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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I was vexed for a long time about PHP, how the hell could anything so patently dangerous and backwards (code inside template? huh?) be so popular.

    What PHP did right, when everyone else did it wrong, was to make the "first hour" of your PHP experience utterly effortless.

    When I first tried to do a website, PHP didn't really exist, and so I ended up learning CGI. And it took me almost an entire day to get it to work, with a weird little webserver running on Windows, and a little ActivePerl install, and a lot of jiggery pokery.

    If PHP had existed at the time, and been easily installable, I almost certainly would have given up on Perl and ended up with PHP.

    What's so astonishing is that their one big party trick (letting you make a Hello World page that you can upload to shared hosting, editing it in DreamWeaver, and having the page be reasonably fast) has taken them so amazingly far, when the language has almost no other advantages.

    • It’s amazing only if you are also amazed that the most successful programming environment in the world is Excel.

      • Yes, I still find that amazing as well.

        • I don’t. There are a lot more people out there who don’t think of themselves as programmers but who have needs that can be served by a little bit of a programming. (And yes, a little bit of programming is very much like a little bit of knowledge…) Lowering the barrier for these people is a genuinely good thing, even though the means by which this is achieved may be less than suboptimal from the perspective of “real programmers”, and thence we enter classic worse is better terri