The world of Perl


Perl is a remarkable language. It is, in my opinion, the most successful modular programming environment to date. In fact, Perl modules are the closest thing to the fabled " Software ICs" [1] that the software world has seen. There are many reasons for this, one of the most important being that there is a centralized, coordinated module repository, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN), which reduces the amount of energy wasted on competing, incompatible implementations of functionality (see Appendix B, "Resources").

[1] The term coined by Brad Cox and Lamar Ledbetter in their classic June 1985 Byte article of the same name .

Perl has a minimalistic but sufficient modular and object-oriented programming framework. The lack of extensive access control features in the language makes it possible to write code with unusual characteristics in a natural, succinct form. It seems to be a natural law of software that the most useful features are also the ones that fit existing frameworks most poorly. I believe that Perl's skeletal approach to "rules and regulations" effectively subverts this law.

Perl provides excellent cross-platform compatibility. It excels as a systems administration scripting tool on Unix because it hides the differences between different versions of Unix to the greatest extent possible. Can you write cross-platform shell scripts? Yes, but with extreme difficulty. Most mere mortals should not attempt such things. Can you write cross-platform Perl scripts? Yes, easily. Perl also ports reasonably well between its Unix birthplace and other platforms, such as the Macintosh, Windows 9x, and Windows NT.

As a Perl programmer, you have some of the best support in the world. You have complete access to the source code for all the modules you use, as well as the complete source code to the language itself. If picking through the code for bugs isn't your speed, you have on-line support available via USENET on the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If free support isn't your style, you can also buy commercial support.

Finally, you have a language that dares to be different. In a day and time when most programming languages are designed to be rigorous , Perl is fluid. At its best, in the presence of several alternative interpretations, Perl does what you mean . A scary thought, perhaps, but I believe it is an indication of true progress in computing, something that reaches beyond mere cycles, disk space, and RAM.



Effective Perl Programming. Writing Better Programs with Perl
Effective Perl Programming: Writing Better Programs with Perl
ISBN: 0201419750
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 1996
Pages: 116

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