To Perl or not to Perl, that is the question... ;o)

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# 1  
Old 08-08-2019
To Perl or not to Perl, that is the question... ;o)

I bow here to experts who use both Python and Perl.
I am au fait with Python and have done loads with it, especially writing code that works from Version 1.4.0 to 3.7.0 on varying platforms, some of it on here...

Well, I have been contemplating learning Perl.
I see many experts on here who have posted Perl code and it looks like it can do much like Python can.
I have '_heard_' bad reports about it however so this discussion will help me decide.

Question: Is it worth me expanding my knowledge to this language or just stick with Python - any version?

If so I may jump in at the deep end and do yet another AudioScope, I have already done the same for Python and much, much more mainly for the AMIGA A1200.
Any decent books you know of to purchase would be of help too.
I love hitting the hardware, ("banging the metal"), and this has to be taken into account for my final decision...

TIA Guys and Gals...
# 2  
Old 08-08-2019
FWIW, maybe not much, I used to program extensively in PERL 20 years ago and at that time I was a huge PERL advocate.

Fast forward to 2019 and I never use PERL for anything, never.

EDIT: Maybe I should? Smilie
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# 3  
Old 08-08-2019
Banging the metal -

Some Solaris 10 & 11 performance and system analysis code runs using perl interfaces - Dtrace for example. Dtrace also runs on Linux, again perl is a major player.

Because of SciPy and NumPy a lot of scientists like myself use Python - more because of the libraries than for any other reason. For system stuff Dtrace is great.

No matter what you "hear" about any coding environment, there is a huge BS component to it. You should pick the tool that fits your needs - not someone else's perceptions. There have been a nauseating number of threads on in the past - 'What is the best language to learn (or to code in) ?' No language is perfect for everyone. Period.
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# 4  
Old 08-09-2019
Anyone who is a “decent”¯ programmer learns and in multiple programming languages.

And ....

Anyone who is a “decent”¯ programmer continually learns multiple new programming languages as time passes and technology changes.

As I said, I used to program extensively in PERL, twenty years ago but not now. Seems my use of PERL in day-to-day operations almost exactly follows the "Google Trends" curve, below:



Others are always free to do as they please, obviously; and for those who want to learn PERL, please do!

I used to love PERL for sure. As for me, I am definitely not into “tech nostalgia”¯ (that's just me); but then I do not collect stamps or old cars; but that is just me Smilie I am more of a “zen programmer”¯ and toss out unused tech in favor of the new. But as I said, that is only me. Others are obviously free to do as they like, of course; and that is how it should be.

I would not describe other's ideas and opinions here about "personal likes and dislikes regarding programming languages" at as “nauseating”¯ as MadeInGermany just did. Everyone is entitled to use any programming language they like and it is normal for most humans to have passion about things they like and dislike.

When someone asks for an opinion then everyone, rookies to "experts" are free to chime in as long as they follow the long standing forum rules. Here they are (again) as a reminder:


(1) No flames, shouting (all caps), sarcasm, bullying, profanity or arrogant posts.

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(3) Refrain from idle chatter that does not contribute to the knowledge base. This does not apply to the forums in The Unix Lounge which are for off-topic discussions.

(4) Do not 'bump up' questions if they are not answered promptly. No duplicate or cross-posting and do not report a post or send a private message where your goal is to get an answer more quickly.

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# 5  
Old 08-09-2019
I had a lot of experience with perl, however I understood that perl is dying. Hence I would not recommend it to any beginner.
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# 6  
Old 08-09-2019
"Dying" is hyperbole. By that metric I'm sure awk has been dead for half a century. It still persists where its feature set is useful, as does Perl.

One thing that makes Perl especially useful is its excellent - and several - libraries for dealing with Excel files. If your question ends with "...with Excel files in Unix", 9/10 times the solution will involve Perl somewhere.

But the main thing I see Perl used for these days is DNA. Makes sense to throw the most featureful string language there is at the longest string there is...

Last edited by Corona688; 08-09-2019 at 12:37 PM..
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# 7  
Old 08-09-2019
I'm not a great perl hacker either. It was my first Scripting Language after bash in Linux ~20 years ago. The syntax is uncomfortable to me. It's quite fast. It's a usable general purpose scripting language, that scales a lot beyond shell scripting. I hadn't been using it for real work for a long time now.

I would not say it is a must learn. It has some unique points in it's purpose of using. So I will probably use it, if those points matter.

- great stability of syntax (stick to version ~5.00x if you like to have that)
- great availability(still available in the newest systems)

Some people still use it for current code(e. g. Proxmox, great open source virtualization management solution and mail filtering solution).

If you like to generate good code, you may do in perl too(or even the opposite - if you like).

The version number rised considerably in the last years and wikipedia mentions that features of the not-really-used perl 6 are being integrated zu perl 5 step by step. Maybe those features are worth a look?

Perl 5 version history - Wikipedia

Its Anti-Hype atmosphere appears kind of cool to me.

Last edited by stomp; 08-09-2019 at 07:26 PM..
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