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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Saying PHP is "pretty awful" without actually talking about any specific issues with it is just the kind of thing I mean. It adds nothing useful to the discussion and creates an environment of insults and flame wars. If you want to talk about things that bother you in PHP, go ahead, but you'll get better results if you do it in a way that's less insulting and more constructive.

    Maybe my attitude about this comes partly from going to conferences and meeting the developers who work on these things. There ar
    • I sat on this comment for a couple of days because I didn’t know quite where to start with the response.

      1. Would you object if I called bash a pretty awful programming language? Do I really have to list all the specific problems that make it unfit for a very large domain of problems, every time I want to say it’s unfit for them? Assuming you wouldn’t: why is bash fair game but PHP sancrosanct?

      2. My motivation is not to fix PHP. It is plenty successful despite all the naysayers anyway, but

      • I know there are people behind these projects. I generally don’t attack developers; I hope they are mature enough to be able to tell critcism of their work apart from criticism of their person.

        I've never met a developer who wouldn't be upset by someone calling their code awful.

        But in the case of PHP specifically, I have multiple anecdotes

        Good. Those sound much more reasonable than a blanket statement.

        Saying something really general like "PHP is pretty awful" looks like denial of the things that are great about PHP. For example: it's open source, it's a high-level dynamic language, it has good OO support, it's fast, and it helped thousands of people take the web into their own hands instead of leaving it to the AOLs and CNNs of the world.

        Are you really suggesting that I have to rattle off this entire list every time I want to say “PHP is awful”?

        That depends on the context. If you're trying to express some kind of serious statement about PHP (as opposed to just ribbing some PHP-coding friend), then staying away from pejorative generalizations will almost certainly lead to a better conversation.

        Also, regarding bash programming: bash is a product of its time. When it was introduced, it was pretty cool, and an impressive piece of work. Better options exist now. That doesn't make bash awful. I would never code in Perl4 now, but I don't call Perl4 awful just because Perl5 has improved on it so much.
        • I guess this comes to down to a difference in points of view.

          I assume, on principle, that my code is generally awful… :-) Sometimes I know it’s not, in which case someone else’s calling it awful just makes me shrug; unless I know it’s a sharp programmer in which case I ask. (Even then I’d be hard pressed to ever use an epithet like “beautiful” – the best thing I have to say about any particularly good piece of code I wrote is that it’s “simple