[nSLUG] Fwd: Calling Perl Mongers, Monks and Mooks

Mike Doherty doherty at cs.dal.ca
Tue Jun 4 18:12:07 ADT 2013

Perl is in many ways ugly, but I actually think it's quite easy to 
learn. I was told it was hard, and said "challenge accepted" -- and 
discovered that it really wasn't so tough. In particular, even speaking 
"baby-talk" Perl, beginners can be productive. I think this 
misconception persists because although it is difficult to become an 
expert. The learning curve is shallow, but goes on *forever*.

I think another interesting aspect of Perl is that the warts are not 
what people think of. "Oh sigils, how ugly" is not a real wart. Even 
"Punctuation variables, how ugly" isn't even a real wart. Perl hackers 
know that the warts are totally different things. What things they are 
is left as an exercise for the reader :) (or a conversation over coffee)


On 13-06-04 02:12 PM, Robin Murray wrote:
> IMO, perl is a very ugly, convoluted, frustrating language to learn.
> There bags of details you have to "just know" to become reasonably
> productive, like many of the special variables ($", $$, $/, when to use
> $! and not $@, and of course there's $_ and @_), when to use BEGIN and
> END, what does __PACKAGE__ variable mean, and lots of others. Then you
> have to use it enough to get a feel for the five or dozens of ways to do
> any one small thing, and then figure out which one is right for you. And
> then realize the one you picked is no good for you after all and switch
> to another.
> It's very easy to write ugly, hard to read code, that even the author
> can't later figure out:
> http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2008/07/one-day-in-the.html
> HOWEVER, once you have gotten past that learning curve, you will find
> it's an incredibly productive language to use. I've been switching back
> and forth between java and perl lately, and I always feel releived when
> I get back to perl. Things are just so much easier to get done quickly:
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4769111/java-equivalent-of-perls-hash
> Then there's the wonderful world of CPAN, an amazing amount of utilities
> at your finger tips. I don't know of any other language that has an
> equivalent. There may be some, but I haven't run into them yet.
> For me, I think my brain would go a little bent using perl just now and
> then, without going through that tough learning stage. I've dabbled in
> ruby and so far have found it much more straight forward. I hear python
> is much easier too. Unless I actually wanted to do perl specifically, I
> think I would use a simpler language for casual use. But that's just me.
> (I have no interest in any religious wars of languages, I have no axe to
> grind, just giving my perspective on this, for what it's worth.)
> --
> Robin Murray
> Hatchet Lake,
> Nova Scotia
> Canada
> On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM, Joshua B. <joshua at bearsend.ca
> <mailto:joshua at bearsend.ca>> wrote:
>     Afraid this didn't go to the list because Gmail and I have been really
>     sucking at mailing lists lately.
>     ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>     From: Joshua B. <joshua at bearsend.ca <mailto:joshua at bearsend.ca>>
>     Date: Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM
>     Subject: Re: [nSLUG] Calling Perl Mongers, Monks and Mooks
>     To: Daniel MacKay <daniel at bonmot.ca <mailto:daniel at bonmot.ca>>
>     My coding ventures are purely recreational. I have two projects
>     presently which I work on sporadically: a client and case management
>     tool for personal use at work and a game.
>     I work on the projects for the purpose of learning and I learn more
>     perl for the purpose of completing the projects.  By and large I help
>     myself by reading f'ng man pages, perltut files, and stack overflow
>     etc... but I long for some basic chit chat about perl generally and my
>     projects in particular.  I think I'm just looking for some human
>     contact - to confirm that actual walking breathing human beings use
>     perl.
>     Joshua
>     On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 8:18 AM, Daniel MacKay <daniel at bonmot.ca
>     <mailto:daniel at bonmot.ca>> wrote:
>      > Joshua:
>      >
>      > What Perl stuff do you need help with?
>      >
>      > -dan
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