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How much does Perl, PHP, Java, or Lisp suck?

posted by pudge on 2002.09.18 7:08   Printer-friendly
brian_d_foy writes "A long time ago Don Marti started the OS Sucks-Rules-O-Meter, and Jon Orwant wrote his own Sucks-Rules-O-Meter for computer languages. Recently Dan Brian improved on that with a little bit of natural language processing. Now The Perl Review makes pretty pictures of it all. Based on searches of AltaVista and Google, we found that not a lot of people think PHP or Lisp sucks, a lot think C++ and Java suck, and they put Perl is somewhere in the middle. Does Perl suck more than it use to suck, or has PHP just shot way ahead?"
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  • Maybe it's because people who use PHP probably don't realize that it sucks, and others are thankfully spared the experience, so they don't feel a need to complain publicly.

    • We shouldn't discount or try to explain away what people think. My guess is that PHP doesn't suck for a lot of people, which is why a lot of people (relatively) do not say that it sucks.

      If we find out why, rather than treating the datum as an outlier, we can apply what we find to Perl.

      For instance, several different people have told me that the PHP core documentation is organized better and available in other languages.

      A lot of other people have also told me that the PHP documentation is more pragmatic,
      • Perhaps Perl needs better CGI specific documentation. Perl, being a general purpose language, has a broad range of problems it can be used for. PHP, baring the mutant server-side version, is a CGI-only language. It is a lot easier to write documentation for PHP that tells users how to process CGI args, maintain session state, read client environment variables than to do the same for Perl, for which there are a great many ways to do it (and more are invented everyday). There are reams of paper dedicated to P

        • What happens when you type perldoc perlcgi? Nothing. My point exactly.

          Maybe someone should write a manpage-length introduction to programming CGI with Perl and Apache that could be included in the core distribution. It could show the "right" way to do things (taint, strict, and without having to comprehensively cover all of the alternatives. It could show how to accomplish common tasks. It wouldn't have to follow the usual maxim of, "That's a CGI issue, not a Perl issue, so it doesn't belong

          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
          • "it could show the "right" way to do things (taint, strict, and "

            Maybe, but there are a lot of arguments even at that level. Do you use CGI to write your HTML? I, and a lot of others, consider that a bad practice, mixing code with HTML. Others, including a number of very talented programmers, feel differently.

            So how do you document even a hello world cgi script? Do you teach them with CGI's commands, heredocs, outside files, or perhaps one of the many templating systems?

            Sure, it's jus

            • The nms project at SourceForge is doing a good job of creating some quality examples of common CGI applications. Perhaps the perldocs should reference that collection of software.
          • What happens when you type perldoc perlcgi? Nothing. My point exactly.

            try perldoc CGI::Application :)

      • I am not a fan of PHP.

        But one of its advantages (and source of its success) is that it is a relatively hassle-free Apache module.

        Compared to mod_perl, it is:

          * easy to compile
          * easy to maintain
          * hassle-free for ISPs

        Part of PHP's simplicity is down to the language itself - for instance it's harder to slowly leak memory over time via unbroken circular references. But part of its simplicity is due to the fact that PHP is not so tightly integrated into Apache - it only handles the co
        • And, ultimately is it worth all the trouble fighting to regain (some of) PHP's niche?

          Yes, for several very good reasons.

          1. PHP is just a watered down version of perl in the author's own words. From a language standpoint it's clearly a nasty failure. We don't want people to learn technology this bad. It tends to create bad habits...
          2. The previous point tends to lead to the fact that the vast majority of PHP code out there is just awful and nasty. The PHP community has done a much better job of putti
          • PHP is an awful, awful language and programming environment. Nearly everyone on is going to largely agree this statement. YET LOOK AT Freshmeat []. There are a hundreds PHP apps out there and more everyday. Why? Because PHP allows novice programmers (but perhaps experienced graphic designers) to whip up web apps quickly. Are these apps maintainable or elegent? Hell no, yet most of them sure look purdy.

            That is the paradox of PHP. It's a just-good-enough [] tool for most (web) users. Perl is never goi

            • If anybody has read this far and doesn't have a pet perl web app project somewhere in your life, please fix it!

              The best way to show the PHPers what they're missing is to create nice domain-specific perl web apps and do them well. There are lots of PHP apps out there to use as examples of how the screens should LOOK. Heck, start with their HTML! It's open source after all! They've stolen plenty of good perl ideas (like /.) and reimplemented them in their nasty little language, so don't feel any guilt!

              • I hate PHP slash clones. They feel so limiting. Slash works exactly the way I think, and every PHP slash clone tries to change that in subtle ways or fails to implement all the needed features.

                I move my mouse over a topic icon, and there's no alt tag to tell me what the topic is.

                Nested/threaded/flat means different things to different people, but at least I know what it means in genuine slash.

                J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I gotta agree here. Quite a few of the people that I know think PHP is great...of course these same people like JavaScript and think that VisualBasic is a powerful language.

      From the above, we can deduce that I know - and have worked with - a lot of mouth-breathers.

      I think the only reason that Lisp didn't rank higher on the suck-o-meter is because the same people who like PHP/JS/VB, et al, have not a clue what Lisp is.


  • In Casey West's words, PHP isn't a language, it's a templating system. From what I've seen of it, I tend to agree.
  • The link above goes somewhere completely different. You probably want to go here [].