax is wrong, how about this?

my ($blob) = 0;
for $blob1 ($blob..10)
&nbsp print "$blob1\n";

Your arguments would have much more power if you actually had ANY IDEA what you are talking about.


Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

nwetters (93281) | more than 13 years ago | (#220256)

%I was the global variable, holding stuff like $I{dbh} - the database handle.

It's fairly useful having one global variable in a small program, but it becomes cludgy once you modularize.

Perl be Yoda (2)

nwetters (93281) | more than 13 years ago | (#220257)

$*STRONG being the force;

RFC in Perl 7 (2)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#220259)

After reading the page (ouch, my head hurts), I'm surprised Perl doesn't support the GO-FROM-idiom yet. It'd help alot in obfuscating the code more:

LABEL1: /* jumps to all "go from LABEL1"s in the code here */

go from LABEL1

By using multiple GO-FROMs you can even make threads! It's powerful, intuitive and obfuscated. Just the right thing for Perl 7.

If you think "go from" is too elaborate, you could probably use ${LABEL1}-> instead. Unless that's taken of course.

- Steeltoe

RFC, like request for comment? for real? (1)

jon_c (100593) | more than 13 years ago | (#220260)

When i first went to this page [] I saw a shitload of RFC's. all numbers to low to be Real RFC's [] .

so whats up? Does this guy actually has to audacity to call something an RFC and actually just mean request for comment?


Re:RFC in Perl 7 (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 13 years ago | (#220261)

I think the following would be cooler: GO FROM TO Of course that statment itself could be labeled and properly INOREd just to avoid the confusion of GOTO's.

Contexts... (1)

sjoperkin (110789) | more than 13 years ago | (#220262)

Context dependent evaluation of variables, could be really interesting to debug...

Re:Contexts... (1)

sjoperkin (110789) | more than 13 years ago | (#220263)

have not ever, will not ever use it...

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

davidb54 (120923) | more than 13 years ago | (#220264)

Oh hey, thanks. I forgot about > et al. I wasn't trying to be rude. I wanted to give an example of "I am a dick" programming style, which you can do really well in Perl. If I ever ran across code like this in a professional setting, I would laugh my ass off, then go yell at the author. Anyway, my real point is that if you can solve that problem in so little space in Perl, that's kind of interesting. To me, at least.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

davidb54 (120923) | more than 13 years ago | (#220265)

Sorry, I'm a jackass. I thought your post was a response to mine. Ignore that.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

davidb54 (120923) | more than 13 years ago | (#220266)

Perl can definitely look strange, but you learn over time just how much is possible with the top row of your keyboard, and in how little space it can be done. If you want an example of *readable* Perl code, check [] . It's not as difficult as it seems. Eventually, you will cackle with glee while you hold down the shift key and bang away at that top row: @#$(&^@)#$&%_. Learn Perl. Love Perl. Be Perl. Then go on and learn something else.

The language life cycle (4)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#220268)

There's a life cycle of languages that start out without a serious type system. It goes as follows.
  • "We don't need all those declarations. We'll have nice, concise programs"
  • "Without any declarations, nobody can keep their variables straight. So we'll have a few declarations, but not like those complicated languages".
  • "People are writing big programs in this language, and they need types and objects. So we'll put them in".
  • "Now that we have types and objects, people expect all the features that go with them. So we'll add them".
  • "The declaration syntax is a mess. It's unreadable, hard to parse, and programmers have a hard time using it right. How did we get into this hole?"
  • "This language is too complicated. Let's develop a simpler language."

Wash, rinse, repeat.

C went through this evolution, taking about 25 years to do so. Originally, everything in C was basically a 16-bit int. Structs were just a set of offsets. There was no type-checking; any struct field could be used with any pointer. Then came K&R C, which added a type system but made the syntax context-dependent, because the original language hadn't contemplated user-defined types. ANSI C made the type system consistent. C++ added objects. ISO C++ added templates, collections, and lots of other stuff. Now the language and its manuals are huge.

LISP also went through this cycle, again taking about 20-25 years to go from LISP 1.5 to Common LISP. So did FORTRAN and BASIC. Perl is now well along into this cycle.

