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It's interesting that someone who professes loving to program in Perl refers to it as "PERL". People who refer to it in all-caps instantly give themselves away as outsiders to the language. It's like someone claiming to be a senior JAVA programmer, it's not an acronym.

Anyway we use Perl pretty much exclusively at Booking.com, and I'm pretty sure we're at least a couple of orders of magnitude bigger than the likes of Crowdtilt. There's a bunch of other interesting companies using Perl as well, a lot of them just don't make as much of a fuss about it as the companies using say Ruby.

Last I knew e.g. Morgan Stanley used it for most everything, including new developments, and it alone probably employs more programmers using it than the combined hobbyist contributor base of some newer emerging languages.

It's pretty hard to claim that Perl is "dead" and square that with the ongoing activity on the CPAN (https://metacpan.org/recent). This is not the kind of activity a dead language gets.

I think what a lot of people mix up is that just because something isn't as big as it was before doesn't mean it's dead.

C isn't as big relatively as it was in the 80s, Perl isn't relatively as ubiquitous for scripting and web development as it was in the 90s, but neither of those languages are dead.

If you look at the total amount of contributions / software written for any of the languages that aren't currently in the spotlight you'll most likely find that we're at the high water mark of the number of the amount of software written in them, and the number of people that have been employed to write software in them, just because the industry as a whole is getting bigger every day.

Maybe they're not bigger relatively compared to some other languages. But that has little bearing on how good they are when it comes to using them in your toolchain. If anything they're better than they've ever been before.




I'm sorry that is the most important thing you got from my comment, Avar. My spelling of Perl is certainly inconsistent. I've spelt it Perl, PERL and perl at various times. I was on my phone and being somewhat lazy and clumsy with my spelling. In that sense, I'm definitely not an insider. But I have been programming in Perl for 15ish years. I've built some fairly sizable projects in perl and I love using it. I'm also sad that it's in decline, and I think it's fairly obvious that it is.

The comments you've made about its usage do not address the comment from the article that I highlighted. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find senior engineers with a lot of Perl experience. I think it's unquestionable that there is a stronger desire in the market for Python and Ruby. Just consider Ycombinator. In my batch of 66, there were only 2 companies (mine included) which used Perl in any way. The vast majority used Python or Ruby. Does this not strike you as an important trend? This is not a rhetorical question, I mean it sincerely, since you also seem to be familiar with the language and love it too.


Don't worry, some people simply try attack others intentionally or unintentionally, it's not getting better here at HN


It's interesting that you and vijayboyapati focus on this one paragraph of a much longer reply, and that you perceive correcting somebody as attacking them. Indeed, that's something that hasn't gotten better over the years, anywhere.


>you perceive correcting somebody as attacking them.

Correcting someone on a pedantic issue outside their main point IS considered if not an attack, then surely quite rude, in regular conversation.

Even more so when you add: "People who refer to it in all-caps instantly give themselves away as outsiders to the language" trying to expose them as some kind of wannabe poser.

What the fuck does this guy knows about the parent's history and expertise in Perl?


It doesn't get better if you engage in it too.

I thought that the rest of avar's comment was a reasoned response to the claim that perl is "fading, however slowly, into obsolescence".


> People who refer to it in all-caps instantly give themselves away as outsiders to the language.

It's actually laid out in perlfaq1 ($ perldoc perlfaq1)

   What's the difference between "perl" and "Perl"?
       One bit. Oh, you weren't talking ASCII? :-) Larry now uses "Perl" to
       signify the language proper and "perl" the implementation of it, i.e.
       the current interpreter. Hence Tom's quip that "Nothing but perl can
       parse Perl."

       Before the first edition of Programming perl, people commonly referred
       to the language as "perl", and its name appeared that way in the title
       because it referred to the interpreter. In the book, Randal Schwartz
       capitalised the language's name to make it stand out better when
       typeset. This convention was adopted by the community, and the second
       edition became Programming Perl, using the capitalized version of the
       name to refer to the language.

       You may or may not choose to follow this usage. For example,
       parallelism means "awk and perl" and "Python and Perl" look good, while
       "awk and Perl" and "Python and perl" do not. But never write "PERL",
       because perl is not an acronym, apocryphal folklore and post-facto
       expansions notwithstanding.
> I think what a lot of people mix up is that just because something isn't as big as it was before doesn't mean it's dead.

