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Rails is ok for now, but it's just a fad.

You gotta go with Perl. You'll thank me later.

It's very common to see these criticisms brought against Perl: it's line noise, a write-only language, only useful for scripting, dead and so on.

Thankfully, they are all unfounded.

While scripting has been the use case in the '90s, Perl is nowadays used for a variety of tasks, including complex desktop applications such as the Perl IDE (screenshots), web application frameworks (Catalyst), bioinformatics (extensively), content management systems (e.g. WebGUI), hierarchical wikis (MojoMojo) etc. and powers very large websites (IMDB, Magazines.com, BBC, Amazon.com, LiveJournal, Ticketmaster, Craigslist etc.).

More at http://www.wikivs.com/wiki/Perl_vs_Java#Common_criticisms

I founded a consumer internet start up in 2006. We use perl for everything. Haven't regretted it. The CPAN is just so awesome. Anything you want to do is already done. Over the last 3 years the perl community has gotten stronger and stronger with better tools, more modules, etc. Perl5 has regular release schedule and get faster every time.

That's my experience. Do whatever works for you.

That is actually really cool and I am glad, and a little surprised, to hear the perl community is still alive. I will re-evaluate my preconceptions.

You might as well suggest learning COBOL. Yes, it's lucrative maintaining all those old apps. But where's the satisfaction?

And really, companies are going to look at you strangely if you say "1 year Perl experience". They'll think "why on earth is someone learning Perl in 2009". No, go with one of the newer languages - python or ruby.

By your logic, we should not learn C because it's older than Perl and Python (why on earth is someone learning C in 2009).

No, C is different.

Look, Perl was "the" fad language back in the 90s. No-one is building anything new with it today. So if you learn Perl, expect to be hired to maintain others' crappy sites.

C is different because it's the foundation everything else is built on.

I'm not trying to dis Perl here or anything; I'm just trying to state the nature of reality as I see it, so lower your spear, friend ..

Perl has great potential. The reason Rails and other newer languages are getting attention is solely because they're new. Rails is easier to start programming in by people who'll never understand the difference between a constant and a variable in their life. Other languages are invisible to them.

Does that mean Rails is bad? No! Every language has its merits and demerits. It's easier for a programming to learn them all than fight for a single language.

Perl has its own strong points, just like any other language.

"No-one is building anything new with it today."

Generalizations. So easy to make, and so imprecise nevertheless.

> "why on earth is someone learning Perl in 2009"

Pick any of copious documentation, more jobs available than for Python and Ruby combined, availability on almost any platform you're likely to encounter, a testing culture unmatched by any other language of which I'm aware, and ~19,224 individual distributions freely available, installable, and usable from the CPAN.

Yeah, but what kind of jobs? Building something new?

Look, I am not attacking Perl. I am just stating the reality that in 2009, a Perl job will be maintenance. There is nothing new. This might be very insulting but that's the simple fact.

I know of about 4 big new projects happening in this city using Rails. I don't know about other cities but i assume it is similar. Learn Rails, right now, is my sincere advice, offered in good faith.

> Yeah, but what kind of jobs? Building something new?

Look at the job data. It's publicly available. This is how statistics work.

> I know of about 4 big new projects happening in this city using Rails. I don't know about other cities but i assume....

This neither how statistics work, nor facts.

Did you forget to paste in the statistics/facts that show me how wrong I am?

Start with Tim Bunce's "Perl Myths 2009":


Well, that seemed to have worked :)

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