If you put in the type system first, as Java, Python, Pascal, Ada, and Smalltalk did, the end result is cleaner, but the language gets an initial reputation of being complicated. Perl, though, has now grown to be more complex than any of those languages, so it's on the downslope of the cycle.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 13 years ago | (#220269)

On a funny note, it's probably so people couldn't post derogatory statements about slashcode (pre-bender) that had examples in them (I finally figured out what $S is but wtf is $I?).

On a not-so-funny note, it's not just that "junk" chars are verboten, but the lack of a 'pre' or 'code' tag with which to meaningfully render code is a real bummer. Especially in this section, a priori a code-focused one. I'd propose relaxing the restrictions on 'code' or 'pre' here but I'm sure it would be a pain to implement[1].

[1] yeah, yeah. trolls abusing it for page screwage. cry me a river, and while you're at it just set threshold = [1 .. 3]. ;-)

News for geeks in Austin: []

Want to go see Damien ? (3)

jasontheking (124650) | more than 13 years ago | (#220270)

For those of you in Victoria, Australia, You can go see Damien Conway talk about some of the things he is doing for perl at the moment.

More details are at

Re:typed languages. (1)

djberg96 (133496) | more than 13 years ago | (#220271)

I second that. It's 5.x forever or Python and Ruby, here I come.

Hitchhiker's guide to Perl (5)

Siener (139990) | more than 13 years ago | (#220272)

There is a theory that if anyone ever discovers exactly what Perl is for and why it is here, it will immediately disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened...

There is yet a third theory which states that both the first two theories were concocted by a wily editor of the Camel Book in order to increase the universal level of uncertainty and paranoia, and so boost sales of the book.

Perl is the crack... (1)

koolB (149856) | more than 13 years ago | (#220274)

Perl is the crack of programming languages...and I am an addict...with JUST the method of upgrading/installing CPAN makes it me.... So all you guys thinking about Perl...once you cant stop....and NOTHING compares to the POWER of Perl... I screwed around for a cupla hours yesterday and wrote a complete statics system for my web page...without using 1 module!

Re:I don't like Perl (1)

koolB (149856) | more than 13 years ago | (#220275)

You're dead on here. *Sometimes* I dont give a flying f*ck about how readable it is, as I usually do a complete rewrite on each visit to a function/procudure. Sometimes I want to do it my way with my current knowledge. Of course, as you learn more, you can modify to do things smarter and faster...

Python? (no jihad this time) (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 13 years ago | (#220276)

Fair enough, not everyone likes Perl. It sounds like you should try out Python [] , because it was designed to have a more readable syntax without all that $%#{}; confusion.

IMHO the two languages focus on different things. Perl vs. Python is like poetry vs. technical docs: the former has a lot of artistic freedom, and some things can be made more powerful/compact, but it is difficult to use properly, more so in larger projects. Or you could even say they are like Gimp vs. LaTeX as writing tools. Usually I prefer the latter, when I want to focus on content and not worry about formatting, but sometimes you just need that creative freedom.


Randal Schwartz, are you out there? (3)

VSarkiss (173815) | more than 13 years ago | (#220281)

Merlyn, HELP!

This is so confusing. Just the sight of @_[0] to mean a scalar, the second argument to a sub, makes me feel dizzy, and the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Please, find Damian and Larry and wake them up somehow. Cold water, dope slap, whatever it takes!


Whew. I hate those early-morning nightmares. Both Larry Wall and Damian Conway were in this dream, wearing dark suits and Ray-Bans, and, and....

Re:I don't think I'm confused.... (2)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#220282)

...C++ ! It's often critisized for precicely this reason - too many ways of doing the same thing

Perl proudly exists for the benifit of people who like to embrace "too many ways". It allows you to write crappy code that works while you are learning, and grow as a programmer while producing functional software. Speaking for myself, when I first jumped into writing in Perl for actual applications at my job, I found that it was only a matter of two or three weeks that my code got so much better that I cringed every time I looked at the stuff I wrote on day 1 of the project. A couple months later, I could not stand to look at the crap I had written after 3 weeks. But the point is, all of that lousy code from my days of baby-steps still worked. I could go back and clean it up if I needed to, or I could just leave that pile of spaghetti lying there, functioning perfectly, allowing me to move on to more pressing matters.

