On Tue, May 15, 2001 at 03:41:15PM -0600, Nathan Torkington wrote:
> Stephen P. Potter writes:
> > It seems to me that recently (the last two years or so) and
> > especially with 6, perl is no longer the SAs friend.  It is no
> > longer a fun litle language that can be easily used to hack out
> > solutions to problems.  It is now (becoming) a full featured
> > language, quite at the expense of its heritage.
> And yet there are a zillion programs from perl4 and earlier that still
> work in perl5.  In what way can you not use Perl to solve sysadmin
> problems or hack out fun solutions to problems?  I do those two things
> all the time.

I don't think backwards compatibility is the point here.

I picked up Camel 1 recently, and it was quite amazing how different
Perl4 *felt*.  It's like Perl was being pitched as a good language
for writing standalone programs or utilities of standalone programs
(the type a sysadmin would use).  It didn't feel like it was being
offered as the kind of language to write things like Class::Contract,
Inline::C, AxKit, SOAP::Lite or the all-singing-all-dancing CGI.pm.

Where are we now?  Perl5 is a bigger language and Perl6 is proposed
to be bigger still.  There are people who complain about Perl5 because
they "can't keep it all in their heads", unlike C, sh and Python
(and to some extent, Perl4).  

> > When we moved from 4 to 5, so people thought we should continue
> > developing 4 without all the "useless" new stuff, like OO and
> > threads and etc.  I wonder more and more if they weren't right.  I
> > wonder if as 6 develops if we shouldn't split off the old 4 syntax
> > and have two languages.
> If you want to do it, do it.  I vomit at the thought of a language
> without data structures or modules, though, and I wouldn't be
> surprised if others did too.

It's not so much that Perl shouldn't have data structures or modules.
I think what Stephen is saying (and he's not the only one) is that
the bare minimum amount of Perl you *must* know to be productive
is increasing.  Either that, or we're giving the impression that
it's increasing.  Many people don't want to get bogged down in how
the details of Unicode, upperclass level CS topics or Perl's unique
syntactical peculiarities to parse a damn log file (or find and
use a CPAN module that does it).


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