Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • Note that the question is not "Why is Perl better than PHP", but rather "Why should I use it?"

    Off the top of my head:

    1. Perl is used in places that PHP isn't. You'll find Perl applications everywhere from unix system administration to car parking. Learning Perl gives you the opportunity to work in more places doing different things.
    2. In many cases somebody else has written most of your application for you. CPAN is a stupidly useful resource.
    3. All languages make some things easier and some things harder.
    • (Attempting to channel a recalcitrant, skeptical PHP programmer....)

      Perl is used in places that PHP isn't. You'll find Perl applications everywhere from unix system administration to car parking. Learning Perl gives you the opportunity to work in more places doing different things.

      That's fine, but why should I care? I'm never going to use a Sequent, port my application to AIX 4 or DYNIX. It's nice that sysadmins can use Perl, but if I don't care about writing sysadmin scripts, what's the point?

      • Responding to the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer rather than ziggy :-)

        That's fine, but why should I care? I'm never going to use a Sequent, port my application to AIX 4 or DYNIX. It's nice that sysadmins can use Perl, but if I don't care about writing sysadmin scripts, what's the point?

        None.

        Let me be clear. I'm not trying to say "you should drop PHP and use Perl". I'm saying "here are some reasons you should consider learning Perl as well".

        If none of them apply, then don't learn Perl. Doesn't bother me at all :-)

        If you want to stick to the domains that PHP handles well more power to your elbow. However it's been my experience that restricting yourself to a single programming language and a single problem domain is a really bad career move.

        Learning more programming languages can only make you more employable. If your concentrating on web development targeting the other primary language used for web development would seem sensible.

        If the web is the dominant development platform, and PHP makes it easy to develop cross platform web apps, what does Perl provide that PHP lacks that I care about? Of the features that are really, truly different, which are actually meaningful? I mean, it's nice that Perl has BEGIN blocks and __DATA__ sections, but if I never use them, where's the benefit?

        To pick one - anonymous subroutines and the way you can use them in more functional style development. Most of techniques in MJD's Higher Order Perl just can't be done in PHP.

        However this kind of answer will always get the immediate answer of "I doing need to do Foo - I can just do Bar instead". And there isn't really any answer to this that doesn't involve effort by both parties.

        Finally, any interesting new applications are going to be on the web. If there is some radical cool car parking application that Perl does today that isn't web-based, the next one will be web-based, and may as well be written in PHP.

        Yes everything that needs a public interface will likely soon have some kind of web based interface. But that's only the interface - the tip of the iceberg. The munging of data behind the scenes is the meat. The difficult bit. The bit you get paid more for. Perl has been lord and master of that domain in many organisations for some time. Nobody is going to port everything over to PHP just because it's your favourite language.

        Let me put it another way. I don't care about the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer. I don't care about recalcitrant, sceptical programmers in any language. Including Perl.

        I don't care because there is absolutely nothing you can do about them. As this recent perlmonks conversation [perlmonks.org] shows there is nothing you can do with people who do not listen.

        It's like arguing with the kind of C developer who doesn't see any advantage in object orientation - after all they can do it all in C. They're right and oh so wrong all at the same time.

        So, if it were me, I wouldn't be aiming content at the sceptics because I don't think it's a battle that can be won. I'd be aiming material at the people who are thinking "there must be a little bit more to software development than this".

        I'm noticing a lot of PHP developers moving over to Ruby because they've hit walls in PHP and have started seeing areas where it's just a little bit more work than they think it should be. These are the kind of users I'd be aiming advice at.

        Anybody who thinks learning another language is a waste of time isn't going to be convinced whatever you say.

        • (still channelling the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer...)

          Learning more programming languages can only make you more employable. If your concentrating on web development targeting the other primary language used for web development would seem sensible.

          Your defending the argument with still more platitudes. Specifically, you're making a generalized argument that PHP programmers should learn more languages, but you're not saying anything specific about why PHP programmers should learn Perl. (

          • (still responding to the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer...)

            Your defending the argument with still more platitudes. Specifically, you're making a generalized argument that PHP programmers should learn more languages, but you're not saying anything specific about why PHP programmers should learn Perl

            I thought the "targeting the other primary language used for web development" was fairly specific :-)

            In fact, it really highlights that you should just skip Perl/HOP and jump straight into Scheme/