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.
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 cgi-lib.pl 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.
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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.
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 (http://bioperl.org) 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.
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.
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