If you want your choices limited, to force you into mostly good coding habits, use Java or something.

I often think that the only reason anyone uses vi is so that they can point at people who don't use it and giggle.

There are several reasons why some folks like vi:

1. It is everywhere. Pretty much all *n[iu]x OS has it rolled in, so whether you are sitting at a Solaris box, a Linux box, an old SVR4 box, you can count on vi being available. This allows you to learn one text editor, and use it on any (non-MS) server.

2. It is fairly powerful. Once you learn it, you can do some pretty fast editing of multiple files. vi is not the only editor that supports expressions, sed, awk, etc., but it does it fairly well.

3. It feels a lot like the CLI of the more popular shells. Anybody who learns UNIX will already know a lot of what they need to know to use vi.

4. A lot of first-year college kids are taught how to use it, so it is fairly universal

All that said, there are "better" choices out there (the cheering section for emacs continues to swell), and vi is mostly used due to laziness... but then again, laziness is often considered a virtue in the CS world, is it not?

I'll refrain from getting much deeper into it than that, because nothing in the universe is more tedious that a debate about choice of text editor.

Perl is not THAT bad. But why isn't the obvious obvious ?

Because Perl was not written for doing the obvious. It was written for solving challenging problems. If you evaluate all languages according to how hard "Hello, world!" is to write, you are excluding the mort powerful features of all of them. Yes, all the $_ and \@ stuff looks, at a glance, like it is harder than it should be. The same could be said of the way C handles pointers. Some people find it hard to wrap their heads around Java's use of classes.

All I can say is, use Perl for some hard jobs, instead of just trying in out on "obvious" tasks, and check out how much time you can sometimes save, once you embrace the language. You will be a Perl zealot in no time. (After all, the biggest zealots for anything are always the converted critics.)

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (4)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#220283)

As I read down through the nested comments, and see yet another compare-and-contrast between Perl and C++, I feel compelled to point something out.

Perl is an interpreted language that lets you quickly hack big jobs with small effort.

C++ is a compiled, object-based language, designed for projects that require the advantages of the OO model and the speed of pre-compiled binary code.

A good all-purpose programmer should learn both. Asking which is better is like asking if a Mack truck is better than a Lotus Esprit Turbo... the answer depends largely on what you want to do with it.

Re:RFC, like request for comment? for real? (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 13 years ago | (#220284)

Does this guy actually has to audacity to call something an RFC and actually just mean request for comment?


Perl is very easy to learn (2)

nagora (177841) | more than 13 years ago | (#220285)

I've interviewed people for jobs and given them Perl in a Nutshell and asked them to do simple programs. C programmers have no real trouble. Perl can be programmed almost as if it was C.

To program Perl as if it was Perl is much harder and I've yet to master it after two years of using it, but I did learn to produce useful programs in it in an afternoon.


Bloat? (2)

nagora (177841) | more than 13 years ago | (#220286)

I can't imagine any justification for adding the "prompt" feature to any programming language. Well, can you?


Re:Bloat? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#220288)

It's a 'button' that 1% of people will use in 1% of their code. So I'll not be happy until they've added 10000 such buttons, as then they'll have added something for everyone to use everywhere!


Re:if you gonna quota, quota right. (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#220289)

Bzzzt! Try again!

Read further. 'are' may well be introduced as a synonym for 'is'. The editorial comment was a forward-looking one, was it not?



typed languages. (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 13 years ago | (#220292)

... fuck typed languages. That means. perl 5.* for
the rest of my life.

perl and quality code (1)

rpeppe (198035) | more than 13 years ago | (#220293)

Let's just face it, not everybody has even heard of Dijkstra, let alone know how to write 'proofable' programs

come on, this is perl you're talking about! the canonical "write-once, read-nowhere" language... in my experience, the quality of perl code out there currently couldn't be significantly decreased anyway! :-)

Re:I don't think I'm confused.... (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#220294)

(for anyone surfing at a higher number this is in response to an AC post :-)

Why should perl be easy to understand for you? Thats what BASIC is for, no hold on if you want it to be easy and effortless don't program at all!
You can't expect the rest of society to lower themselves down to your level just because you personally can't understand something..

