Choosing Perl/Python for my particular niche

Donn Cave donn at drizzle.com
Sat Mar 27 17:51:02 CET 2004


Quoth claird at lairds.com (Cameron Laird):
...
| I *really* don't know how to respond to this; a
| sentence with "sed", "conditional" and "convenient"
| leaves me at a loss.

I personally find sed more frustrating than useful, for anything
past the common one-line application.  But I know of a very
accomplished sed programmer for whom it's the other way around -
not only can he solve complex problems in sed, he once professed
to be baffled by the common structured-procedural languages.
I reckon him to be a person of extraordinary intellect, because
of his exceptional ability with sed, but he was pretty firmly
convinced that he couldn't do much with a programming language
like C or Python.  Of course not a programmer by trade. I believe
he never did go on to prove himself wrong on that.

In my opinion, it's a matter of very deep learning about how to
solve problems.  Most of us were introduced to programming with
procedural languages - BASIC, assembler, Pascal, FORTRAN and so
on, which for all their differences are essentially the same in
principle when it comes to solving a problem.  We can move from
one of these languages to another fairly easily, but not sed -
what's the point of such a useless language!  But here are these
few, mostly non-programmers, who started with sed and can do
amazing things with it.  We see a crippling lack of features,
where they see spartan elegance, because at a very fundamental
level they get it and we don't.

	Donn Cave, donn at drizzle.com



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