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Experimenting with other programming languages...

by malander (Novice)
on Apr 21, 2001 at 21:31 UTC ( #74449=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello, all. This is my first ever post to PerlMonks.. I've been a longtime lurker, and some of you may know me on Dalnet #perl as malander, as well..

I've been coding in Perl for about 9 months now, and loving every minute of it.. While only being 14, I've dabbled in tons of languages, primarily qbasic and other BASIC variants, and I must say, Perl is the best thing I've come across. The "horrid" syntax of it is something I enjoy, as opposed to what others think of it.

I haven't felt I had anything worthy to contribute until now - see, recently, I've been experimenting with the Ruby language, for fun.

Now, it rather disgusts me that the Ruby language pages, (I'm talking the official site etc) seem to portray an attitude of "Better than thou" towards other languages, namely Perl.. It puts a bad taste in my mouth, to be honest with you.

In fact, sometimes it even seems like the author of the language is trying to sell his language on Perl hackers, which also leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Besides this, I rather like the language. It seems pretty neat. However, what do others think of my concerns? -malander

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Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by tinman (Curate) on Apr 21, 2001 at 22:11 UTC

    Rant mode enabled :o)

    I've dabbled with a lot of other languages myself, as I have no doubt that a lot of others who visit this site have... and I think that trying to say "one language is better than the other" is the equivalent of other oft-cited arguments such as "my OS is better than yours", "my editor is better than yours"... , even, "my car is better than yours" :o)

    Why do I use Perl ? look here and also here... I think the key to being a good programmer/ computer scientist is to objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the tool that you're looking at.. is Perl good in text processing ? sure.. so use it if you can, it will save you lots of time.. Some people had posted a node on writing threaded applications rwith Perl.. is Perl good for that ? no, not yet.. other languages are much further along threading than Perl is...

    I firmly believe in trying to find out the best possible tool to use for the job... if that's Perl (and you'd be surprised perhaps, at how many times Perl comes out on top of the language pile for various jobs ;o) then that's how it is, and I'm glad I know Perl so I can use it.. As neshura points out in her home node, an Advanced 3d gaming engine is not really what you would want to be writing in Perl ;o), so then, by all means use something else...

    So, I'd actually say, Ruby is good, I haven't played with it so much, but it has some nice features.. but one of the strengths of Perl is how easily it adapts strong features of other languages and makes them its own.. and Perl is evolving in its own right (a look at the Perl 6 RFCs should tell you this), so for a large subset of tasks, its just a matter of individual preference...

    If it makes your life easier to do it in Perl, don't break your neck and imbibe excess caffeine to do it in something else... :o) but sometimes it just comes down to individual preference as to what you use.. and well, just because someone *likes* the language, that doesn't make it better than anything else, right ? ;o)

    Rant mode off

      I totally agree with you on that one, tinman.

      Oddly enough, I tend to focus the genre of my applications around my favorite programming language. When I was a qbasic coder, I would write little games and such..

      Now, as a Perl coder I'm writing lots of CGIs, some Perl modules, and a few network servers (Let's face it, TCP servers are just too easy in Perl ;-) ..

      Of course, I'm also toying with the idea of using the SDL (graphics library with an interface to Perl, for those who don't know) to write graphics apps in Perl. I'm just not sure ;-)


Re (tilly) 1: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by tilly (Archbishop) on Apr 22, 2001 at 07:36 UTC
    While Matz wants people to like his language, *EVERYTHING* that I have seen him write indicates that he absolutely hates language wars and language advocacy. Lots of others engage in that, but he doesn't. His statements do quite the opposite in fact.

    As for the rest of what you say, well look on my home node. I am fairly confident that I know both Perl and Ruby pretty well (I know Perl better of course), and what I have found is that learning Ruby gave me insights into design tradeoffs in Perl that have helped me see Perl in a clearer light. I can, depending on my mood, give people darned good reasons for programming in either language over the other. But what I cannot do is say that learning new languages is a bad idea.

    But don't take my word on it. Instead let me point at a justly famous article written by Dominus on the topic...

Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by batmonk (Scribe) on Apr 21, 2001 at 21:58 UTC
    Every language has its advocates and its detractors, just like every operating system, sports team, religion, and political view. Try to ignore the hype and focus on the facts. Computer languages are tools. If you learn how to use each well, you'll be in a stronger position than those that advocate exclusivity.
(stephen) Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by stephen (Priest) on Apr 22, 2001 at 07:34 UTC

    Ruby is a neat language. I'd advise any Monks who had the time and inclination to buy the books and learn it. I haven't used it on any professional projects yet, but I do like what I've seen. Its proponents do prefer it to Perl. That's only to be expected-- after all, it was designed as an "improved Perl", among other things. Their intentions were good, and if there's some anti-Perl snobbery going on there, so be it. The language design of Ruby shows at least that the designers knew Perl, once upon a time.

    My response to all language warfare remains that any reasonable language will be transparent within a month of use, at most. (How many of us use QWERTY keyboards?) Also, any programming language powerful enough to be useful will also be flexible enough to allow obfuscated code. After a certain level, there are no good or bad programming languages, just good or bad programming habits. Does driving a BMW make someone a naturally better driver? If there were a perfect programming language out there, we'd probably use it instead of English. (Or whatever else your native language may be.)

    For me, the important aspects of a language have more to do with its support environment. Does Ruby have a PerlMonks? How advanced is its version of CPAN? My use of Perl has little to do with the language itself, and much more to do with facilities like CPAN and Perlmonks.

    So, to answer your question directly: I'm not worried about it. We all SHOULD learn as many different languages as we have time and inclination. In the end, we'll use whatever language fits a given problem, and for the forseeable future that language will frequently be Perl.


Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by Beatnik (Parson) on Apr 21, 2001 at 23:23 UTC
    Personally I started with Pascal back when Perl was still in version 4 and the WWW wasnt all THAT big. I didn't really had those discussions with different programmers, I tried a few new languages and liked most of them.

    I feel that there is no such thing as *THE BEST* language... There are some that come pretty close but none does all and has all.

    I recently stopped picking on PHP people that picked on Perl and actually looked into PHP. Now I know how to pick back with things that hurt :)

    ... Quidquid perl dictum sit, altum viditur.
Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by perigeeV (Hermit) on Apr 22, 2001 at 00:28 UTC

    The marketing endeavors of language advocates can be argued to be necessary to the growth of the language. Perl has its share, eh?

    My suggestion:
    Go ahead and learn some Ruby. Take any perceived insults in stride. Then go learn some C. Then Java, shell, C++, PHP, Python, ad infinitum. Soon chest-thumping advocistas start to sound, well, silly.

    Even if you never code in another language(but you will), you'll become a much better Perl coder.

      'ere 'ere...

      Dappling is fun, but until one realizes that one is utilizing a tool, that is, an instrument of productivity, one tends to be rather subjective.

      The "My * is better than your *" is a rather puerile endeavour based solely upon exposure and experience. I play with C, I play with PHP, and I play with Python... I work with Perl.

      cat caffiene > /dev/brain
Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by jepri (Parson) on Apr 22, 2001 at 06:18 UTC
    This may not be quite the place to post this, but I had a nightmare last night where a lecturer was telling me that the final exam would to to code a C app in the exam. I can remember begging him to choose any other language, even C++

    This dream was especially strange, since I don't do Computer Science.

    Having got that off my chest, I have dabbled in quite a few languages and appreciate the use for them all. And I have learnt to keep my mouth shut when I'm told that Coolgen or their mangled java implementation is the wave of the future. It really doesn't matter, although it is a bit worrying when they start talking about 'crushing the competition' and whatnot.

    And if you want to see attitude, you just have to find a C programmer and start a discussion about best languages. (Please no flames. I know many here are C coders, but you know about the people I'm talking about).

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: Experimenting with other programming languages...
by virtualsue (Vicar) on Apr 22, 2001 at 22:45 UTC
    There is probably not anything less worthy of your attention than a religious war over languages, OS, architectures, etc. That having been said, I have had a look at the Ruby web site and didn't think it was particularly inflammatory. The English language pages could use a going-over by a fluent English speaker, but I don't really have any complaints about it otherwise. In fact, I think I'll try the language. I haven't learned a new one for a while now.

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