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thoughts on perl language

by Anonymous Monk
on Nov 09, 2012 at 03:07 UTC ( #1003052=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi Monks,

I'd like to share some thoughts on the perl language:

I have used perl for many years. IMHO, perl is a very very beautiful language just like english is the very beautiful language amongst all of the language systems on Earth, both of which can express meanings quite concisely, richly and the most important - clearly.

The simplicity, purity, integrity, and intuitiveness of perl make it distinct from most other languages, hence worth treating as a religion. Therefore, there are monks of perl just like there are monks of religions on Earth, simply because both are going for the true meaning and value. Monk, what a sacred word! Have you heard of 'v..b' monks or 'c=>ah=>#' monks? oh, at least not for me ever.

Some languages or platform full of jumping menus and flashing icons seems very attractively 'easy-to-use' and 'user-friendly'. After people are lured and start to use such a dummy platform or languages, they will find that they have got to pay a lot more of time, effort, privacy and money. The innate shortcomings of human being such as laziness, peacockery, impatience, liking graphics are exploited. Dummy platform and languages are really for dummies.

The simplicity and purity of the designing principle of perl is CONSISTENT with the designing rules of this universe. This universe is essentially made of simplicity and unostentatiousness. perl is simple yet 'complex' and very powerful, which complies with the laws of this universe, whereas some languages and platform are seemingly 'simple' but is essentially distortedly intricate, by design. The 'complexity' and powerfulness of perl is based upon its simplicity and conciseness thus is easy to understand and use while the 'simplicity' of some languages and platform is based upon their deliberate intricateness and will inevitably lead to weakness, limitedness, and the most important --- controlledness.

Another wonderful perl principle, the tim today, is as well consistent with the designing rules of this universe, as every one is UNIQUE and have got to make his OWN way to success. Sometimes, perl could look strange just as you have soaked in low-graded languages or platform for too long.

BTW the 'elsif' in perl is great. It becomes a pronuncible word and one less keystroke than 'elseif'.

There are, however two things to worry about:

1. 'big money' can hire goons and thugs to ruin or break such a beautiful language. 2. the simplicity, purity and integrity of perl could be tainted or contaminated, unintentionally or intentionally.

May perl last to the end of this universe.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: thoughts on perl language
by tobyink (Canon) on Nov 09, 2012 at 10:36 UTC

    I think it's interesting you compare Perl to English and say that both are beautiful. Many people would say they are each rather ugly. English is inconsistent. Most languages have a few irregular verbs; English is jam-packed with them. And idioms that make almost no sense when read literally are employed liberally. (Who packs a language with jam after all?)

    Robert Pirzig (my favourite modern philosopher), in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance speaks of a Romantic/Classical divide with regards to the perception of Quality. An example he gives is using a small circle of tin cut from a beer can as a shim when repairing a friend's motorcycle. His friend, considering the surface appearance of the shim, is aghast that Pirzig is using an old piece of rubbish to repair an expensive piece of engineering. Pirzig on the other hand looks at the underlying form of the shim; its weight, thickness, strength, and considers it an elegant solution.

    To me, it seems both English and Perl are low quality languages when viewed from the Romantic angle, and only their surface appearance is considered, but high quality languages from the Classical angle, when their underlying form is taken into account.

    Perl features like prototypes, import subs, globs, compile-time code execution, stack inspection and so forth, combine to create a language which is internally extensible. You can effectively define new Perl syntax from within Perl. (English also tends to be very tolerant of extendawording.) These features, if wielded with experience can combine to produce very elegant and concise code.

    So yes, from an insider's point of view, Perl can be a very elegant way to get the job done. But we should also understand why outsiders, looking at only the surface appearance of Perl code, often consider it to be ugly.

    perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'

      "English also tends to be very tolerant of extendawording."

      ++ for the embedded example :-)


      Beg your pardon? English jam-packed with irregular verbs? With what language did you compare it??? Some 370 irregular verbs with three forms to a verb?

      English has a messed up spelling due to its history, other than that it's brain-dead regular.

      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        I'm not entirely sure where you get the number 370 from. This website claims to have a list of 620 available to its subscribers, and I imagine that even that it not exhaustive.

        It's not about sheer numbers though. Most verbs are regular, obviously. However many of the irregular verbs also happen to be very commonly used. Take a look at this list. It's the 10 most common verbs in the English language:

        1. be
        2. have
        3. do
        4. say
        5. get
        6. make
        7. go
        8. know
        9. take
        10. see

        How many are irregular? How about all of them! Only 7 of the top 25 English verbs are regular.

        Compare that to, say, German, which happens to be one of English's closest neighbours linguistically. In German there's only one truly irregular verb, sein (to be). Other than that, all verbs fall into two categories, strong and weak, which each have their own (different, but predictable) conjugation rules. Of the top ten German verbs, one is irregular, eight are strong, and one is weak.

        Three forms to a verb? Regular ones have four (look, looks, looking, looked). Irregular ones have X forms, where X is a number perhaps less, perhaps more, or perhaps equal to four.

        There are plenty of weird things in English other than spelling. How about...

        • The verb "to dust" can mean to add dust to a surface, but also to remove dust from a surface.

        • Irregular plurals: mouse/mice, goose/geese, man/men, etc. The plural form of "sheep" is "sheep".

        • For that matter, why on earth is there no singular for the word "cattle". They're a common enough animal, and it clearly makes sense to be able to talk about them in the singular. So why do we just have this plural word "cattle"?

          There is of course "cow", but that refers exclusively to females. "Bull" refers to males, and "calf" (another irregular plural by the way, calves) to the young. There is no English word to refer to a single individual Bos primigenius without committing to its sex or age.

