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My (thin) Perl experience

Christophe Verré

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688

10 years ago, I was a member of a team developing an intranet based on Perl (CGI scripts). It was the first time I'd seen that language, and I had very few time to get used to it. I was only familiar with C/C++/Java at that time. Perl was not an easy one to grasp in a short time. Developing all the pages using Perl, that was not a pleasant experience.

However, I do like that language. I had the opportunity to work with Perl again in February (10 years I hadn't seen Perl !). Mainly sorting and comparing files. This was much more enjoyable than the web development.

[My Blog]
All roads lead to JavaRanch
Ulf Dittmer

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42965
In grad school, I took a class in web programming which touched on CGI and Perl. The book was Introduction to Cgi/Perl and used the library. Incidentally, the class also introduced me to Java (mostly in the form of applets). Looking at those Java source codes today, I shudder :-) But I haven't used Perl much since then; I preferred TCL.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11955

I use Perl rather often. In fact, just today I wrote a script that searches a bunch of sub-directories to find some junk files to delete. It saves us manually going in and doing it by hand.

There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

Back in the day, at the dawn of the Web, everything was geared towards Perl, so I dabbled. Years later, I ended up as one of the unlucky folks maintaining the old JavaRanch forum software, which was was written in Perl. That was quite an experience, I'll tell you what! My last act of Perl coding was the little script that 301-s URLs from the old Perl forums to this shiny new one; it's still running now. I haven't touched the language since then.

[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 20535

Ulf Dittmer wrote:But I haven't used Perl much since then; I preferred TCL.

There was a period of a few years where I switched between Perl and TCL -- in the end, I think that I too, prefer TCL more.

These days, I rarely do scripting, so haven't touched either language. And on the rare occasion when I do, I try to either stay totally in shellscript (bash), or use sed, awk, etc.


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Hussein Baghdadi
clojure forum advocate

Joined: Nov 08, 2003
Posts: 3479

Shamefully, I don't have any Perl experience.
Did I miss a lot?
William Stephens

Joined: Dec 13, 2007
Posts: 16
I've used Perl off and on for more than 10 years. I just got back into using it for a graduate class using BioPerl ( to perform some comparison of DNA sequences. It was a nice experience. At a previous employer we used Perl for processing large amounts of 3rd party data, like DSL qualification information for every land line in the US and large volumes of music data. It worked, but wasn't the optimal solution.

I primarily code in Java, but when I need to get a small task done quickly I definitely fall back to Perl.

kri shan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 08, 2004
Posts: 1432
I hate perl, bec perl is interpreter script. There is no compiler for perl.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11955

kri shan wrote:I hate perl, bec perl is interpreter script. There is no compiler for perl.

apart from that being an odd reason to 'hate' a language, it is also not true.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 17421

I used to use Perl for almost all my scripting, although that was partly because it was the only quick-and-dirty language I knew well that ran on Linux.

These days, I use shell scripts for stuff that doesn't do detailed data processing, Python for stuff that's primarily programmatic, and Perl for stuff that heavily regex-based.

One reason I backed off from Perl was that it has been a constant struggle to do anything complex enough that it warrants use of third-party modules. CPAN almost invariably compiles some C code to install a module, and the C code not infrequently fails to compile at critical times, even for modules I've used for years. Plus, occasionally despite the CPAN mechanism's best efforts I get into the Perl version of DLL Hell when modules start butting heads.

Python's package management is still a bit primitive, but it doesn't suffer from install issues, and there's more functionality in the base install than what Perl offers. Then again, there's that whole indentation thing. (shrug). And the fact that Python makes things that look like Java packages, but don't always act like Java packages. (shrug).

My TCl/Tk book is still close at hand. Just don't grab it all that often.

An IDE is no substitute for an Intelligent Developer.
I agree. Here's the link:
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