Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Perl 6 Design Philosophy
started 6/28/2003; 2:19:36 AM - last post 7/3/2003; 1:29:23 PM
Ehud Lamm - Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
6/28/2003; 2:19:36 AM (reads: 1911, responses: 8)
Perl 6 Design Philosophy
Perl 6 has a unique set of influences. It has deep roots in Unix and the children of Unix, which gives it a strong emphasis on utility and practicality. It's grounded in the academic pursuits of computer science and software engineering, which gives it a desire to solve problems the right way, not just the most expedient way. It's heavily steeped in the traditions of linguistics and anthropology, which gives it the goal of comfortable adaptation to human use. These influences and others like them define the shape of Perl and what it will become.

I am sure people here will find a lot things in this piece to be worth arguing about ...

Posted to general by Ehud Lamm on 6/28/03; 2:23:21 AM

Marc Hamann - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
6/28/2003; 3:31:23 PM (reads: 853, responses: 5)
Some of the structural properties that this article attributes to natural languages and Perl show a lack of understanding of real linguistic principles.

However they do touch on one way that programming languages ARE like real languages: social utility. Often the biggest feature of a language is not the strucure of the language, but who else speaks it.

Ehud Lamm - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
6/28/2003; 11:57:44 PM (reads: 833, responses: 4)
Sure. We are great fans of sociolinguistics over here...

Marc Hamann - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/2/2003; 6:34:26 PM (reads: 704, responses: 3)
I take it that is sarcasm? (You really must invest in that bell... ;-) )

I was hoping to get a rise out of the "the most popular languages are crap" crowd. ;-)

Ehud Lamm - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/3/2003; 12:43:35 AM (reads: 723, responses: 0)
Hey! I was trying to be serious ;-)

Dan - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/3/2003; 5:51:52 AM (reads: 697, responses: 1)
Then you needed to try that with a different language, since you'll hit those folks' "perl is intrinsically crap" button first

Ehud Lamm - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/3/2003; 5:58:49 AM (reads: 720, responses: 0)
That's also a social issue, of course.

Marc Hamann - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/3/2003; 7:34:36 AM (reads: 615, responses: 1)
Well then it does give us a serious topic then: what features, both social and language design, contribute to Perl's popularity with techies at large and unpopularity with PLT wonks?

I first read the Camel book in 1996, and thought it was one of the most entertaining computer books I had ever read. I had my reservations about the language, but it did seem to fill a niche.

Over the years, I have found that Perl just doesn't work for me in practice. I have tended to use a number of different programming languages, and so I need a language I'm going to use for "quick and dirty" tasks to be easy to "reload in to volatile memory".

As a specific language design feature, "there's more than one way to do it" seems to make it hard for me to get back into the Perl zen when the need arises. I found for many years that writing the simplest Perl script always took me about 10 times longer to write than I expected, since my first instinct on how to proceed never meshed with any of Perl's "ways", and the Camel book, though entertaining, is not that well organized.

On the social side, my major social bias, then and now, was that it seemed to appeal to non-developers the most, people who didn't value a more disciplined approach to programming.

However, I must confess I see some of the same spirit in Python, and in spite of this, many well respected PL experts and developers have an affinity for it.

So what does Python have that Perl doesn't (other than a simpler and more consistent syntax)?

Ehud Lamm - Re: Perl 6 Design Philosophy  blueArrow
7/3/2003; 1:29:23 PM (reads: 636, responses: 0)
Perhaps part of the reason is that the Python community seems a bit more receptive to outside influences.