Any Perl victims care to explain this?

Damien Elmes resolve at
Thu Apr 4 23:50:08 EST 2002

I'm just going to pick up on a few things you've been saying, Peter, as a bit
of an aside. 

Peter Barker <pbarker at> writes:

> Apparently Python's regexp stuff is getting to be quite nice. And Java's,
> too.

Shame about the rest of java. ;-)

> You're claiming that Perl is at fault here? You have shown you haven't
> read the documentation, have given inconsistent bug reports and have
> obviously spent too long trying to extend a system you do not understand
> and have subsequently got frustrated with it. If you want to learn a
> language, I would suggest spending some time getting to know the basic
> syntax!

Some might argue that perl's syntax is not basic ;-)

I just wanted to take the opportunity to advocate python for a bit. I think
perl has some very neat features, and I think it has merit as a language - but
the feature-creep and incessant overloading of functionality (such as what
something evaluates to in a particular context), can make it pretty hard to

Now part of its brevity appeals to me - I like being able to express something
in the way which seems most logical to me, and to do it quickly. But marvelling
at perl code which could only be described as "magic" is a lot different to
maintaining it.

Don't get me wrong - I use perl at work (since the company has perl inertia),
and I'll sometimes use it where appropriate (usually for one-time stuff as a
quick solution to something). But I found wrestling with the more esoteric
syntax when following multiple references in complex data structures to be very
frustrating when I first started out. Perl6 promises to fix this with implicit
dereferencing, but there's a number of sacrifices which have had to be made to
graft it on to the existing solution - and let's just say it's not elegant.

The interesting thing about python is that I feel it's taught me to be a better
programmer. By opening my eyes to issues such as "maintainability", even when
I'm writing perl these days, it tends to be easier to read.

I heartly recommend it for people who are interested in learning a new language
or expanding their horizons. 

Anyway, sorry to hijack the discussion ;-)

Damien Elmes

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