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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I remember Steve asking a list at work how to do a recursive find/replace on a file tree with Perl since he barely knew a lick of it. He got 3 answers. He picked the worst, most verbose, and hardest to use as the best choice. This was also during a time when Steve's dev group was foisting a horrible Java piece of crap on the customer service department which took 18 months to reach 25% of the coverage of the previous command line C and Perl tools it was supposed to replace; it was also too slow to use half the time. After another miserable, service busting year of limping along on the God forsaken thing it was finally shot in the head, rolled in the ditch and everything was redone from scratch in Perl as a web app.
    -- 120 chars should be all we're allowed for epitaphs as well.
    • He picked the worst, most verbose, and hardest to use as the best choice.

      It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to Java: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.

      • Speaking from personal experience, coming from a Java/C-style strict typing background and moving into Perl CAN be very difficult.

        Essentially you feel _guilty_ for not ensuring everything is of the "right" type instead of "going with the flow".

        Combine type paranoia (will the code combust at runtime if I don't pin down every detail?!) with a penchant for over-engineering problems and you have the recipe for a very unpleasant, overly-verbose muck-up.
        • Hey, I switched from Java to Perl too, mostly because I compared how much work it was to send mail from Java in 1998 with how easy it was to send mail from the shell, and then decided to use something slightly more cross-platform than whatever the default shell was on HP-UX 9.

      • True. And the exact same thing used to be said about Cobol programmers! And Fortan programmers, and...

        At least we now know Java is Cobol designed by and for accountants.
      • I think there’s a quote trying to be coined in there. Maybe “Classes are to Java programmers as GOTO is to BASIC kids”? Hm, not catchy enough.

        • Interfaces are to Java what machines are to Rube Goldberg.

        • When the only tool you have is Java, every problem looks like a FactoryFactory.

          • That doesn’t convey the punchy idea that I was hoping to capture, though: that casting every task and problem as a class hierarchy is just as brain-damaged as casting every control flow as IF GOTOs.

            • Ontology recapitulates zymarikology?

              This one goes out to all of the Greek-speaking philosophy-loving ex-biologists in the audience. (I really tried to work the word "contravariance" in there, but yeesh.)

              • LOL!

                You get some bonus points for that. The only problem is almost nobody will know what you’re talking about.