Why use Perl when we've got Python?!

Tim Greer webmaster at chatbase.com
Sun Aug 15 21:14:40 EDT 1999

John Stevens wrote:
> On 14 Aug 1999 04:08:05 GMT, Sam Holden <sholden at pgrad.cs.usyd.edu.au> wrote:
> >That could simply have been a reference. Or a symbolic reference.
> >
> >What is fundamental is that a @ tacked on the front indicates that it is an
> >array.
> :-)
> What is so amusing about that, is that you can say that with a straight
> face!
> :-)
> >So given @$fred, even with no knowledge of what that exactly means
> >you should be able to tell that it is somehow treating $fred as an array.
> No, what any reasonable person would do would be to grab for his
> Perl book. . .

Until they learn the language enough to know these things. If you judge
a language based only on what you remember in the smallest amount of
learning time you've spent, then you're limiting yourself in too many
ways to bother mentioning. Some people have a better comprehension for
certain languages over others. It's really that simple. Some people are
scared off, or disillusioned too quickly. Simply put, they haven't spent
the proper amount of time (some languages do take longer to learn well
enough to not have to use reference material every few minutes), or they
weren't taught properly, or it's just something that they have less of a
comprehension for, or perhaps a lack of desire to really get so involved
when they could be using other languages. Sometimes that limits you and
your ability. You only limit yourself at that point, because you could
be writing better programs in a language that's probably better suited
for the task, a language that confuses you, because you don't understand
it as quickly as another. That's fine, and for some people, it's not
worth the time invested to pout so much time into learning for more
reasons that are equally as pointless to mention. Some people think
learning Assembly is a complete waste of time.. Why learn it when you
already know enough C? Right? Wrong. If you have time and reason or
desire, learn it. Even if you'll never use it, I'd suggest you learn it.
It might not be easy, but in most circumstances, you'll probably end up
writing better C programs... You'd have to learn Assembly to know what
I'm talking about... The only real drawback, is the fact that you'll
cringe when you realize what the C compiler is doing to your code. You
can't know this, because you either don't know the language, or know it
well enough to state such things. Sure, you find it more confusing then
Python, that's fine, that's you. However, in that case, you shouldn't
make statements that make you look foolish here, in a Perl NG, simply
based on the facts that you can't deal with the curly braces and such,
or the fact that _you_ personally can't remember some of the syntax and
whatnot. That's ridiculous and that's why this completely pointless
thread has continued for so long.

> >>Yes. . . is it a hash, or a scalar?  If it is a scalar, why
> >>is it called dict?  If it is a hash, then why is it prefixed
> >>by $?  If this is a reference instead of a scalar, then why
> >>doesn't it have it's own special prefix character.  ;->
> >
> >It's a scalar. It is named dict because TomC called it that.
> Yes.  My point exactly.

Yes, well, tell me, _what_ is it to be called? You should know how much
Tom is involved in Perl and how much he contributes. It's not a bad idea
or a wrong idea to call it something _you_ personally don't agree with.
You are complaining about "lists" in Perl? It's what it's called in
_this_ language, _this_ is _not_ Python. Do you just use this as an
example, based on the fact that it's not what you're _used to seeing_?
Or what you think it would be better called? This is a pretty high-level
language, and you are sort of contradicting yourself by saying how
difficult the syntax is to remember for _you_ (however that's relevant
to the rest of the world?), yet you think it should be called a more
technical term that _most_ people wouldn't understand? Isn't that at
least _part_ of your point?
> >It is
> >also named that since it is a reference to a hash. I use code like this
> >in C quite a bit :
> A reference to a hash. . . and yet TC claims that Perl is open to
> non-computer scientists.
> :-)
> Doesn't *ANYBODY* else see the irony in that?

How about the fact that you appear you be your own walking
contradiction? I believe that point is and was correct, and is to the
fact that; In Perl, people with no background in CS can learn enough,
right off, within a very short time, to be able to write some programs
that will accomplish some basic to intermediate tasks. That's not to say
that they will be able to know the more complex aspects of the language
with as much ease, and that goes without saying for _any_ language. Why
disagree with that?

> >If you know what it means then why do you continually get it wrong
> >throughout this thread?
> I don't suppose that you realize that getting wrong simply
> proves (and illustrates) my point?

About you and your statements, yes. You aren't everyone, or the
majority. If enough people asked that some of the keywords and
definitions be changed and there was a real need for it, I'm sure it
would happen... I don't see that happening, because there's no reason,
because _most_ people here seem to understand it and remember the syntax
well enough to where they don't suffer from the same problem as you.
> I learned it.  I used it.  I haven't written a new Perl program
> in three months.
> I come back to it, I get it wrong. . . do you see, yet,
> or do you just not get it?

I think the point is, is that you simply don't "get" Perl. You "get"
Python better, it's more comprehensible to you, and that's fine. Some
people find the opposite true. I myself, as both a Perl and Python
programmer (among other languages) look for and find the similarities.
There are more then a few if you really look at it. What's better for
what you're doing, is the question? What language do you find easier to
use personally? Why say one language is flawed over another based on
your own experience. Who did you learn from? Where did you learn from?
How much time did you spend? What, if any, do you have in prior
CS/programming backgrounds? Are you willing to dismiss some or many of
the things you were taught when you learned the prior, or do you feel
it's a better language based on the fact that you find it's closer to,
or easier to understand right off in comparison to the prior knowledge
you posses? Who are you to say?


This is really stupid. Have you read any, many, or all of Tom's books
he's authored or co-authored? The man is not stupid and he knows what
he's talking about, which you have to admit is true when it comes to
Perl at least. Isn't it expected that he'll make points in defense of
Perl? You obviously don't like Perl as much as Python, and no one's
saying there's anything wrong with that.. The only flaw with your logic
in your posts, is the fact that it seems that you're speaking for others
and basing a lot of it on the fact, as you claim, that you yourself
personally find remembering the syntax difficult. Ok, so? That's you, I
can't think of anyone else that used Perl that has that problem, but I'm
sure more then a few do, just as with any other language. Why use Perl
when you've got Python? I don't know, maybe you'll enjoy Perl more, use
it more, or find it better suited for you or your task? Maybe your
particular program will run faster/better in perl rather then Python?
Maybe you can market it with more ease? Maybe something else? maybe your
program (for you, from you coding it) will run better coded in Python?
There's no point to this at all! If you want to compare it in that
manner, then tell me, _why_ bother with Perl OR Python, when you can use
C? Further, _why_ use C, when you can code it in Assembly? After all,
it's faster, you can make it do anything you want,
as-long-as-you-know-how. Just because you don't "know how", doesn't mean
it lacks something the language you _can_ code in better.

There was really no point to any of this. Making claims one way of the
other, about what you "believe" would be better named or worded does
little to no good. Note that my post in reply to you is/was completely
relevant and on-topic in regards to your post and this entire issue...
Note also, that I didn't have to use on piece of code to make this
point... after all, this is, to you as you've made it clear, to prove
your point, or disprove it. I'm just wondering _what_ your "point" was
supposed to be when it all comes down to it? I have been following the
thread, and I have yet to see a real point made.
Tim Greer   : webmaster at chatbase.com  | software at linkworm.com
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