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From Mike Bourdon <>
Subject Fw: Re: decline and fall of modperl?
Date Tue, 24 Mar 2009 20:26:42 GMT

I have received a fair amount of affirmatives. So here goes.... 
Let me first begin by stating that my observations are anecdotal. They are however based on
direct conversations with hiring managers / senior developers at my clients/prospects.  I
have also interviewed well over 400 perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers in the last 4 years.
I have an extremely detailed code vetting process that allows an accurate skill level rating.

I am sure there will be plenty of situational disparity between what I write and what you
may have personally experienced. 
The “job” market… 
Most large scale shops (more than a few perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers) have code bases
that where developed in the late 90’s (hence a resistance to moved towards more robust but
yet unproven versions). These companies have survived the dot com blowup and grown in their
respective market places, usually internet/web commerce centric. Most new startups/companies
(there are exceptions) are not perl/oo perl/mod_perl shops. 
The jobs are literally spread across the country. In each geographical area, shops know most
of the “local” perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers/coders. They have already worked with
these coders or interviewed them at some point in time.  In some cases they have current
employees that have worked with and know of them. For whatever reasons they are deemed not
technically or chemistry qualified.  When they do talk to Java/J2ee / MS .net developers
(who accept perl only as a procedural language used for the most part by Linux sysads) it
is very rare there will be any ship jumping. It’s like the McCoys and the Hatfields. In
other words the talent pool doesn’t expand. 
The Southern Ca market has the highest geographical concentration of large scale perl/oo perl/mod_perl
shops (although relatively quite at the moment in terms of hiring). It is arguably the center
of the universe as it relates to media/content/advertising and the merging of these with web
portals. Southern Ca is also a relocation destination. This lends itself to more “local”
talent and therefore more perl/oo perl/mod_perl start ups. The hidden message here is “the
more available senior developers, the more likely available jobs”, an expanding talent pool
will lead to an expanding job market. 
In my humble opinion the perl community needs to embrace the concept of self propagation.
For the most part perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers are self taught. Junior or mid level talent
(a majority of the talent pool) is passed over as not enough experience. Perhaps this is because
they do not push themselves or the roles they come from are User Interface or system ops,
people that did not make it in those roles.  This where as an investment of time and effort
can go a long way into building the pool of perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers. Too often everyone
is looking for the instant gratification of a senior level skill set. 
Believe it or not, there is a perception that senior perl/oo perl/mod_perl developers do not
play well with others. An active mentoring role played by senior developers and gurus needs
to be taken. Reach out and take a junior person under your wing and actively work to raise
their level of coding skill set. Perl/oo perl/mod_perl’s community and your future may
depend on it.

--- On Mon, 3/23/09, Mike Bourdon <> wrote:

From: Mike Bourdon <>
Subject: Re: decline and fall of modperl?
To: "Louis-David Mitterrand" <>
Date: Monday, March 23, 2009, 7:26 PM

Very interesting topic, byline and responses.
For the last 5 years I have been Perl recruiter (24 years overall as a technical headhunter) based
out of Southern Ca. 
Many on this list have talked/worked with me, most however would not recognize this screen
I would be more than happy to share my insights as it relates to the "job" / "candidate" market
If there are enough affirmative replies I will in the near future  post a more detailed dissertation.

If not, I will continue to lurk in the shadows.
Long live PERL

--- On Mon, 3/23/09, Louis-David Mitterrand <> wrote:

From: Louis-David Mitterrand <>
Subject: decline and fall of modperl?
Date: Monday, March 23, 2009, 6:07 AM

-----Inline Attachment Follows-----

Hi and sorry for the provocative title of my post :)

One of our customers is doing a detailed review of a mason/modperl ERP
app we've built for them since 2001. Prodded by some buzzword-compliant
consultants they are expressing concerns that the app's underlying
technologies - perl, modperl and mason - are becoming obsolete. They
feel that a web application framework must have 'rails' or some other
buzzword in its name.

But their main argument is that perl is declining as a web developement
language. Also they rightly feel that competent perl developers are
becoming harder to find.

What arguements could I use to address these concerns and convince them
that their initial investement in perl is still safe and won't be
obsolete in 10 years?

The client's local developers (who maintain the app we've built) feel
that mason gives too much freedom to write messy code and badly
structure a web app. 

Indeed mason has very little constraints, maybe just slightly more than
straight modperl. So it requires experienced, self-disciplined devs,
which are few and far between.

So my second question is, what perl web development framework should we
recommend to our client? Catalyst looks like a winner, but maybe there
are others?

Thanks for your insights,

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