I wonder if the Perl6 chasm tainted outsiders' perspectives on perl and the community


C isn't as big relatively as it was in the 80s, Perl isn't relatively as ubiquitous for scripting and web development as it was in the 90s, but neither of those languages are dead.

I think this is important, and worth spelling out. The entire pool of programmers is much larger, and while C may not have as much of a share of the total market, the total number of C developers is still probably larger than in the 80s. In that respect, it's hard to say C itself is in decline, just it's position of dominance.

I'm not sure the same can be said of Perl, as there has been a fairly common theme of former perlers moving on to Ruby or Python, but then again I've heard stories about people returning to Perl after a while due to the Perl renaissance (which is why you'll get a much different opinion from someone active in the community than outside; inside we see a lot of cool stuff happening).


> It's interesting that someone who professes loving to program in Perl refers to it as "PERL". People who refer to it in all-caps instantly give themselves away as outsiders to the language

Alternatively, they might just be a refugee from FORTRAN, the language which predates the invention of capital letters :)


PERL -- Practical Extraction and Report Language http://www.cs.cmu.edu/htbin/perl-man


That is an unofficial manpage for perl 4, a release that has been obsolete since 1994…


I always preferred Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister. Please note I say this lovingly, as a former Perl programmer.


Click on the BUGS link to get to http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/Web/People/rgs/pl-bugs.... which ends with the alternate definition.

Larry Wall has told me that the fact that he had two acronyms that he liked for it was one of the reasons that he chose the name Perl.


No, that is a backronym.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perl#Name


Yes, we know how to google here. We also know how to read more than a few sentences in a row, and understand context of statements.


> I think what a lot of people mix up is that just because something isn't as big as it was before doesn't mean it's dead.

Something that may cause confusion is "acceleration" vs "velocity". Languages like Ruby are still accelerating, Go is accelerating a lot, even Javascript is accelerating from an already massive user base. Languages like Perl and Tcl are still widely used, but their adaption has peaked and is not accelerating.


From where I'm standing Perl is declining quite rapidly in systems administration, which probably is their largest "userbase" nowadays.


"Morgan Stanley used it for most everything"

this is entirely incorrect. They've been running with a plethora of different languages for a while now: Scala in particular, but theres a lot of work in C for HFT stuff.


...and you have exposed yourself to be culturally ignorant. (East) Indian people often spell words in ALL CAPS to emphasize importance. I know this from past experience dealing with (East) Indian people in a professional software development environment for over 10 years. So I believe that was what the original author intended.

p.s. He is also a former Google Engineer who was part of the small team that built GOOGLE NEWS. http://dealupa.com/about


>It's interesting that someone who professes loving to program in Perl refers to it as "PERL". People who refer to it in all-caps instantly give themselves away as outsiders to the language. It's like someone claiming to be a senior JAVA programmer, it's not an acronym.

Or some people just don't fucking care about "standard spellings" and prefer their own.


Exactly. I worked for a magazine that insisted on their company name be stylised in all caps (it was not a acronym).

If you look at a old JAVA/Java logo it actually is stylised as JAVA.

In fact my first JAVA textbook stylised it in all caps also so ever since I just copied that.

Ps. I dont actually give a shit about JAVA or what anyone thinks it says about my skills because of the way I write it


Perl isn't dead, I use it every day for important stuff. But it is true, people younger than say 32 are not very likely to know Perl well, most of them prefer python


>Perl isn't dead, I use it every day for important stuff. But it is true, people younger than say 32 are not very likely to know Perl well, most of them prefer python

That's what "dead" in casual discussion means though.

Because in the stricter sense that "someone, somewhere is using it", even SNOBOL is not dead.


Something is "dead" when the youth no longer care about it? Get off my lawn.


Yes, joking aside, it means it's target use demographic is on the go (to the great hackathon in the sky).


The target demographic of a computer language is people who program computers. Python is as old as Perl. Ruby, at a spry 20, is only five years younger than Perl. Java is pushing 20 and JavaScript is not far behind.

Are you suggesting that when Mats created Ruby, he was thinking to himself, "I can't wait for the all the first graders to grow up and use my language?"

I rather think that the creators of computer languages think in terms of present, rather than future computer programmers, and not in terms of "My language will make all the Beliebers want to become software engineers."




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