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

Offer Kaye offer.kaye at gmail.com
Sun Mar 11 12:38:56 PDT 2007

This seems to have been turned into a thread about the relative
(compared to other languages) usefulness of Perl in the workplace.
>From my experience in Zoran and what I heard from friends in other
"Semiconductor" companies (Intel, Marvel), Perl is very much alive and
used in our industry, thank you very much :) There are rarely if ever
any competitors for writing tools/scripts, except for Tcl*.

It's just that not being software companies, these places rarely if
ever look for Perl programmers, as such. Instead they look, when they
need people to support the Perl tools, for people with knowledge in
the related VLSI/hardware field *and* knowledge of Perl, or they teach
him/her Perl from scratch. I feel this is a shame as usually the Perl
code written tends to be of "beginner" quality - not always bad, just
not high quality, certainly not easy to extend to large
projects/teams. In addition there is little expenditure of resources
on Perl  itself (IDEs, books, updated versions), so Perl remains a
'side project' of a few dedicated individuals...
Note that all of the above is my highly subjective and personal
experience or stuff I've heard - people from other companies may have
totally different experience or knowledge.

One area where I feel Perl is lacking compared to Java or C++ is
writing GUIs. Perl GUIs are usually (almost always) written in
Perl/Tk, especially as Tk comes installed with ActivePerl. Frankly
Perl/Tk is butt-ugly (at least in a Motif based desktop such as the
one we use - YMMV), lacks modern features and widgets and is therefore
not appealing for most GUI tasks except for very simple ones.
Perl bindings to other toolkits (GTK+, QT, WxWidgets) are difficult
for beginners to master, badly documented, lack examples and are
practically impossible to install in the workplace since you need the
relevant header files and those are not always installed...
A self contained Perl module with no outside library dependencies and
advanced GUI features and look is probably a pipe-dream, considering
the amount of work that goes into such a toolkit such as Swing, GTK+
or QT. But this is what Java and C++ have and where I feel Perl is
lacking. With a really good GUI widget toolkit, I think Perl would be
much more interesting for companies and individuals used to today's
GUI-intensive environment.

* Tcl was pushed as the default interface language of the two largest
EDA companies, Synopsys and Cadence. The users - hardware companies -
are slowly but surely following, as really they have little choice.

Just my 2cents worth,
Offer Kaye

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