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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Saturday October 14, 2006
12:40 PM

Perl for the Y(ouTube) generation?

[ #31319 ]

What a scary title...

In the early days of Perl, Perl was fun. Some time between Perl 1.0 and Ruby on Rails, Perl stopped being fun... I don't know that Python was every really touted as fun, but Ruby sure is.

We can place half the blame on "Why the Lucky Stiff", if his performance art piece at OSCON a few years ago was any example of how much insane/cool/fun factor he brings to Ruby.

Somewhere along the way we lost that fun. Sure, Perl 6 is fun if you can turn your brain inside out, but the general programmer population are not lamdacamels.

Is it too late? Is there anything Perl 5 has left to offer in the way of fun? Or are we limited to just getting your job done as fast and as effectively as possible? Are we old? Are we Cobol?

Are we too crufty for the modern media saturated era? Are we a leftover legacy group of geeks and weirdos?

Can we, as a group, ever hope to approach the modern media-saturated geek on their home territory?

In an era when random geek game players can put together sophisticated rock videos (105Mb) of the daily events of their online lives, and when Ruby geeks can spout programming-inspired poetry on stage, with accompanying shadow puppets, should we attempt to follow in this direction?

What might a "rock video" for Perl even look like?


Now, while I think my points are all valid, I've phrased my points in an intentionally sensationality way, obviously. And I've resorted to that most common of journalistic tricks, the question mark.

As Jon Stewart put it, in the modern media the question mark lets you get away with anything :)

"Your Mother. Is she a whore?"

It means when pressed, you can't hold me to anything I've said. I don't necesarily believe anything yet, I'm just curious about trying to understand the concept of style and coolness (even if I know I'll probably not achieve it myself) :)

But regardless... what do we offer? Is there crazy/cool/fun factor left in Perl, or are the stresses of an aging syntax, and the need to support a bazillian platforms distracting us from simply having fun?

(There's those question marks again)

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  • I tried RoR for a project recently. It was not fun and not cool. I did the same project in Perl and finished it pretty quickly. Afterwards I could play with "enhancements". That was cool and fun. So YMMV on that topic.

    If I had to choose though, I have much more fun doing my Tcl projects than any other language.

  • Banging your head against a brick wall starts becoming fun when the wall starts giving way.
  • I think the questions are based on the false presumption that the various languages should compete. Instead, I think it's much more important that the languages begin to interoperate. If that comes to be, then your modern geek can program in whatever language s/he chooses and still gain the benefits of CPAN and other useful, time-saving libraries. In that regard, Parrot may someday be much more important than Perl6 or even Perl5.
    • I disagree.

      There is always going to be a certain level of competition.

      That doesn't suggest we should go crazy doing so, but if you aren't compatible with the brains of the younger programmers, then ultimately all compatibility could mean is "compatibility with legacy libraries".

      At Sydney Linux Users Group, "Perl" has become a dirtier and dirtier word.

      I'm all for language compatibility, but it's also important that we are in some sense linguistically and culturally compatible with the programmers we are tryi
  • Once upon a time, I tried to get SDL Perl to something near the level of documentation and usability of PyGame, but trying to get it to work on Win32 reliably was just Too Much Fun.

    Would having such a thing be an appropriate level of fun?

  • The same hard rock music as in the EVE link, but with audreyt using vi during a presentation. :) I remember last summer watching his (autrijus at the time) presentation streamed live to the French Perl Workshop; I couldn't get over how fast he was at using vi. Though I've been an emacs lover for a decade, I was having heretical thoughts. :)