The great thing about open source, the linux community and programming in general is choice - if you like and understand perl you can use it, if you dont look for an alternative (python, ruby,C++,va'raq...), it would be more productive than complaining.

Now the greatest thing about Perl is there is more than one way to do things and that is also (I think) what confuses some people, they expect less flexibility and power from a programming language.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (3)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#220295)

The example looks fine to me, perhaps you're confusing your inability to understand the language with whether or not its a good programming language.
If you like C++ or BASIC then use them instead, I really believe people should choose the language that fits their way of thinking, I enjoy using perl and find it makes sense, you may prefer C++ - that doesnt make either of them better or worse than the other.

Re:I don't like Perl (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 13 years ago | (#220296)

If you don't get Perl, it's probably because your head is full of BASIC trauma.

Or LISP trauma. Perl strives to avoid orthogonality at all costs.

Re:Do we really need it? (1)

arslanm (202255) | more than 13 years ago | (#220297)

Well, I love perl too, and I think it's powerful, but.. it's pain in the ass, too complicated.. altough i love it i don't use it on simple scripts, i prefer php to perl on web/cmdline scripts.

The beauty of Perl. (2)

onion2k (203094) | more than 13 years ago | (#220298)

First point I must make, I love Perl. Its far and away my weapon of choice for most programming tasks.

Perl isn't everybody's cup of tea. There are elements of syntax that can be somewhat oblique. There are aspects that are positively obscure compared to C or Java. However, there are some fantastic points about it too. First and foremost, learning Perl is a distinctly easier task than C, Java or any other higher level language. Simple tasks in C are very simple, but anything beyond the basics is extremely taxing for the beginner. Once you're into Perls way of working you're sorted. Perl also has a tendancy to be shown as a block of regexp code too. This doesn't help.

You mention that the example 'won't even bloody compile', inferring you're used to some other compiled langauge. This is another failing of Perl. Its syntacically(sp?) really quite different to everything else. Coming to Perl from another language is difficult, more so than Pascal to C for example.

In the end, live and let live. If you can't get on with Perl then don't. There are many other options open to you.

Re:I don't like Perl (1)

GroovBird (209391) | more than 13 years ago | (#220300)

The usefulness of a language is not determined by the ease of the syntax, but by the speed at which you can make something out of it that you can actually use.

If you don't get Perl, it's probably because your head is full of BASIC trauma.

applescriptish (3)

KevinMS (209602) | more than 13 years ago | (#220301)

First of all, I really wish they'd put in a println function, I really hate typing "\n"

but then again

sub println{ print "$_[0]\n";}
print "hello";

in other thoughts, the 'is' in

%node{VALUE} = $val is Found(0);

kinda scares me because it reminds me of applescript. I dont remember applescript, but I've done some sizeable things in it, and its so close to a natural language that you get confused and start programming in english. Its good that spoken language and programming languages look so different, otherwise I'd accidentally start speaking in code.

in its defense... (1)

Preposterous Coward (211739) | more than 13 years ago | (#220302)

I had a similar initial reaction, but then I get my head around it by thinking of $*ARGS as an object rather than a "plain" variable. Then what you're basically saying is:


and any further calls to $*ARGS "accessor methods" behave appropriately.

Of course, I'm no OO guru, so if this mental model has some fundamental flaw I'd appreciate feedback.

Re:Shades of PL/I (1)

CharlesDonHall (214468) | more than 13 years ago | (#220303)

25 years ago, I spent many hours debugging a PL/I program to discover that some code I inherited relied on arcane initialization rules and got it wrong. How nice to know that untold generations of programmers will now have the same experience thanks to constructs like "my int ($pre, $in, $post) are constant = (0..2);" I was never a Perl fan and I'm even less of one now. But out of curiosity, what possible justification is there for such a construct

That's for defining an "enumerated type". I like the Pascal syntax best:

type state = {PRE, IN, POST};

That emphasizes the point that we only want to know what state we're in; we don't care which integer is associated with which state.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Glabrezu (215236) | more than 13 years ago | (#220304)

I dont think that it's a misconception at all. Perl is easy to learn. You dont have many constructs, in fact just three different types of data to do everything, and the C like loop constructs and operands. If you want to program in perl in a similar way than in C you can do it with few modifications. Obviously, you would be using a chainsaw as a scissor....

