Gary Kline wrote:

I am NOT trying to start any kind of flame debate, but would like to know what real advantage perl has over the newer
        so-called all-in-one language, ch.   (Other than the obvious
        fact that there are literally billions of lines of perl existant.)
I don't know ch from Adam so can't comment on that but really, the questions what are you trying to do? Is this for a pet programming project? For work? Maintained just by you? By others? What's your programming experience?

Perl has the advantage that it is ubiquitous and has loads of library modules at CPAN. There are reasonable(*) books about it and you should never be short of someone who can read perl if your software needs maintaining. Perl has the disadvantage that it's a cobbled together, vile little language that teaches bad programming habits(**) and has the worst thread support ever. I could go on with it's flaws, but as someone who has to program in it daily, suffice to say that I loathe it. Perl is the new Basic.

There are plenty of more modern interpreted languages which have much better design (they *have* a design which is one up from Perl). With the availability of rpms, ports, package systems, and downloadable binaries for Windows, installing most of them should be easy-peasy. They'll encourage you to write better programs; most have a growing collection of library software and may even have decent documentation. My own fave would be python ( and I suspect ruby of being worth a look but just never had the time.

Just my $2.00 (hey, it's a good opinion :-))


(*) The so-called "Camel book" ("Programming Perl" from O'Reilly), at least in the edition I have, is the second worst programming book I have ever read. Poorly organised, poorly indexed, missing details and full of poor examples. "Advanced Perl Programming", also O'Reilly, is much better but does assume you know the basics and isn't really a reference book.

(**) If you do start learning Perl, the this is my one piece of advice. Start every script and module with "use strict". It catches the worst mistakes that you might make and at least forces a small amount of decent programming on you.

(**) If you do start programming in Perl, then this is my other one piece of advice. Start your scripts with "/usr/bin/env perl -w" which catches some of the other worst mistakes, but also whinges on about things that aren't actually a problem. (OK, that has windows portability problems; tough; install Cygwin :-)).

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