        • Given the two phrases "a cute little puppy" versus "a little cute puppy"; almost all native English speakers would agree that the second one sounds wrong. Virtually none of them could tell you why. :-)

          Similarly, "a nice warm bath"/"a warm nice bath"; "a red Japanese car"/"a Japanese red car"; "an old woollen scarf"/"a woollen old scarf". In each case the first is right, the second is wrong.

        • Bags of synonyms. If you know what the word "moon" means, that doesn't help you if you hear the phrase "lunar cycles".

          The main reason we have so many synonyms in English is that the language is a cut and shut combination of Low German and Norse French. So we ended up with one word inherited from German ("need") and one from French ("require") meaning exactly the same thing. We also ended up with a lot of (mostly technical) words derived directly from Latin without the French intermediary, and then to make matters worse the bloody Vikings gave us a whole bunch of other words we neither needed nor required.

          (This also explains why nobody wins the human race. English has two words spelt "race" which are pronounced exactly the same. "Race" meaning ethnicity or population comes from French; "race" meaning a speed contest comes from Norse.)

        • And I don't want to bang on about them but... the idioms. Perhaps you and I don't see eye to eye on this, but as far as deciphering the meaning of a sentence goes, even if you know the definitions of the individual words, it's not a done deal.

          On the other hand, perhaps I can see your point? After all, people learning English as a second language do seem to pick up the meaning of idioms as soon as they run into them. Maybe it's a piece of cake?!

        perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'
Re: thoughts on perl language
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 11, 2012 at 00:27 UTC
    I'll have some of whatever the OP's having. Looks to be some pretty medical stuff.

      It is quite interesting to compare perl with english, both of which are used in the realm of machine and mind, respectively.

      They are all very simple, very beautiful yet very powerful languages.

      1. Both are substantially simple and concise, without redundant decorations. AND, the goodness of this type of simplicity and conciseness is based on the premise that they could express things clearly, accurately and not cause ambiguousness, though that is not absolute.

      Some other languages can also be very simple, but they often lead to different meanings and confusion, which makes that kind of simplicity useless.

      Only simplicity can build complexity; complexity only builds collapse.

      Simplicity and conciseness are signs of male, yang, positiveness and essence whereas redundancy and decorations are signs of female, yin, negativeness and surface.

      There exist serveral hundreds of irregular verbs and a lot of irregular plurals in english. That is great. In this universe, exception lies in everything, e.g. a sheep with three legs, a man with mirror vitals. Brain-dead regular rules make no sense.

      Also, I think the preposition words in english very powerful, which make complicated problems simple and have saved people much time and effort when expressing. In some other languages, there are few preposition words, which makes those very cumbersome and heavy.

      2. One does not need to know all of the knowledge or techniques to wield both. Just by learning a substantially basic knowledge, one can use them well and get the job done. But if one wished to use both of them expertly, he has got to make an effort. There is absolutely no shortcut to an expert. Oh, at now, I remembered some desktop scattered with many 'shortcuts', which could subconsciously arouse the innate laziness of human beings.

      3. Both are easily extensible. The knowledge the human beings have mastered is very limited when compared with the unknown. Therefore, to explore the unknown world, a live language must have such a feature that it can easily grow up, i.e. it must be capable of creating new words and importing new features easily. Some dead languages hardly possess this vital feature and difficult to extend thus would fall into disuse, inevitably. Do not forget that the extendibility of perl and english comes from their SIMPLICITY.

      4. Both comply with the priciples of tim today. English has rich words and 'bags of synonyms'. The richness of english words is based on its substantial simplicity and conciseness, as I mentioned in section one. Due to the 'bags of synonyms' in english, one can choose to express his meanings with synonymous words, which could have subtle differences of course. Likewise in perl, one can as well employ different modules or functions to achieve one same task, although there could be slight or significant performance differences. When considering some rubbish languages, however, there is nearly no second way to express one thing --- you have got to employ the insipidly settled words or syntax in one changeless way under all cirsumstances.

      5. At last, I would like to discuss the beauty of these two languages. It could be a bit difficult for a native english speaker to tell if english is a beautiful or the most beautiful language amongst all of the language systems on Earth. I have learnt six languages, oriental and western and I can safely conclude that english is a very beautiful language, but I would not say it is 'the best' as the superlative form is often reminiscent of the words 'wrong' and 'absolute'.

      Towards what is beauty, different people have different opinions. One thing considered as 'beautiful' in A's view can be totally meaningless and invaluable in B's, and vice versa.

      In the place where I live, people consider white things are beautiful. So the flour is added brightening agent making it pure white to meet people's requirement of 'beauty'. The natural flour should present the color of slight grey or amber but never 'pure white'. Needless to say that kind of flour will harm the health. On the shelves of the supermarket are the 'beautiful foods' put in 'beautiful boxes' often companied with 'beautiful aroma'. Unfortunately, those foods provide no nourishment. All of those are not truly beautiful and they just have a falsely 'beautiful' surface appearance. People also tend to consider graphics is more 'beautiful' than text. Too many 'beautiful things' from worldly views are poisonous.

      Perl and english has TRUE beauty in it. Shallow people often think they are 'ugly' just at a single glance as both languages look too immediate and concise on their surface appearance without 'romantic decorations'.

        ALL good and positive things share a common character that they make complex problems easy to understand and solve whereas ALL bad and negative things such as rubbish platforms, garbage languages, nasty cultures share a common character that they make easy problems very complicated, not mention the complex ones.

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