"Programming Perl" isn't a language reference. I learned perl reading it and IMHO its the best way to grasp the idea of what perl is about. Why? Because it keeps you moving, changing, showing you diferent things at the same time, it helps you to start thinking "perl". A more orderly book would probably produce programmers that wouldn't get the idea of what TMTOWTDI is about.

I know a good number of languages, but i didnt find one that gaves me such an expressive power as perl. I dont always use it anyway, because sometimes i do belive that i need more control on my code. But i can't understand why some people dont like perl. Its the only programming language in wich i can say more things in a sentence that in a full page of natural language...


Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

ralphbecket (225429) | more than 13 years ago | (#220305)

Hmm, just how much functional programming experience have you had? It most certainly is not hard to tackle real-world problems using FPLs. It is harder to lash-up any old pile of crap that just about gets the job done provided you don't stress it too hard - I'll give you that.

I suspect the ray tracers you're referring to were the ones people wrote for last year's ICFP programming contest. That contest was a free-for-all (imperative entries welcome) that lasted 72 hours from the time the spec. was posted to the time the binaries had to be in. Do you really imagine that a serious performance system is going to be coded in that time? Anyway, this is a straw man since (a) modern FPLs are fast - certainly competitive with C++ and Java - and (b) Perl is not what you use if performance is an issue. By the way, for the three years that the ICFP contests have been going, there have been Perl entries all along, but I don't believe any of them got past the basic correctness tests (I may be wrong about the 1998 entries - anybody know for sure how well they did?)

As for libraries, there I agree with you. Perl does indeed have a very large number of them. Loking at the module list on CPAN there are a large number of modules fixing up holes in the language (which I find astounding given the size of the language.) Surprisingly, I find little there that does not already exist for Mercury other than the systems support libraries (I'm not qualified to report on their quality; my colleagues give them mixed reviews).

But this is all rather beside the point - I don't seriously expect to garner any Mercury converts on this thread. The point is that if you are going to write non-trivial working programs then you should use a language which makes it hard to code bugs in and which is easy to maintain. Perl singularly fails on both these counts.

TIP (To Insure PROMPTness) (2)

The Monster (227884) | more than 13 years ago | (#220306)

Damien says:
The only change here is that now you're allowed to have the input handle add a little something to the output before it flushes the buffer. That's done with the prompts property. If an input handle has that property, its value is written to $*OUT just before the input handle reads. So we can replace:
for (print "Search? "; ; print "Search? ";) {
# Perl 5 (or 6)
$ARGS prompts("Search? ");
# Perl 6
But there's a huge assumption going on here. When I write a Perl script, and want to prompt the user for, say, a parameter that was left off the command line, I do not use STDOUT for this, because the output of the program may be piped elsewhere. I know for sure that I redirect the output of my scripts to files or other scripts all the time.

In cases like this, I use STDERR for my prompting, because

  1. it's not as likely to be redirected
  2. even if it is, the user will read this as an error, which it basically is.

This is where someone should tell me it's OK, because there's Another Way To Do It where prompts binds STDERR instead.

Re:Maby just *to* flexible ? (3)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#220307)

The thing is, it's like those MasterCard Commencials that are currently runnning (in the US) where the slogan is "Credit Management tools for the slightly smarter consumer"

Well, the fact is, the slightly smarter consumer can manage their credit wothout being provided with credit management tools.

Perl is extremely flexible and powerful. Good perl programmers can manage their code in such a way as to make it readable in 6 months and 9 months and 12 months. It's a matter of dicipline. Code management should not have to be built into the language. We're not talking about COBOL here, after all. If you need code and structure management, lay it out nicely, get a good editor, etc. Perl is intended to provide results and fill a need, which it does vary well As Larry says "It makes the easy jobs easy and the hard jobs possible". I fully agree. Without Perl, I'd me doing admin work in awk and sed, cuz C would just be a waste of time in that context.

Program and code management should be on the back of the programmer not the interpreter/compiler, regardless of what language you're using. Flexibility is power and power is good. the trick is to find disciplined programmers who can manage it without special tools provided to them as if they weren't expected to be capable in their own right.



