Why use Perl when we've got Python?!

John W. Stevens jstevens at basho.fc.hp.com
Sat Aug 14 04:53:51 CEST 1999

> In comp.lang.perl.misc, 
>     "John W. Stevens" <jstevens at basho.fc.hp.com> writes:
> :Understanding somebody elses Perl. . . now that can be heart breakingly
> :difficult.
> Then they were a bad Perl programmer, or else you are.

You are so big on assertion vs. proof: so prove the above.  If you

> Perl doesn't force
> you to write good code any more than English forces to write good prose.
> When you find bad prose, whom do you shoot?  The writer, not the language.
> So, too, with Perl.  

Comparing Perl to English, and trying to emulate English, is in fact the
basis for Perl's flaws.

But the discussion was aimed more at "typesetting" not at "prose".

When you find bad typesetting, who do you shoot?  The system that
encourages/allows bad typesetting.  In this case, the flawed system
is Perl.

> If it is counted against Perl fault that "stupid" people can program in
> Perl, then so be it.

That is your mouth . . . this is mine.  I said nothing, ever, about
stupid programmers.

My criticism goes towards what should be obvious: slang can and does
make it more difficult to understand what others are saying, until
you learn that slang.  The more slang (the more variants allowed)
the more difficult a language is to learn.

Just ask any non-native speaker who is trying to learn American English.

> This aspect has made many people's lives better,
> even if they are too "stupid" or too "inexperienced" for a "real
> programming language".

Oh, Perl is as close to a real programming language as you can get. . .
assuming you subscribe to Porters definition of a "real programmer"! ;->

> They got their job done, and they're happy.

"They" may be happy.  Their team members are another story.

> I doubt you want to maintain their code, but why did you hire someone to
> write professionally maintainable code who had no demonstrated ability
> to do so?

In point of fact, when the projects mentioned before were shifted to
Python, three things happened:

1) Productivity went up.
2) Defects went down.
3) Maintenance costs went down.

Maybe it is Python that is easier for stupid programmer to use, not

John S.

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