On Wednesday 16 May 2001 15:32, Nathan Torkington wrote:
> Bryan C. Warnock writes:
> > I think the biggest fear isn't that Perl is going to grow out of its
> > niche, but that it's going to outgrow it. It's great that Perl has been
> > able to expand to be so many things to so many people, but not at the
> > expense of forgetting its roots - of the whole Right Tool / Right Job
> > that it came from.
> In that case, how exactly has it forgotten its roots? I mean, in what
> way is it not as useful as it was before?
Sorry. I didn't mean to imply that it had, only that it seems the largest
fears center around that it will.
Certainly, we are doing our best to keep Perl Perl. But in the process of
overruning enemy camps, are we leaving our own camp unguarded?
One of the nice things about early Perl 5 (I'm sorry - I was crawling
through mud for most of Perl 4) is that Perl was an additive language. You
had simple concepts to accomplish simple tasks. As the tasks got more
complex, you could add more complex concepts onto your simple knowledge base
to accomplish them.
Of course, when writing RFCs, no one (except for Keep Perl Perl) really
addressed what is right with Perl, or Why Things Were Good. People
addressed ways that Perl *could* be improved, with the hopes that Larry
would be able to differentiate between 'what would make a better language',
and 'what would make Perl better'. Those are two orthogonal concepts, when
you think about it.
So, in reading the RFCs, and in discussions centered around make a better
language, Perl - at least, the old, simple Perl - has seemingly become a
subtractive language. ("Everything's an object, use warnings and strict by
default", etc, etc) Perl would have a much higher barrier to entry for what
used to be a simple task. What previously required the bare minimum of Perl
knowledge to do, would now require more complex conceptual issues, if only
to determine what extraneous features can be removed or hidden, and how to
Bryan C. Warnock