FAQ
Hi all,

in case you have not read Su-Shee's
http://blogs.perl.org/users/su-shee/2011/01/and-suddenly-youre-hip.html , you
should because she gives many useful insights there. One thing she says there
is that Vim became popular among the "hipsters" because using it was marketed
as relatively elite and:

<<<
Selling the steep learning curve as something what earns you Rockstar- and
Ninja-credit in your community (I'm assuming you're familiar with all this
Rockstar/Ninja meme...)
>>>

Now, a lot of us have tried to market Perl 5 as a language that is "easy to
learn" and "not so hard" and "not exactly Rocket science", but maybe we should
admit that while one can master a small subset of it pretty quickly, it is
still positively huge and has many dark corners and lots of small gotchas. So
in essence saying something like "Perl - do you have the brains for it?"
(possibly phrased better).

We can think of many more slogans like that, but I mean that just like Vim
takes some time to get used to, at least to people who are used to
Windows/KDE/GNOME or even Mac OS X editors (though you can be productive with
a very small subset) and because mastering eventually is very rewarding,
because one feels much more productive, so is Perl in essence: has a lot of
visual clutter at first, and has a steep learning curve, but you get to know
it.

A Python (and other things) programmer I talked with once told me: "I'm not
smart enough to write Perl.". He is a Technion graduate with Computer Science
with excellent written Hebrew and written English, and is certainly very
intelligent and smart (and I've known some less smart Perl programmers), but
he meant was that he didn't give the initial mental effort to understand the
Perl mentality. That was many years ago, and I kinda dismissed it, even though
I should have realised it was a good idea.

I can think of several downsides to this, too, like intimidating people who
think they are stupid than they really are and really underestimate
themselves. Like many "post-Feminist" (if that's the term) women who want to
stay at home and be supported by their husbands, despite being very
intelligent.

So I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but I think a defensive view that "Perl
is not rocket science" or "Perl is not that hard." may be even worse.

Maybe we should say something like "Perl - there's more than one way to do it.
Can you find them all?" or "Perl - TIMTOWTDY - how many you can find?" or
something.

So what are your thoughts about it?

Regards,

Shlomi Fish

P.S: after offering a bounty to create a scripting frontend (similar to awk or
perl's -e with the various flags) for Clojure, I got many comments and it
seems that the Clojure community has a very positive and healthy attitude
(which is more than I can say for Common Lisp, Scheme or even Ruby and Python
which seem to suffer from a lot of "penis envy" in various different ways.).
You can see the thread here:

*
http://groups.google.com/group/clojure/browse_thread/thread/e7cedcb1e8dbb6dd/a0488f9fa79e3989

One thing I was impressed from that instead of telling me "How many one-liners
you write per-day" or "there's no such thing as throwaway code" or "Paul
Graham/Larry Wall/MJD/whoever suck", they said "it would be a great idea but
we think Clojure is the wrong tool for the job, due to the initial startup
time of the JVM".

Similarly, I think we should admit that threads can often be a great idea, but
that they are not easy to utilise in Perl 5, due to its design, and that if
you feel you must use threads, you should look into a different technology.
I.e: lose the negative attitude.

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
-- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .

Search Discussions

  • Xaero at Mar 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm
    I would agree that there could be many people who try to learn and do
    difficult tasks. I guess when I started learning Perl that was one of
    the things at the back of my mind. However it needs to be seen how
    many people have an affinity to intellectual challenges that Perl has
    to offer.

    As you rightly said it could work the other way around too that people
    who might have learnt Perl would pick something else because they
    think they are not smart enought but the bigger problem, in my
    opinion, is people who seek the "coolness quotient" and then end up
    frustated not being able to learn it sufficiently to do something
    productive.

    I thinks Pythons USP is it's argument of being "quick" to learn with
    many saying that you could learn it in a week. Someone who wants to
    learn a language quickly is someone who doesn't want to spend time
    learning and get to doing. I feel such a person will stick to the
    programming language they already know and won't even think about
    learning anything else.

    I haven't seen any stats but have a feeling that there are more
    newcomers to Python and Ruby that there are to Perl because of this
    reason, again I would like to stress on this point that this is my
    opinion and I could be wrong. Need to test this.

    Regards,
    Xaero.
    On Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Shlomi Fish wrote:
    Hi all,

    in case you have not read Su-Shee's
    http://blogs.perl.org/users/su-shee/2011/01/and-suddenly-youre-hip.html , you
    should because she gives many useful insights there. One thing she says there
    is that Vim became popular among the "hipsters" because using it was marketed
    as relatively elite and:

    <<<
    Selling the steep learning curve as something what earns you Rockstar- and
    Ninja-credit in your community (I'm assuming you're familiar with all this
    Rockstar/Ninja meme...)
    Now, a lot of us have tried to market Perl 5 as a language that is "easy to
    learn" and "not so hard" and "not exactly Rocket science", but maybe we should
    admit that while one can master a small subset of it pretty quickly, it is
    still positively huge and has many dark corners and lots of small gotchas. So
    in essence saying something like "Perl - do you have the brains for it?"
    (possibly phrased better).

