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chip (65)

chip
  chip@pobox.com

Pumpking Emeritus for Perl 5.4 and Parrot

Journal of chip (65)

Sunday February 08, 2004
10:19 PM

From under the hood to behind the wheel

I never realized until I got my current day job just how much I've been working on Perl instead of working with it. But now I'm out from under the hood, and I'm sitting behind the wheel instead. And I'm loving it.

I've been writing a lot of Perl lately. My current job is a good problem domain for Perl--lots of parsing--but that's not the point. The point is that I'm not hacking the Perl core any more, at least not often. I hardly work in C lately. It's all Perl and shell.

DAMN this is a fine language! Whenever I think of an abstraction, a rearrangement, a generalization, a feature, even sometimes just a vague concept ... Perl has a way. It's not always a pretty way, and it's sometimes inefficient or dangerous or even silly; but Perl doesn't stop me. It gives me all the rope I want, even if I want to shoot myself in the foot with it.

Of course, knowing how the core works is still remarkably useful. It removes the need for cargo cult or just-in-case programming practices; I don't have to worry whether something will really work the way I want if I know how it's implemented, down to the C function names. Whether this indicates something weak about Perl or is just a normal consequence of a complex system implemented on top of another system, I don't know. I suppose I should learn to hack the core of Python, or a JVM, so I can be sure....

Nah. I've got code to write. Now how can I factor out this expression here? Oh, that was easy.