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There aren't many people using Perl for web applications, but there's lot of other (and in my opinion, more rewarding) work being done in it: email security, bio-informatics, "devops" (infrastructure as code) tooling. In addition, from what I know, Amazon still uses it extensively. Generally, however, these jobs (e.g., my last one in an email security company) usually combine Perl and C/C++ rather than being purely in Perl.

That being said, Ruby is close enough to Perl to where it would not be difficult for you to pick it up and in all likelihood you'll actually enjoy it (especially if you're been writing clean, object oriented Perl). If there's a Ruby-based job that interests you, go for it.

I personally, "moved on" (for non-trivial personal projects) onto Scala and OCaml: I actually like static typing (when there's type inference to reduce verbosity) and the mixed paradigms and "terse syntax" in these languages appeal to my Perl hacker DNA. The fact they're also blazingly fast means I don't have to "go down" to C++ (really, not all that hard in Perl with XS): the scalability of these languages (being suitable to whole variety of tasks, from simple scripts, to full systems) also appeals to me.




My experience is nearly the opposite, Modern Perl for me is a wonderful language to write web applications in. Nearly everybody I speak with regularly is developing some web based application in Perl. Then again thats what I do for a living so my glasses are definitely rose tinted.

Sites like the BBC iPlayer system, and Omni Hotel's booking application are large public examples of Perl applications, Magazines.com is another. At the smaller end of the fence I worked on ParkingMobility.com, a REST system written in Perl with multi-platform clients (including iPhone), was written using Catalyst and the KiokuDB Object Persistence engine.

You have moved on, but so has Perl. Moose for example has had heavy influences from OCaml, Scala, CLOS, Smalltalk, and others. It provides anywhere from "some" (Moose has Type Constraints but not inferencing for example) to much if not more (Moose's implementation of Traits can provide state unlike Scala's from what I know) of the features of other languages.

The rivalry between Perl5 and Perl6 means that more and more of these features will be expressed. For example, I've seen some proof of concept code for implementing Moose's type system at the core language level (my Int $i = 'One'; # boom!). With a properly motivated hacker and the right direction this could turn into an excellent dynamic type system, or even a semi-static system similar to the one Perl6 is implementing. Having this kind of a type system makes lot of Web programming tasks much simpler to implement (and eliminates a whole range of security holes).

The current momentum in the community has me very excited for the future of Perl.


I'm headed this way myself. For anything more complicated than a toss-off script I start with Scala now.




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