    We can think of many more slogans like that, but I mean that just like Vim
    takes some time to get used to, at least to people who are used to
    Windows/KDE/GNOME or even Mac OS X editors (though you can be productive with
    a very small subset) and because mastering eventually is very rewarding,
    because one feels much more productive, so is Perl in essence: has a lot of
    visual clutter at first, and has a steep learning curve, but you get to know
    it.

    A Python (and other things) programmer I talked with once told me: "I'm not
    smart enough to write Perl.". He is a Technion graduate with Computer Science
    with excellent written Hebrew and written English, and is certainly very
    intelligent and smart (and I've known some less smart Perl programmers), but
    he meant was that he didn't give the initial mental effort to understand the
    Perl mentality. That was many years ago, and I kinda dismissed it, even though
    I should have realised it was a good idea.

    I can think of several downsides to this, too, like intimidating people who
    think they are stupid than they really are and really underestimate
    themselves. Like many "post-Feminist" (if that's the term) women who want to
    stay at home and be supported by their husbands, despite being very
    intelligent.

    So I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but I think a defensive view that "Perl
    is not rocket science" or "Perl is not that hard." may be even worse.

    Maybe we should say something like "Perl - there's more than one way to do it.
    Can you find them all?" or "Perl - TIMTOWTDY - how many you can find?" or
    something.

    So what are your thoughts about it?

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    P.S: after offering a bounty to create a scripting frontend (similar to awk or
    perl's -e with the various flags) for Clojure, I got many comments and it
    seems that the Clojure community has a very positive and healthy attitude
    (which is more than I can say for Common Lisp, Scheme or even Ruby and Python
    which seem to suffer from a lot of "penis envy" in various different ways.).
    You can see the thread here:

    *
    http://groups.google.com/group/clojure/browse_thread/thread/e7cedcb1e8dbb6dd/a0488f9fa79e3989

    One thing I was impressed from that instead of telling me "How many one-liners
    you write per-day" or "there's no such thing as throwaway code" or "Paul
    Graham/Larry Wall/MJD/whoever suck", they said "it would be a great idea but
    we think Clojure is the wrong tool for the job, due to the initial startup
    time of the JVM".

    Similarly, I think we should admit that threads can often be a great idea, but
    that they are not easy to utilise in Perl 5, due to its design, and that if
    you feel you must use threads, you should look into a different technology.
    I.e: lose the negative attitude.

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

    Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
    -- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
  • Louis-Philippe at Mar 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm
    Some stand on the idea that learning a new language is worth it these days
    if it brings you to new programming paradigms and/or new possibilities. In
    that light, I see Bash scripters could be seduced by Perl, but the gang in
    the Cool-Factor-Zone/Ruby/Python are mostly inclined to move toward Erlang,
    Scala, Clojure, Haskell, Objective-C, Javascript... not Perl, because as
    flexible and great as Perl can be it doesn't offer much new advantages to
    these peoples. I think Perl should learn to get back to enviable position
    by looking at the programming language ecosystem in general and ask itself
    where it is positionned in this jungle and what is it's unique offer. IMHO
    one good cousin to compare to is Lua... there is not much Cool-Factor in
    there, but it offer unique features: is really small, embedable,
    extendable, fast (and by far the fastest), compilable to bytecode, and else.
    Lua is a growing star, not because it has a special personality, like Perl,
    but because it has features... Not that personality is bad, look at Ruby
    and Python, both have strong personalities, but it's only a small fraction
    of makes these killer languages. Perl need to know its goal and perfect it.
    Some of you might think the goal is known and done, but think again, Perl
    could shine brighter for what it is if it knew pragmatically what it's
    destiny is.

    no offenses,
    only my 2 cents,

    L-P

    2011/3/8 Xaero <groundxaero@gmail.com>
    I would agree that there could be many people who try to learn and do
    difficult tasks. I guess when I started learning Perl that was one of
    the things at the back of my mind. However it needs to be seen how
    many people have an affinity to intellectual challenges that Perl has
    to offer.

    As you rightly said it could work the other way around too that people
    who might have learnt Perl would pick something else because they
    think they are not smart enought but the bigger problem, in my
    opinion, is people who seek the "coolness quotient" and then end up
    frustated not being able to learn it sufficiently to do something
    productive.

