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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • It took five and a half years to go from Perl 5.8.0 to Perl 5.10.0 which, according to CPAN, is a "testing" release, whatever that is. Six and a half years after the release of Perl 5.8.0, there's still no "stable" new major version of Perl.

    I disagree that gradual evolution has explaining power here. (Frankly, the only language above Perl on TIOBE's top ten list that shows even a flicker of evolution is C#. Python has a chance, but the modest goals of Python 3.0 may not compel upgrades. PHP's dying, and

    • IMHO, Ovid's points are absolutely spot-on and there's no need to play things down or look for excuses which might technically be correct but don't help the negative perception and reputation Perl has with managers and people new to the world of coding looking for a future-proof and appealing programming language. But most people in the Perl community don't realize this and will probably never realize it. If you look at how the world works you'll see that in most cases not the subjectively better thing wins but the one that's more shiny with better marketing (Beta Max vs. VHS, Windows vs. Linux, Perl vs. PHP, etc). Perl people say: "Yeah, but _I_ know that my technology is better so f**k the other's opinion." Try telling that your manager who has to make sure that there are enough developers out there for the technology he has to chose - which in case of Perl there aren't - at least not in Germany. Ruby and PHP have two big advantages over Perl: Charismatic persons or companies that push the languages (DHH, 37signals, Zend, IBM) and a community that has large quantities of designers who decided to start coding at one point. The former push the languages in the right places and the latter give them a friendly face. Perl has the advantage of having a community mostly consisting of highly trained software engineers who know how to crank out high quality code (which ex-designers aren't neccessarily capable of). But the problem is that most people still (and probably always will) judge books by their covers. Like many others I always cited the CPAN as one of Perl's killer "apps" but the majority of people doing web apps don't need over 40.000 modules. They need classes that provide the basic stuff (date/time handling, forms, db access, ORM, etc). And guess what: There's a large quantity of those classes for PHP, Python, Ruby, etc. so why stick to Perl if you can have a clean language like Ruby which has most of the libs you'll ever need and, more importantly, the "Good Feeling(tm)" that you're using/learning a language which is growing in popularity and which has a community of people that share the same problems you might encounter while cranking out your web app? Also, TIMTOWTDI can be one of the most frightening things when you're still in the learning stages (which might last a couple of years). So most people want something tried, tested and, most importantly, used by as many other people as possible, to increase the possibility of getting help if something goes wrong.
      • Err... I meant "objectively better", of course :)
      • If you look at how the world works you'll see that in most cases not the subjectively better thing wins but the one that's more shiny with better marketing....

        That's not entirely wrong, but it's also too simplistic an answer. You're blatantly wrong about PHP's advantage over Perl; PHP had that advantage before Zend existed and before IBM cared. It's distribution and ease of beginning.

        Strangely, that also explains the Rails advantage over... well, everything that didn't have a ten minute screencast at th