Perl turned 20

I would have more to say about this, if I weren’t up to my elbows in it, madly trying to fix bugs before Christmas. Oh, and Perl 5.10 looks cool.

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5 responses to “Perl turned 20

  1. I’ve promised myself I’ll re-examine Perl when version 6 comes out, with its sound formal footing, strict typing, completely specified language syntax etc.

    The first time I had to get friendly with Perl I was seriously freaked out and fled straight back to my curly-bracketed home.

  2. Curly brackets? You want curly brackets? Perl 5 bows to no language in its curly-bracketedness. We have to use them to access member variables, for God’s sake: one of our more horrifying warts. Maybe you’re thinking of Python?

    I had given up on Perl 6 till the OSDC conference a couple of weeks ago got me excited about it again. But that was in the context of ‘look at these cool language features you can import into Perl 5’: which made me wonder if actually-existing-Perl-6 will turn out to be Perl 5.99999…

    (Problem is, one of the justifications for Perl 6 in the first place was to get language internals which people could maintain without risking their sanity, unlike Perl 5)

    I do like the idea of a language where you can tune the type-strictness to suit the requirements of the job and/or taste of the programmer; a typically Perlish answer to the dynamic/strict/duck-typing wars.

  3. No, no — I know Perl is curly-bracketed, it’s just for me “curly-bracketed” means C/C++/Java/Scala/Pike … Perl to me is a “dollar-sign” language along with PHP and bash scripting!

    Anyway, you should glance briefly at Scala if you have a moment, it’s my favourite language I don’t code in at the moment.

    It’s statically typed with a particularly strong and well-defined type inference system and a particularly nice way of specifying structures with type parameters (similar to C++ templates).

    If it compiled straight to the bone instead of targetting the JVM I’d love it to death.

    I’m totally absorbed by my profession at the moment, in a way I never have been before. Even when I was studying I didn’t enjoy coding as much as I do at the moment. It’ll be a shame to leave this job behind in a couple of months …

    Be interested to hear more about the OSDC. I went to the GIS-specific version of that (OSG(IS)) in Minnesota a couple of years ago, and was treated like a leper because I had a Dell laptop!

  4. I want to write up OSDC more when I get time – since I got back I’ve been a bit too flat out.

    Hopefully I’ll remember to do it after Christmas.

    Rusty Russell’s talk on C (“A humbling language”) was a highlight – given its humorous undertone of “I write in a real language, not like all you webby scripty morons.”

    (C is the language I learnt to program in: for which I am forever grateful. But I’m also grateful that I don’t have to write in it any more.)

  5. C is mostly to be feared, I think. So much coupling everywhere, and no convenient mechanism (destructors / garbage collection) to save you from disaster!

    C++ is preferable even for your average super-serious embedded systems engineer these days … there are also various situations which C++ can lend itself to code with better performance than the nearest equivalent C, which I won’t bore you with here.

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