    I thinks Pythons USP is it's argument of being "quick" to learn with
    many saying that you could learn it in a week. Someone who wants to
    learn a language quickly is someone who doesn't want to spend time
    learning and get to doing. I feel such a person will stick to the
    programming language they already know and won't even think about
    learning anything else.

    I haven't seen any stats but have a feeling that there are more
    newcomers to Python and Ruby that there are to Perl because of this
    reason, again I would like to stress on this point that this is my
    opinion and I could be wrong. Need to test this.

    Regards,
    Xaero.
    On Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Shlomi Fish wrote:
    Hi all,

    in case you have not read Su-Shee's
    http://blogs.perl.org/users/su-shee/2011/01/and-suddenly-youre-hip.html, you
    should because she gives many useful insights there. One thing she says there
    is that Vim became popular among the "hipsters" because using it was marketed
    as relatively elite and:

    <<<
    Selling the steep learning curve as something what earns you Rockstar- and
    Ninja-credit in your community (I'm assuming you're familiar with all this
    Rockstar/Ninja meme...)
    Now, a lot of us have tried to market Perl 5 as a language that is "easy to
    learn" and "not so hard" and "not exactly Rocket science", but maybe we should
    admit that while one can master a small subset of it pretty quickly, it is
    still positively huge and has many dark corners and lots of small
    gotchas. So
    in essence saying something like "Perl - do you have the brains for it?"
    (possibly phrased better).

    We can think of many more slogans like that, but I mean that just like Vim
    takes some time to get used to, at least to people who are used to
    Windows/KDE/GNOME or even Mac OS X editors (though you can be productive with
    a very small subset) and because mastering eventually is very rewarding,
    because one feels much more productive, so is Perl in essence: has a lot of
    visual clutter at first, and has a steep learning curve, but you get to know
    it.

    A Python (and other things) programmer I talked with once told me: "I'm not
    smart enough to write Perl.". He is a Technion graduate with Computer Science
    with excellent written Hebrew and written English, and is certainly very
    intelligent and smart (and I've known some less smart Perl programmers), but
    he meant was that he didn't give the initial mental effort to understand the
    Perl mentality. That was many years ago, and I kinda dismissed it, even though
    I should have realised it was a good idea.

    I can think of several downsides to this, too, like intimidating people who
    think they are stupid than they really are and really underestimate
    themselves. Like many "post-Feminist" (if that's the term) women who want to
    stay at home and be supported by their husbands, despite being very
    intelligent.

    So I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but I think a defensive view that "Perl
    is not rocket science" or "Perl is not that hard." may be even worse.

    Maybe we should say something like "Perl - there's more than one way to do it.
    Can you find them all?" or "Perl - TIMTOWTDY - how many you can find?" or
    something.

    So what are your thoughts about it?

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    P.S: after offering a bounty to create a scripting frontend (similar to awk or
    perl's -e with the various flags) for Clojure, I got many comments and it
    seems that the Clojure community has a very positive and healthy attitude
    (which is more than I can say for Common Lisp, Scheme or even Ruby and Python
    which seem to suffer from a lot of "penis envy" in various different ways.).
    You can see the thread here:

    *
    http://groups.google.com/group/clojure/browse_thread/thread/e7cedcb1e8dbb6dd/a0488f9fa79e3989
    One thing I was impressed from that instead of telling me "How many
    one-liners
    you write per-day" or "there's no such thing as throwaway code" or "Paul
    Graham/Larry Wall/MJD/whoever suck", they said "it would be a great idea but
    we think Clojure is the wrong tool for the job, due to the initial startup
    time of the JVM".

    Similarly, I think we should admit that threads can often be a great idea, but
    that they are not easy to utilise in Perl 5, due to its design, and that if
    you feel you must use threads, you should look into a different
    technology.
    I.e: lose the negative attitude.

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

    Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
    -- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply.
  • Shlomi Fish at Mar 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    On Tuesday 08 Mar 2011 17:41:19 Louis-Philippe wrote:
    Some stand on the idea that learning a new language is worth it these days
    if it brings you to new programming paradigms and/or new possibilities. In
    that light, I see Bash scripters could be seduced by Perl, but the gang in
    the Cool-Factor-Zone/Ruby/Python are mostly inclined to move toward Erlang,
    Scala, Clojure, Haskell, Objective-C, Javascript... not Perl, because as
    flexible and great as Perl can be it doesn't offer much new advantages to
    these peoples.
    Well, one thing I like about Perl is the fact that lists are not references:

    http://use.perl.org/~Shlomi+Fish/journal/36493

    It allows for some nice tricks. I also like that in Perl operators are not
    ambiguous (i.e: we have ".", "+" and "," which are the same operator in Python
    and other languages). I also prefer Perl's Moose to Ruby's built-in OOP which
    seems much less powerful and less flexible (though Ruby still has a cleaner
    syntax). These may not be such earth-shuttering advantages.

