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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The thought of finding patterns and correlations purely by mechanical analysis of a high-level model of source code is tantalizing. Reminds me of a friend of mine who thinks it should be possible to abolish garbage collection by statically analysing the source code for allocation patterns.

    As for redundant code, there’s a simple reason it’s still all over the place: insufficiently expressive languages. Abstracting commonalities and removing repetition is much easier when the code is itself manipulable data. Java, C, PHP, they all rather suck in this regard. I find myself copy-pasting much more in C than in Perl, even though it always irks me. All too often it’s just way too much hassle to abstract small sections of repetitive code, at least until you have a lot of similar snippets.

    And when the language cultivates repetition at the micro level, programmers are likely to think nothing of repetition at the macro level either.