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Re: Perl Contempt in My Workplace

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop)
on Apr 27, 2021 at 06:14 UTC ( #11131749=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl Contempt in My Workplace

What's the best way to get thicker skin about Perl's unpopularity?
Apparently, it takes practice and training. :) Well, I recently stumbled upon a popular Ted talk, How not to take things personally by Frederik Imbo, in which Frederik claims he became a soccer referee for the express purpose of getting plenty of practice at being abused ... and to train his brain not to take it personally!

I also have a curious experience in the workplace I'd like to share. Around the time I wrote Unix shell versus Perl (2008), I successfully argued:

Notice that the above is arguing against Unix shell scripts, not specifically for Perl. Indeed, the same essential arguments apply equally to Python and Ruby as they do to Perl. However, I view Perl, Python and Ruby as essentially equivalent and, given our existing significant investment in Perl, don't see a strong business case for switching languages.
I had no trouble back then persuading folks to abandon their beloved Unix shell scripts and Windows .BAT files for Perl.

A few years later, I could feel the tide turning against Perl, especially from new hires. One fellow in particular was especially vocal about how much he loved Python and hated Perl. Going with the flow - admittedly partly because I'd learned Python by then and quite liked it - I kept him (and others) at bay by adjusting our coding standards to allow Python in addition to Perl. (To avoid total anarchy, Ruby and PHP were not permitted).

Curiously, after praising Python so loudly for so long, our Python lover never managed to write a single production Python script at work! Why? It turns out, though he "loved" Python, this seemed to be a "theoretical" love, for he was sorely lacking in real Python experience and skills. At least, I was shocked during code reviews because, after using Python in just a few golf games, I was pointing out embarrassing blunders in his Python code. No doubt my many years of Perl experience helped. You see, we were both hired primarily as C++ (not Perl/Python) developers, at least we wrote only C++ at our job interviews. Curiously, he seemed to lose interest in Python shortly after those early code reviews and stuck to C++ after that.

Update: it turns out he hated Perl based on appearances and hearsay because he'd never actually written a Perl program! (Stroustrup noticed similar bigotry towards C++ "twice as many people claimed to hate C++ as had ever written even a single small C++ program").

Since then, it's been impossible to halt the clamour for new programming languages at work, with modern UI tools often requiring Javascript (and derivatives) and modern DevOps tools often requiring JVM languages, such as Groovy, and Banal Configuration Languages (update: see also). As if that were not enough, the younger guys are also screaming for trendy new statically typed languages, such as Golang and Rust, seemingly unconcerned about the impracticalities of rewriting millions of lines of working C++ code or having to maintain organisational skill levels in so many different programming languages.

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Re^2: Perl Contempt in My Workplace
by bliako (Monsignor) on Apr 27, 2021 at 07:51 UTC
    a "theoretical" love

    Platonic? Seinfeld on Platonic Relationships (<< youtube warning)

    (In the hope of lightening things up a bit.)

    On the same light mood, I got a bit disappointed seing that you put Unix shell script in the same league as Windows BAT. Brrr, BAT is like Prometheus came and asked for Fire back or ... licensing rights. Bloody food? yikes!

    But seriously, isn't profit (and cost-effectiveness) the only factor governing a free-market company? A choice of programming language based purely on style will kill that company off. I guess I hold a theoretical and idealised picture of this process because inefficient companies survive for years.

    bw, bliako

      I got a bit disappointed seeing that you put Unix shell script in the same league as Windows BAT
      Agreed. (Sorry about that, chief :). I hope I can ease your disappointment by singling out Windows BAT as the worst programming language I've ever used. Perhaps only INTERCAL (and its infamous COME FROM statement) can compete with it. Thinking a bit more, Cobol and PHP are also right up there among languages I really hated in the bad old days.

      But seriously, isn't profit (and cost-effectiveness) the only factor governing a free-market company? A choice of programming language based purely on style will kill that company off.
      How commercial companies decide which programming language/s to use is something of a dark art. See also: In its early years, even a company as big as Google permitted just three languages for serious development work, namely C++, Java and Python. I remember an interview with Guido (can't find it now) where he was asked how come Google came to use Python in the first place and he said he didn't know! (and he was a Google employee at the time!).

        > ..Windows BAT as the worst programming language I've ever used.

        Finally I have understood the origin of the software quality level: BAT shit

        :)

        L*

        There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
        Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.
        How commercial companies decide which programming language/s to use is something of a dark art.

        Exactly my point. How can they survive in a free market? Shouldn't that "invisible hand" slap them and then an "invisible boot" kick them out of the market when their "black art" did not work?

        My guess: perhaps murking the waters, creating a nexus of dependencies and a web for trapping unsuspected clients (none-the-less: they are still idiots to fall for it) is a company strategy which works better (i.e. maximises profit) than choosing the right language(s) for the task and the right people to programme it. If that's true, then the free market, at least its computing sector, is seriously sick. But currently that field is the forefront and the spearhead of the economy.

        bw, bliako

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