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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Why exactly is C supposed to be better than Perl for large systems (ignore speed of execution, assume that both can in principle satisfy your requirements)? What large-scale development advantages does it, as a language, have? What if you had raised an incredulous eyebrow and asked this gentleman, "you write large systems in *C*???" What would his response have been?

    It's kind of the thing I (try to) have in mind when I hear the word "enterprise". When a system gets big enough and lasts long enough, the

    • I agree, writing large programs in pure C is nuts. Writing large systems in anything that doesn't have automatic garbage collection, is nuts. OTOH other people argue you should only use a strongly typed language for large systems. So, we can't all agree. :)

      Despite the fact that he dislikes Perl, I largely agree with this guy []. (I don't remember who pointed me to that article, it could easily even have been you (Ovid).)

      Anyway, if you define "system" as something that is really big, then I strongly feel that C
      • Despite the fact that he dislikes Perl, I largely agree with this guy.

        Thanks for the reference to that excellent article, (Scalable computer programming languages) [] by "this guy" (Mike Vanier).

        Given that he dislikes Perl, I noticed a couple of glaring omissions:

        CPAN doesn't even "come close" to Jarballs?

        Java libraries are wonderful, but no mention of CPAN anywhere in the article.

        Julian Morrison sent me this email:

        There's a very important feature you missed, and it's the real explanati

    • C is better for generating Heisenbugs. Which fact alone makes me strongly dislike it for large projects.

      Heisnbugs are trivial bugs that show up in one part of your code, will move around as you recompile for different platforms, change unrelated code, etc, will often disappear for an extended time, and then will pop up when you least expect it.

      The most common cause is a bad pointer, causing a fairly random point in memory to get overwritten. If that point has nothing particularly important, then everythin
  • I've stopped referring to Perl, Python, Ruby, etc, as "scripting" languages and have started referring to them as "agile" languages. The word "scripting" has a pejorative connotation that I don't care for, especially coming from the staticly typed crowd, who mostly consist of Java fuckwits and die hard C/C++ programmers.
  • Well, what do I think a scripting language is? Despite my earlier assertion that I'm not really going to pay attention to any debates on the topic because truth be told, they bore me to hell, the fact is that I still have a mental model of what a scripting language is. That's a language which is suitable for writing smaller "glue" bits of code, but not larger systems.

    We're re-watching Coupling season one at the moment (the real one, from the BBC), and all of this reminds me of Jane's pronouncement: "

    • Which, in hindsight, disproves Joel’s dictum to Never Rewrite Code.

      No, it doesn’t. Joel wrote about this in one of his recent weblog posts, but I would have said the same thing even before he opined on this precise issue.

      Joel’s dictum is not to forever keep the code you have – it’s to never throw it all away to start from scratch. Couldn’t Mozilla have improved their codebase one module at a time? Did they need to junk the rendering engine and the UI library and the

  • Yeah, and C is *just* a portable assembler language.

    Live with your preconceptions or grow beyond them.