[Israel.pm] Is there a lack of (good) Perl programmers?

Srikanth Madani srikmadani at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 5 02:46:22 PST 2007

Interesting discussion; plus I learnt a new word -

One of the reasons for the limited influence of Perl
might indeed be poor programmers - those who call
/bin/grep from their scripts, 'use' modules they don't
use, only vaguely know of 'my', have never heard of
CPAN and whose outpourings couldn't possibly run under
a 'strict' or 'warnings' pragma.

The resulting code, when it does run, tends to be very
delicate and not given to change, except by the
magician who wrote it. This leaves junior managers
with a bad taste in the mouth, and the language gets
blacklisted along with the culprit.

Gabor Szabo wrote:
> The reason might be that Perl does not have high

guy keren wrote:
> b. the name 'scripting languages' put those
languages in a nische. this 
> marketing automatically excludes their use for
writing "real programs".

I agree; this might be the other reason, for this bias
is deeply inculcated. The last time I was given to
design a new solution, I chose C over Perl primarily
because the latter had never been used in that
environment for a "real" job, but only for quick
one-time fixes, or for antiquated scripts to handle
non-core tasks. If things had gone awry, the first
suspect would have been the 'novel' language.

guy keren wrote:
> when students go "out there" - all they know is that
they want to work in "java". or in 
> "C++". even telling them you work in C reduces their
enthusiasm. i am 
> quite sure i would have reacted the same way when i
was fresh.

Perhaps University courses should have in a middle
semester (say fourth or fifth) a comparative
programming language study. Choose a few programming
1. one eminently suited for number crunching (like
finding primes),
2. one that access input files and an input database
and creates a report
3. one that supports a remote access monitoring system

Break up the class into groups, giving each group the
choice of not only the task but also a certain
language (Perl, C/C++, Cobol, Python and Java). Let
each group document their experience in terms of
compilation errors, rewrites, availability of
libraries, documentation and IDEs, ease of coding,
stability and performance.

The groups should then present their findings and let
each other review their code. Might this not suggest
that the  approach depends upon the task, and the
choice of a particular language upon factors such as
whether performance is critical, or how often changes
might be expected etc..

Elizabeth Sterling wrote:
> So we should all stop preaching to the choir, and
start talking to the people who
> actually make the decisions.

True :) But some in the choir eventually might, indeed
must, at a later point make their way to the pulpit,
i.e. some programmers become managers, with the
passage of time.

Srikanth Madani, lately a lurker

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