On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 3:44 PM, Octavian Rāsnita <orasnita@gmail.com> wrote:
From: Rolf Banting
Foo JH wrote:
> In the academia the general directive in choosing a language would be
> something to this effect:
> 1. teach modern language concepts, such as OO
> 2. minimise the learning curve by way of something easy to teach, easy
> to learn without having to figure out all the details of programming
> 3. introduce the students to a language that will make them attractive
> to the general market
> You probably have a feel why Perl isn't a strong choice given these
> objectives.

> On points 1 & 2:
> 1. Perl supports more programming paradigms than Java.
> 2. You write fewer lines of perl to get things done than you do in Java.
1. I don't know what it means that perl supports more paradigms than Java, but I know that the Java / C# OOP style is usually considered a much complete and better standard than one used by Perl.
Functions are first class citizens in Perl - so you get functional programming built in. You don't in Java.

How are standards of OO quantified and compared?
Java / DotNet support interfaces, so the classes they create respect the "contracts" better, while in perl world, the programmer is free, and nobody points a shotgun to him in order to force him to do it.
Java and C# uses a dot notation for separating the classes when using the OOP style, and even Template-Toolkit uses it, but perl uses something else.
C++ uses '::'
2. It is right that perl is probably one of the most productive languages, because it requires to write very little code, for doing very many things.
But for doing the same thing, Ruby and Python can use sometimes even less code, because they don't use so much punctuation and funny char
And anyway, for the beginners, this is not a big problem. The biggest problem is that perl is harder to learn. The programmers might want to learn a language for a year, and get a job, and after this they hope that they will find time to learn the chosen language better while they have a job.
Harder to learn than what? Is there any evidence for this?
We could say that perl would be really great for these days if we could say about it something like:
- It is the most easy to learn language even by the most stupid programmers.
It is easy to learn!
- It can create portable programs that can run everywhere, under Windows, Mac, Linux, shared hosting web sites that don't offer root and shell access.
- The source code of the programs can be hidden.
- There are very many recent books that teach Perl.
Why is "recent" important? The language features haven't changed much so why would the learning resources?
- Perl is chosen by bigger companies like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Sun, Yahoo, Google, SAP.
- The popular sites like Twitter, Digg, Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia, are powered by perl.
- There are important other software made in Perl which are used much these days, like a mailing list manager, a web server, financial charting software, stock exchange trading applications, etc.
I know of perl CORBA applications that have been responsible for charging literally millions of real-time short messages in telecomms networks in Latin America.
...and other things like these. But unfortunately in the last years I've seen only reports about the decreasing number of sites that use Perl.
Use of perl is declining - but not due to lack of technical merit. Fashions change.