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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • by jdavidb (1361) on 2004.09.07 12:57 (#34111) Homepage Journal

    mod_perl isn't getting web developers because it isn't a web application framework. PHP is.

    Perl is like Lisp. We have the base language, on which we write the language in which we will write our program. I'm sure people who truly grok Lisp and all of Paul Graham's stuff will say Perl doesn't completely fulfill this, but I think it does partially. We create, at least, a hybrid language that consists of Perl + whatever modules we deem necessary.

    Look at the way everyone writes their own templating system at some point: this is because the language is being used as a meta-language to write the language in which the final program will be written. It's analogous to the way Scheme and (IIUC) Lisp can have multiple object systems. The language you come up with in the end is Perl+CGI.pm or Perl+TT or Perl+DBI (who said I was talking about webapps here? Perl+DBI is itself a great language not suited for web developement, unless you want to take the improved version, Perl+DBI+CGI.pm.) or Perl+Time::Piece or whatever.

    So in the end, the way to capture the PHP market, if this is desired, is not to try to sell Perl as the language to write webapps in, but some hybrid language Perl+WEBAPPLANG.pm. And the emphasis should be on the WEBAPPLANG.pm, not the Perl, and this beast (which might be more than just a module) should handle all of the things you mentioned with ease of installation, etc.

    In the end I think I'm saying the same thing you're saying, just in a different way. But to me it makes no difference if Perl captures the PHP market or not. (I suspect it's no big deal to you, either.)

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • But to me it makes no difference if Perl captures the PHP market or not. (I suspect it's no big deal to you, either.)

      You're right. I don't care all that much about Perl in the web space specifically, but I'd like to see Perl capture the general application development market. Perl replacing VB (via .NET) is a beautiful dream.

      I doubt it will happen though. Still, Perl has been a huge influence on so many of the modern languages. It's humbling.

      • Still, Perl has been a huge influence on so many of the modern languages. It's humbling.

        Yep. And that's why it's totally irrelevant Perl will or will not see widespread use for general application development. You can focus on the near horizon -- getting Perl used in the mainstream -- or you can focus on the far horizon -- getting the features and principles behind Perl adopted by the mainstream.

        Ask yourself if the programs you write today are better than the programs you wrote five or ten years ag

    • I was just having a talk with inkdroid about this the other night. Basically, PHP is so popular because nearly every server has it and once it is there, you don't need access to the apache config to run it. Sure the syntax, kitchen-sink mentality and general ugliness of PHP makes it offensive. But it is the microsoft of open source web app languages. If we had something like mod_perl_lite, that would be easy to install AS A DSO into apache, then we would easily have a better platform. How many apps are
    • This all reminds me of the deal with Gods who die off if nobody believes in them anymore. There's something to that. Perl can't afford to be too nonchalant about PHP else the masses will continue to flock to PHP in the vacuum of Perl ignorant-friendliness.

      PHP can grow organically, increasing its sphere of usefulness, just like Perl did. More and more Perl may become like Latin -- forgotten by the modern day unwashed and just a curious field of study for ivory tower eggheads. Not that there's anything

      • But for those of us who use Perl for completely non-web related things, we could care less if Perl beats out other languages in the webapp space. The right tool should be used for the job. If PHP does the job better, great!

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • "we could care less if Perl beats out other languages in the webapp space" IMHO, we should be caring a whole lot more. The main reason that Perl took such a big lead in the early days of webapp development was that the webapp problem domain fits so perfectly in Perl's target areas of expertise (rapid development and other dynamism, text munging, database interfaces, etc.) Plus, there's Perl's mission statement: "Makes easy things easy and hard things possible." Webapp development is definitely on the easi