Re:I don't like Perl (1)

sumengen (230420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220308)

>Uhm, that's a little bit narrow-minded IMHO.
>At least, you should throw in also the ability
>for people other than the original author to
>quickly understand what the code does, how it
>does it and change its behaviour according to
>the new requirements.

Do you really mean that it is not possible to write readable code in perl??? I think that is a bit narrow minded.

Re:Not as advertised (1)

sumengen (230420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220309)

Well, easy is a relative concept. Learning Perl is at least an order of magnitude easier than learning C, C++, Java, or Assembly. But this doesn't mean that you can become a perl wizard in three days.
And because you can write some small perl scripts that are doing some cool stuff (which would have taken several thousands of lines code in C) doesn't mean that you learned perl (as most people think).

Re:An order of magnitude easier ? (1)

sumengen (230420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220310)

>I've written far more lines than I care to think about in C, C++, ...

Just guessing; maybe that's the reason why you have a problem with starting up with perl. You just need to learn the Perl way of doing things.

And how long did it take you to learn C or C++?

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (2)

sumengen (230420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220313)

A common misconception:"Perl is easy to learn"
No, not really. It is not an easy to learn language for C programmers or new programmers. For C programmers there is a conceptual barrier that they need to pass to get the feel of the scripting languages.

The power of perl comes from that; ones you master perl, it is easy (and fun) to write programs.

I aggree that the perl documentation is not completely newbie friendly, and it probably shouldn't. It is one of the most useful language documentation by the way. It helped me a lot, especially the Perl FAQ's.
There are books like "Learning Perl" for learning perl. If you try to learn perl from the book "Programming Perl", which is a language reference, you obviously hit a stone wall at fifth page or so.

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (ADDITIONAL) (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#220314)

I think he is saying that your while statement uses an undeclared varible.
br. It should declare wha t$ticket_sold is and then do the while loop.

The Lottery:

Re:Perl FAQs (1)

Art_XIV (249990) | more than 13 years ago | (#220315)

Have you seen the Perl FAQs ? They give a good insight into what is wrong with Perl.

FAQs like...

"how do I pass an array into a function",

"how do I use a reference as a hash key"

"how do I create a 'static' variable"

-- SNIP --

These questions are in the FAQ because they get asked alot in newsgroups. Duh!!!

The answers to these questions should be obvious, and most likely are obvious, to anyone with a CompSci degree or a year or more experience with C-like languages.

These questions are asked because Perl, in spite of the general consensus that it's not a good teaching language, somehow manages to be the first language that many novice developers learn, or at least the second right after VB.

The "obvious" answer to the first two questions involve references.

The interesting thing about Perl is all the functionality that an amateur can squeeze out of it without even know what the h*ll a reference is!

At some point, the eager amateur thinks to him/herself "Wouldn't it save me alot of typing if I could pass a whole array into a function rather than iterating through it?" The aspiring developer then turns to the newsgroups for an answer, where he/she is immediately flamed for not checking the faqs.

Angered and embarrased, the newbie then checks the faqs, and eventually learns what references are and what they are good for.

The fact that these FAQs exist is not a sign that there is something wrong with the language. The fact that these FAQs exist is a sign that Perl is a language that many developers cut their teeth on, and that there is something oh-so-right about the language.

Re:Contexts... (3)

OpCode42 (253084) | more than 13 years ago | (#220316)

my head($brain_cells) are hurting = (newSyntax);
butMust -> learntodoit() or die "Knowing I have failed.\n";

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

Curien (267780) | more than 13 years ago | (#220318)

I like the $, %, @, etc. They show me the type of a variable at a glance. Look at C variables - most people (should) use hungarian notation, and just look at the horrible result of that.

I most emphatically disagree. Hungarian notation is absolutely and completely evil for a strongly-typed language. The only reason it's at all popular in C is because of Micros~1 API code... and that's because they tried to defeat C's type system by using void*s all over the place (just about everything that starts with H is a void*).

In C and C++ (and any other strongly-typed language for that matter, such as Pascal or Ada), you should be able to determine the type of an object simply by how the object is used.
[An aside... Generic programming takes that notion a step further by saying that it doesn't *matter* what the type of an object is... only the operations that can be applied to an object are important.]

Try doing that in Perl and see how far you get!

