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Re: The future of Perl?

by Anonymous Monk
on Nov 05, 2014 at 04:29 UTC ( #1106143=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to The future of Perl?

Sorry to be putting it this bluntly, but I haven't seen a bigger self congratulatory crowd than the Perl community in my whole life.

Programming tools and technologies, come and go in cycles of trends. Over the past years I've worked on numerous Perl projects, many of them had an explicitly goal of moving away from Perl at the earliest. In fact nearly every Perl project I've worked on has been a migration project. No one is doing serious work in Perl.

And Perl has missed many boats, We were not there where Application servers were all the rage, when Python started spreading like wildfire in the scientific computing community, when web frameworks were the talk of the years, when asynchronous programming frameworks peaked, and now when Big data is all over the place. All we have done and doing is merely playing a catch up game with the rest. This is not going to fly anywhere in the larger programming community. Shops that are already using Perl may continue to support existing applications, but it makes no sense for them to start new Perl projects.

We were there in the early parts of the web, when people thought writing a Perl script was better than writing a shell script. And all we've done from there there is live in an assumption that, that is all we ever need

We have a language where no new big changes can happen, We are not going to get sub routine signatures, no try/catch, never a class key word, never get all the OO goodies default out of the bag, We are never going to move out of XS, we are going to keep the wheels running. But no one has any reason to use this for doing anything new or serious.

Perl isn't even in the list of languages which kids these days have heard of. Because when they were in college, Perl is what their seniors two decades back used. Managers by and large, either don't have a high opinion of Perl or given absolute low support for it among team mates, don't even count it as a viable alternate these days. You can convince them to use it for some small time automation, or some other unix work, but they are not going to allow you to use it do serious work.

Perl 6.0.0 can change all that. But we are waiting indefinitely to see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is no telling when we can see a usable Perl 6 to do some serious work. And any one who asks for a date, is immediately labelled a troll for requesting a time bound closure to this project. For nearly all practical purposes Perl 6 is a bit a like 'Pursuit of happiness', the whole story is always how awesome the future is going to be, which never comes to arrive.

Based on all this, I guess if all you want is to make a living and are willing to develop deep expertise in some language I guess JVM languages are the way to go, Java, Scala with some Python.

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Re^2: The future of Perl?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Nov 05, 2014 at 15:26 UTC

    The saddest part about this thread, is the acceptance.

    We, the perl community simply don't see any mechanism by which we can change what we all see is happening.


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

      Some of us already basically watch it from outside. Apart from a few fixes to my modules I did not write any Perl for ... years and while there are things that nag me about C# (yes, regexp support) I'm pretty much gone.

      And no, I do not thing a complete, functional, tested and reasonably performant Perl6 finished and released next month would change any of that. Neither for me, nor for the rest of the world. Not only is the language years overdue, it had morphed into something ugly, overcomplicated and messy.

      Jenda
      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        And no, I do not thing a complete, functional, tested and reasonably performant Perl6 finished and released next month would change any of that.

        No disagreement there. But could (ignore whether it would for now) a revamped Perl5 -- or even revamping Perl5 -- rekindle (some) of your interest?


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

      Yes, change the version number.

      Perl 7 = Reborn
      The ten-year project to refactor Perl's internals to allow these big changes should have started in 2000. Instead, we got a cartoon butterfly.

        Hindsight is cheap and recriminations pointless. As the saying goes: Piss, or get off the pot.


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
Re^2: The future of Perl?
by choroba (Archbishop) on Nov 05, 2014 at 09:48 UTC
      The docs say:
      WARNING: Subroutine signatures are experimental. The feature may be modified or removed in future versions of Perl.
      ... which doesn't exactly inspire confidence ;)

        I think the Perl developers have learned from given and smartmatch and keep new features labeled "experimental" to be able to remove them from the language again if they prove to be untractable.

Re^2: The future of Perl?
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 05, 2014 at 15:31 UTC
    We have a language where no new big changes can happen, We are not going to get sub routine signatures, no try/catch, never a class key word, never get all the OO goodies default out of the bag, We are never going to move out of XS
    We'll never even get strict and warnings by default, or UTF-8 ...

      What does it matter what the default is? Besides the default, at least for strict and warnings, does make sense. In one-liners and in scripts that have five lines, they would be just a nuisance and in longer script a

      use strict; use warnings; no warnings 'uninitialized';
      are just an unimportant and ignorable part of the boilerplate.

      Jenda
      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        Sane default are important for beginners, and for people who don't exactly want to become experts in a language. This is a LOT of people (for example, various biologists that frequently post on this forum).
        Besides the default, at least for strict and warnings, does make sense. In one-liners and in scripts that have five lines
        Does such a big and complex language as Perl have a future in 'one-liners and scripts that have five lines'? Why does it have to be optimized for 'one-liners'? What makes it better than Bash in that role? Besides, one-liners work just fine even if you write them as if you had strictures and warnings enabled.
        are just an unimportant and ignorable part of the boilerplate
        'use strict; use warnings' is probably the most frequent advice ever in the history of Perl. These features are especially good for people who don't yet have good knowledge of Perl. And it is exactly these people that are the future. On the other hand, having to type 'my' in one-liners is no big deal at all.

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