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Re: That which is better left unsed: Removing language digressions

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Adam Turoff
May 14, 2003 07:22
Re: That which is better left unsed: Removing language digressions
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On Tue, May 13, 2003 at 11:23:54PM -0700, Gurusamy Sarathy wrote:
> On Wed, 14 May 2003 00:55:06 CDT, Dave Rolsky wrote:
> >References to perltrap should be enough for people coming from a strong
> >sed/awk/C/Befunge background, but for others, especially people learning
> >Perl as a first language, or second after PHP/Python/Javascript/VB/etc.,
> >they are just distracting.
> Not convinced.  IMHO, the primary job of the Perl reference
> documentation is to describe the language fully and adequately.

On the whole, yes.  But the question remains: is this the *best* place
to show the parallels between Perl/sed/awk?  I agree with Schwern; I 
suspect the vast majority of people reading perlsyn today are coming
across sed and awk for the first time *via* perlsyn.  Funny, that.  :-)

> This includes discussion of the motivation behind language
> features, their history and their lineage.  Second-guessing
> whether a particular class of user may or may not find such
> information distracting is not on the agenda.
> If you want to help the people who don't know any of the languages
> that perl borrowed heavily from, why not write separate primers
> or tutorials that do just that?  Why "dumb down" the reference
> documentation?

And lead them away from perlsyn?  Or duplicate perlsyn.pod with

> And I'd say perltrap is focussed on pitfalls, not rationale for
> language features.  The latter belong right where the language
> features are being introduced.

Perltrap is the wrong place.  But the first two paragraphs of perlsyn are
also wrong, for different reasons.  Moving the sed and awk references into
a '=head2 Historical Influences' or '=head2 Relationship to Sed and Awk'
within perlsyn provides relevant details to those who care without
confusing people who think sed and awk are marsupials.

Based on the title alone, I'd expect perlsyn to talk about Perl syntax,
not increasingly obscure little languages invented at Bell Labs.


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