re: Why do people like Perl? VIEW POST


Many people dislike Perl and like their competitors (especially Python) because it is so flexible. They prefer a language to rigidly enforce certain paradigms. As a corollary to that precept they also tend to only use core language functionality, because this tends toward consistency with other users of that language.

Perl on the other hand values flexibility, often allowing several ways to accomplish the same task. The user is encouraged to model the problem in the way they like to think about it, not in the way that the language (or more explicitly the language designer) wants you to think about it. This will often mean that in order to completely understand the code written by someone else you will need to have a firm grasp of the language since they may choose to use some other functionality than is your preferred mechanism.

Neither of these is wrong however they are very different.

Given that mentality of Perl, the core language often is sparse around high level features. A newcomer will come to Perl and be surprised at the lack of subroutine signatures or object oriented programming sugar. Both appear to be quite low level. An experience Perl programmer however will know that the core is spartan to allow the users to come up with their solutions to the problem and share them on CPAN, and we have.

I see even on this very thread a comment both about how Perl's CPAN is huge and second to none, and then a retort linking to a site that tracks the number of modules available by language. While I would never say that all the modules on CPAN are top notch, I think a much higher percentage are than in those other languages with skyrocketing numbers of modules available. Perl users prototype their language on CPAN. Core Perl is considering adding signatures to functions natively, there is an experimental implementation, and yet some of the sticking points center on how to support the favor features of several different systems available on CPAN. In the meantime users continue to use those CPAN modules that think like they do.

There are many high quality modules that do signatures or OO. In fact we are quite proud of our OO systems on CPAN. Moose and its derivatives (see Moo are incredibly powerful declarative object systems, the envy of anyone who takes the time to understand them. You might be surprised by what is possible: see for example Moops or Dios.

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