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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Note that the question is not "Why is Perl better than PHP", but rather "Why should I use it?"

    Off the top of my head:

    1. Perl is used in places that PHP isn't. You'll find Perl applications everywhere from unix system administration to car parking. Learning Perl gives you the opportunity to work in more places doing different things.
    2. In many cases somebody else has written most of your application for you. CPAN is a stupidly useful resource.
    3. All languages make some things easier and some things harder.
    • (Attempting to channel a recalcitrant, skeptical PHP programmer....)

      Perl is used in places that PHP isn't. You'll find Perl applications everywhere from unix system administration to car parking. Learning Perl gives you the opportunity to work in more places doing different things.

      That's fine, but why should I care? I'm never going to use a Sequent, port my application to AIX 4 or DYNIX. It's nice that sysadmins can use Perl, but if I don't care about writing sysadmin scripts, what's the point?

      • Responding to the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer rather than ziggy :-)

        That's fine, but why should I care? I'm never going to use a Sequent, port my application to AIX 4 or DYNIX. It's nice that sysadmins can use Perl, but if I don't care about writing sysadmin scripts, what's the point?

        None.

        Let me be clear. I'm not trying to say "you should drop PHP and use Perl". I'm saying "here are some reasons you should consider learning Perl as well".

        If none of them apply, then don't learn Perl. Does

        • (still channelling the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer...)

          Learning more programming languages can only make you more employable. If your concentrating on web development targeting the other primary language used for web development would seem sensible.

          Your defending the argument with still more platitudes. Specifically, you're making a generalized argument that PHP programmers should learn more languages, but you're not saying anything specific about why PHP programmers should learn Perl. (

          • (still responding to the recalcitrant, sceptical PHP programmer...)

            Your defending the argument with still more platitudes. Specifically, you're making a generalized argument that PHP programmers should learn more languages, but you're not saying anything specific about why PHP programmers should learn Perl

            I thought the "targeting the other primary language used for web development" was fairly specific :-)

            In fact, it really highlights that you should just skip Perl/HOP and jump straight into Scheme/SICP [mit.edu]/SICM [mit.edu] and just read those a couple of times.

            You say that as if it would be a bad thing!

            True, but data munging can be done in any language, which is why it's mostly done in Java or C#. Or PHP. If Perl were really used in "many organizations" for the heavy stuff, that would be reflected in lots of correlating data: book titles, book sales, magazines, conferences, job ads, tools, etc. pretty much uniformly distributed across the technical world.

            Outside of front-end web development I've never seen PHP mentioned in a job advert. I've never been involved with, or known anybody involved with, writing back end code in PHP. Ruby, Perl, Python, Java and half a dozen others yes. PHP never.

            Now I'm not saying that it's impossible to write back end code in PHP. Just that you're very unlikely to ever get work doing it. Go look at the job adverts for banks. Perl (and Python) pops up all of the time. PHP doesn't.

            Where's the real benefit to Perl qua Perl?

            CPAN - because it will save you a stupid amount of time writing code that somebody else has already written. Existing client infrastructure - because there are a lot of existing clients out there with large chunks of Perl that they don't want to throw away.

            Outside that nothing that is going to give you a massive increase in productivity. Lots of little things that will give you little advantages (like anonymous subroutines and other HOP/Lisp-ish things), but nothing earth shattering.

            Offering shallow reasoning to support your argument doesn't really convince anyone in the long run. It just sets up high expectations and mostly fails to deliver them.

            I don't think the reasoning is shallow (but I would say that :-). It's just not the sort of argument that says "You should drop PHP now and learn Perl. You'll be a lot better off".

            You won't be better off if you drop PHP and learn Perl.

            Don't do that.

            You will be better off if you learn Perl (or some other language) as well. Perl is used in lots of places that PHP isn't. You will have more job opportunities in different domains. If this doesn't interest you don't learn Perl, or indeed any other language.