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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • What people don't understand, they destroy.

    Let's face it, Perl is not the easiest language to master in a correct way. It is a natural language and in that sense, it gives a lot of freedom to do stuff.

    People with a sysadmin background often use Perl as their first step into 'real' programming. Most of these will keep their shell style scripting habits, but wrap them in a Perl syntax. Eagerly using the extra features they find, especially hashes.

    Other IT bonzos that come from an OO background will not appreciate the - to their eyes - clutter that has been produced by the sysadmins. Also, lets face it, OO in Perl is painfull to get right when you see it for the first time. The amount of structural code needed to create a class is huge. But once you know the basics of 'how to do OO in Perl', you'll see it is actually liberating and you can do a lot of stuff that the java guys can only dream off. You have to see their faces when after 10 minutes you have produced a fully functional class with 20 or more getters and setters and they are typing as hell to write all those accessors down ( Hail to AUTOLOAD! ). And again the hashes seem to have a strange attraction on the OO crowd as well.

    A total other camp seems to be the functional guys. Again they will shiver when confronted with the procedural style of the sysadmins, because everything needs to be a list, not? Well, without any guidance, these people will not be attracted to Perl, because not enough functional examples exist (Except from the Schwartzian transform). But once confronted with methods like 'map', 'grep' or concepts like 'closures' they open up and start to see the benefits. And again, these people also seem to be attracted by the hashes, like flies to a light bulb.

    That makes me wonder, when I was first introduced to Perl I also had a strange atrraction to the hash datatype. Trying to conceive difficult data structures, tying them to files etc ... In the end, they indeed grew into a kind of mutant monster, conceived in dark places in the brain ...

    The Erik guy also found a strange attraction to the hash-phenomenon, as we read in the rant:
    "incredibly braindamaged uses of hash tables"
    Anyway, back to topic now ...

    So maybe, the freedom in Perl is the doom of Perl. I guess a bit of guidance can help here for the uninitiated. Try to convince them that the freedom they get is a good thing! (Although, this is also disputable. History points out that most people need guidance in there life and actively seek guidance. But that is good, because this allowed human kind to evolve into the complex social individual beings we think we are)

    Another problem is that there are too much bad examples of Perl code out there. But there is hope, as there are also a lot of beautifull examples of Perl code. Especially in the recent years, as more and more people are getting into the deep details of understanding the Perl language ...