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From Neil Gunton <n...@nilspace.com>
Subject Some philosophical questions
Date Tue, 26 Jul 2005 01:48:04 GMT
This may be a little off the usual topic (bug reports, howto etc) but I am genuinely curious
to know 
what other list members think about it. Back in 2000 or so, when I started using apache, mod_perl

and Embperl, it was a really dynamic scene and quite exciting with all the possibilities for
cool 
app development. There were other languages (Java, PHP) and other competitors within the perl

universe (Mason, Template::Toolkit, AxKit) but in general the mod_perl/Embperl world seemed
like a 
bright place to be. Now, a few years later, I am not really seeing all that much in the way
of 
people "out there" talking about mod_perl, or even Perl. When they do, it's often in the context
of 
legacy applications, or "old fashioned CGI". Somehow, people have forgotten about mod_perl
and how 
capable it is.

I feel now that while I've been sitting here beavering away at my Embperl and mod_perl, somehow
that 
skillset became obselete. And now, in addition to the rest of the world moving on, I find
that the 
Apache API has changed, the mod_perl API has changed... was all that really necessary? Couldn't
they 
have retained some backward compatibility here? But quite apart from that internal stuff,
the 
attitude of the outside world to mod_perl/perl just feels sort of wrong and off-kilter, because
I 
know what the toolset can do and there's really nothing about the alternatives that have been
taking 
over (Java, PHP etc) that makes them any better than mod_perl. And, as we know, perl has such
a 
fantastic resource in the cpan. What's going on?

I am wondering, does anyone have a handle on this? Any comments or thoughts? Am I wrong in
my 
impression of what's happening? It seems that there are buzzwords, and every few years we
get some 
new ones and the "old" stuff just isn't "cool" any more. That's insane, because it looks like
it 
happens just as the tools become really mature and good enough for "real" use.

Is this because of the confusion (if it can be characterized thus) over Apache 2, mod_perl
2 and how 
the APIs changed (are still changing perhaps, I haven't been keeping track)? For a long while,
it 
seems that whenever I checked out Apache 2, people would say it was ready for prime time...
except 
for mod_perl (and PHP, though I don't really track that one closely). Was it a big mistake
to change 
all the APIs, because it made people just go and use other platforms, or would that have happened

anyway?

I know there are still a lot of people using Perl and mod_perl, I'm not saying it's dead at
all, but 
simply that it appears to me to have become something of a legacy thing rather than being
something 
that managers would automatically think of using when they are considering new projects. I
feel like 
my resume has become obselete with this skillset, except in a relatively narrow niche (i.e.
not all 
that many jobs). Yes, I track jobs.perl.org, and no, I don't really see that as being "hot"
right 
now. There are jobs there, but compared to the industry as a whole it's not that many.

I don't really have any conclusions, except that I am considering boning up on newer "cool"
stuff 
such as Ruby on Rails, if only to try and keep my resume relevant. But I still have my own
websites, 
which continue to be implemented in mod_perl and Embperl. I'm not planning on jumping ship,
but I 
don't want to become stuck in the past either.

Any thoughts?

Thanks, and apologies if this seems to be off-topic.

-Neil

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