    Naturally, Perl people often say they stay in Perl due to CPAN, which is very
    comprehensive and which has very good infrastructure. It's hard to know how
    many people will want to write a program that incorporates many different use-
    cases, that is more often than not, very possible using CPAN (so-called
    "mashups" - only not necessarily web-based ones). Some people told me that
    most programmers hate the "There is more than one way to do it" philosophy of
    Perl.

    And naturally, we may need to just create usable CMSes similar to WordPress or
    Drupal which people can install on their servers, and it also seems I was
    unhappy with all the web-devel frameworks I've tried (with Catalyst, that is
    the king of the hill being the complex and idiosyncratic framework that it
    is.)
    I think Perl should learn to get back to enviable position
    by looking at the programming language ecosystem in general and ask itself
    where it is positionned in this jungle and what is it's unique offer. IMHO
    one good cousin to compare to is Lua... there is not much Cool-Factor in
    there, but it offer unique features: is really small, embedable,
    extendable, fast (and by far the fastest), compilable to bytecode, and
    else. Lua is a growing star, not because it has a special personality,
    like Perl, but because it has features... Not that personality is bad,
    look at Ruby and Python, both have strong personalities, but it's only a
    small fraction of makes these killer languages. Perl need to know its
    goal and perfect it. Some of you might think the goal is known and done,
    but think again, Perl could shine brighter for what it is if it knew
    pragmatically what it's destiny is.
    Right. Perl 6 has a lot to offer because as opposed to Ruby and Python which
    are an incremental step forward to Perl 5 (and sometimes a few small steps
    backward), Perl 6 is a huge step forward from all of them. Many of the Perl 6
    features have been back-ported to perl 5 , and naturally while Rakudo is
    quite usable , it's still kinda slow, buggy, and very incomplete. I'm sure
    people are working on it, so it will be resolved at a point. Larry Wall said
    that the Perl 6 effort was "The second system effect done right.", and it's
    possible some second system effect projects in the past have proved to be
    popular.

    Well, Perl 6 does not aim to completely replace Perl 5 and perl5 and these
    languages will continue to evolve and be enhanced, but I still think Perl 6
    should have been called differently (though it's too late to change now).

    Maybe we should ask ourselves which killer feature or features we'd like to
    backport from Perl 6 and implement it in perl5.

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    P.S: a Python (and formerly Perl 4 and many other languages, down to an early
    version of Fortran) programmer I've talked with who had to study Objective-C
    to work on a Mac project said he thinks that Rubyists won't like ObjC because
    it's much less expressive and powerful than most dynamic languages. Some
    people have nicknamed Objective C "Objectionable C" or "Subjective C" or
    whatever.

    The main selling point of ObjC is the fact that it is the only usable language
    that can be used to write applications for the iPhone. However, while many
    companies would like to have an iPhone app just so they'll have an iPhone app
    that people would like (i.e: a bank or a site, or whatever), most of the
    developers who develop iPhone apps and wish to make money out of them have to
    pass through many hoops in the app store, buy a costly Macintosh computer to
    develop for it, and usually end up selling very few copies to be able to make
    a living from. In comparison to the Android, whose development environment is
    based on Eclipse, and which has a portable emulator, and which Google does not
    regular the App Store, the iPhone application developers are much unhappier,
    and I suspect it will eventually backfire at Apple.

    So I think many of the Ruby/Python or even Perl 5 crowd would prefer to learn
    C or even C++, which have far bigger utility and enlightenment than only ObjC.
    (Though, ObjC is a small extension over C and similar in its intentions to
    C++, but it does it very differently.)

    BTW, http://c-begin.wikia.com/ was recently started as the C, C++ (and
    possibly also ObjC) equivalent to http://perl-begin.org/ and being a wiki, you
    are all encouraged to contribute.

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Funny Anti-Terrorism Story - http://shlom.in/enemy

    Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
    -- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
  • Dave Cross at Mar 9, 2011 at 6:50 am

    On 03/08/2011 09:11 AM, Shlomi Fish wrote:
    Now, a lot of us have tried to market Perl 5 as a language that is "easy to
    learn" and "not so hard" and "not exactly Rocket science", but maybe we should
    admit that while one can master a small subset of it pretty quickly, it is
    still positively huge and has many dark corners and lots of small gotchas. So
    in essence saying something like "Perl - do you have the brains for it?"
    (possibly phrased better).
    Reminds me of a lightning talk I was giving ten years ago :-)

    "Why Perl Advocacy is a Bad Idea"

    http://mag-sol.com/talks/advocacy.html

    Not to be taken entirely seriously.

    Dave...

    --
    Dave Cross :: dave@dave.org.uk
    http://dave.org.uk/
    @davorg

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