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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday March 29, 2004
03:45 PM

Perl v Java

[ #18109 ]
That's no "Perl proponent", that's ... me! Check out this article. I am the anonymous "Perl proponent" he mentions from the debate. I enjoyed beating up on Java, but not beating up on him--as the article points out, he isn't really a True Believer. He kept agreeing with Rasmus and me, and that made it very difficult to argue with him :-)

And here was me thinking the debate had been a waste of time for everyone. It can't have been such a waste if it planted the seeds for such a pro-Perl article.


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  • This reminds me that on my harddrive I have the beginnings of an article comparing and contrasting Perl and Java's OO style. I wrote quite a bit of it with the intention of showing Perl developers why Perl's OO is a bit of a hack (I think I succeeded), but I kept finding myself saying "why isn't this easier to do in Java?"

    • If there's one thing I've taken from Perl into my Ruby programming, it's design the API first, the implementation second. Ruby can also be abused in the way Java has been, but (so far) the mentality of the community hasn't degenerated into what James describes.
  • I would hope that talk was good, considering it would have cost us $1500.00 to see it. :-)

  • It's not anti-Java so much as anti-complexity. That kind of complexity is certainly possible with Perl. We just don't bother.


    • I'd argue that we sometimes bother, but we seem to do a better job thus far of hiding it from the end user.

      I made a comment as "Both sides of the story" in that article by the way.. Most of the popular modules have a "Simple" wrapper around them. People rarely seem to bother doing this in the Java community.

    • ...Heap []? Luckily, the CPAN is large and redundant, so we can choose the modules that hide the complexity. With Java (I think -- it's been awhile) you don't get so much choice.
    • I agree. It's really not that hard to make the common case easy to use, but Java folks tend to be more puritanical about this sort of thing, dictating The Right Way to do things. A while ago I posted a item on my website [] about the differences in something as simple as unpacking a zip file.
  • The complexity of the APIs for Java libraries has always been a bit perplexing to me given that the core language is pretty darn simple. To be fair though, there are some excellent Java libraries out there. One in particular is pircbot, an IRC bot library. I found it just as easy or easier to use than any Perl or Python ircbot library. In particular, I like the fact that with Eclipse you make make reference to the .jar and it will help you with code completion.