Searching for the best scripting language,

Eric @ Zomething eric at
Sun Jun 13 23:25:57 CEST 2004

Richard James wrote:

> "Folks at the Scriptometer conducted a practical survey of which
> scripting language is the best. While question like that is bound to
> generate flamewars between the usual Perl vs PHP, Python vs Perl,
> VBScript vs everything crowds, the Scriptometer survey is practical:
> if I have to write a script, I have to write it fast, it has to be
> small (less typing), it should allow me to either debug itself via a
> debugger or just verbose output mode. sh, Perl and Ruby won the
> competition, and with the difference of 1-2 points they were
> essentially tied for first place... 

Well, if you ask me (and I guess you did!) they have the second set of metrics practically inverted for how I evaluate a language.

Perl, with this:

    -e "/etc/mtab" or exit 1

gains more than 2x the points over Python, because Python uses more than 2x the characters with this:

    import os, sys
    sys.exit(not os.path.exists("/etc/mtab"))

Well, if one lives in a Perl Mind, then Perl is more finger efficient.  If you are going to type this in from the command line a dozen times a day, Perl is quicker than Python.  You think in Perl and become an efficient part of the machine, and you may or may not even remember your days with Captain Picard before you became part of Borg.

Python is pretty nice, though, when you start thinking of larger and/or more complex structures, or have to go back through source code months later, but maybe that's not considered "scripting".  Maybe that's "programming".

OK: imagine The President of the United States outlawed Perl tomorrow!  Sure, some Perl programmers would take up Python, but a great many, I believe, would reject it's "bulk" and swell the ranks of Egyptologists.  Finally we would come to know how the pyramids were built, or at least see a lot of Egyptian symbology on Slashdot.

Eric Pederson

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