I'm not saying that makes C++ and better, per se, than Perl. But C++ is strongly typed while Perl is weakly typed... so from a C++ programmer's perspective, all that @%$ etc crap is unnecessary and horrible.

Of course, in Perl (a weakly typed language), they're necessary. Wondering why they're necessary in Perl is a bit like wondering why you have to mention the datatype in a C++ object declaration.

Re:the more I learn about C, the more I like perl (1)

cb0y (311811) | more than 13 years ago | (#220321)

Being a C/C++ coder , the more i learn perl, the more i like C

it's getting worse (2)

janpod66 (323734) | more than 13 years ago | (#220322)

Perl4 to Perl5 was a real improvement. I had hopes that Perl6 might fix many of the idiosyncracies in Perl5. But it seems to add more junk to the language without helping much. $*ARGS is chomped? $ARGS prompts("Search?");? That isn't the kind of functionality that is complex enough to warrant new, oddball language constructs, and Perl5 has perfectly good constructs for those cases. And in addition to that, Perl6 also introduces lots of subtle incompatibilities with Perl5. As far as I'm concerned, Perl6 is shaping up to be the worst of both worlds: incompatibility and mess. Thanks for the heads-up: as a long-time Perl user, this really convinces me that it's time to switch.

Re:The beauty of Perl. (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 13 years ago | (#220323)

That's funny, I was able to learn a good bit of Python in an afternoon, but it took me nearly a week to learn the basics of Perl.

Re:Perl (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 13 years ago | (#220324)

I've never had any problems with the libraries in python. For example, the following will load SlashDot (just the html code, not parse it), and e-mail me that it has done so. import urllib,smtplib smtplib.connect('') smtplib.sendmail('','tyler@tylereav','Subject: Slashdot\n\nLoaded')

Re:Perl ? Mmmmm......... (1)

alex_siufy (411363) | more than 13 years ago | (#220325)

All I can say is that not only I use it (extensively), but I like it.

Actually, I like the $, @, % variables a lot! Glance at the code and you know exactly what kind of data a variable holds, and if you name them properly, you'll also realize specifically what the variable is for!

Perl code can be unreadable (aka "obfuscated"), but it can also be plain simple and clean. That's the beauty of it, you (the programmer) make the code as clean as you want. Perl doesn't force you to be "wordy", like other crappy languages (Java!), but if you want to, you can have your share of OO madness.

Larry Wall is right: if you don't like it, you simply don't "see it". Forget Perl, and go play with something "easy".

Re:I don't like Perl (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#220326)

With the exception of the stuff out of an obfuscated perl contest, there hasn't been a single scrap of perl code I haven't been able to understand pretty quickly. In fact, given a chunk of code in perl and the same basic thing in some other language, I would bet my yearly salary that a perl hacker would be able to grok the perl code more quickly than languageX hacker would with the languageX implementation. And I'm not talking about using ready-rolled libraries or modules either. I'd also be willing to bet that these well-seasoned hackers would fare the same if you threw totally different coding styles at 'em.

At least that's been my experience.

"Fuck your mama."

Weirder syntax for cypherheads (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 13 years ago | (#220327)

Get excited to see things like:

all my @base are Belong::To qw/parse error/;

The real strength of Perl (5)

Dana_D (452538) | more than 13 years ago | (#220328)

The real strength of Perl lay not in its technical construct, or its syntax, or even in the vast set of modules and libraries available to it. The truest strength of Perl is its culture. Larry Wall, from very early on, has tried to foster a real, positive community.

Perl6 is yet another cultural extension to Perl5. The RFC process was very messy, disorganized, and perhaps a little out-of-control. Indeed, as Larry said, he spent several months mentally thrashing as he tried to grok all of the RFC's. But that is the way he wanted it. The RFC process was a picture of a real-life war-room or think-tank.

The end result will be very exciting, I believe. The Perl6 documents, to date, have capitalized on cultural strengths of the Perl community.

Truly, Perl6 is built on the most important resource available to Larry: the huge diversity of Perl programmers all over the world. That diversity has made Perl5 a great, legendary language. I think it will make Perl6 even better. As Perl advocates, I think our best effort is in being inclusive, rather than exclusive, in our thinking.

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