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Re: who are newcomers to Perl? RE: Announcing Perl 7

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From:
=?UTF-8?Q?Andr=c3=a9_Warnier_=28tomcat/perl=29?=
Date:
June 30, 2020 15:19
Subject:
Re: who are newcomers to Perl? RE: Announcing Perl 7
Message ID:
acd7f80e-7422-2846-ed10-e0cec2fb805a@ice-sa.com
To add one to the response below :
I came to perl more than 20 years ago, and selected it then because it was pretty much the 
only real programming language then which allowed us to create the applications we needed 
*and run them on multiple platforms without changes*, which is something which up to now 
it has always lived up to. It is also a programming language which has so far avoided 
major version-related changes making previous programs and modules obsolete (thus without 
all the costs and time associated with such things). Over 20+ years, this has been a major 
saving compared to other tools.
We also - so far - have profited immensely from the incomparable CPAN modules library, and 
its ability to help us understand and solve myriads of issues brought to us by our customers.

Over these 20+ years, we have introduced perl to several generations of freshly-graduated 
programmers, and gotten them to appreciate its power (and quirks).

All this to say that although we are immensely grateful to the people who have maintained, 
improved, and ported perl consistently over the years, it would be a real shame if this 
"version 7 change" entailed any kind of serious difficulty for perl users like ourselves, 
in terms of keeping our multiple perl-based applications running without a forced 
redesign. It would be a similar shame if this change suddenly rendered a lot of CPAN 
modules unusable.

We regularly install our applications on customer-controlled and customer-installed 
servers, so we do not really have control over which perl version they will install. But 
it is a good bet that they will install whatever is the latest within their software 
repositories at the time of installation or upgrade. If that happened to be an 
"incompatible" version of perl, we might be forced, in a hurry, to update dozens of 
programs and modules to keep their systems running, which is simply not commercially 
viable for a smallish software and services company like ours.

Independently of the fact that skipping perl-6 to avoid confusion, and jumping to perl-7 
for the future versions, is in my view a good and welcome idea, if this comes along with a 
version of perl which does not support legacy programs and modules out-of-the-box, then I 
believe that this "new language" should get a new name (just like Raku did), and not risk 
creating further issues and confusion.


On 30.06.2020 14:57, David Mertens wrote:
> Almost nobody starts working with a language because they like the language design. They 
> learn a language because it has a great framework, or because they are required to use it 
> for work.
> 
> Students who work in my lab have to learn Perl because I insist that it's the only 
> language we use. We use it for running our experiments, for running simulations, and for 
> analyzing our data. I suspect that many other new users probably learn Perl because their 
> job forces them to do so. But, one of my students said he rather liked the language. He 
> thought it was kinda quirky, but liked the quirkiness.
> 
> So no, folks won't come to Perl because of the syntax or language design. But they might 
> stay because of it. That was me 12 years ago and it might be that student of mine.
> 
> David
> 
> On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 2:25 AM Konovalov, Vadim <Vadim.Konovalov@dell.com 
> <mailto:Vadim.Konovalov@dell.com>> wrote:
> 
>     *From:* David Mertens
>      > This comes down to the key question: who are we optimizing for?____
> 
>      > ____
> 
>      > Sawyer wants to optimize for the brand new user. ____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     On SawyerX’s video, user’s categorization is certainly very debatable point.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     “Novice user”s, “absentee” and “maintainer” – these is very __ __
> 
>     incomplete categorization of user’s base, I do not fall into any of 3.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     But more to the point – novice user is very-very unrealistic.____
> 
>     In Sawyer’s video this is the one who wants to learn a language and____
> 
>     selects among possibilities on the market.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     The picture is entirely different.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     Language syntax is not the criteria for a language to learn, rather – ____
> 
>     ecosystem and reputation.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     Ecosystem was strong point for Perl in ~2000 – it was the leader ____
> 
>     with CPAN as recognized solution to everything. Now Perl is far not____
> 
>     the first, because many modern techniques are not supported even____
> 
>     by CPAN modules, whereas pip and npm provide to the newcomer a ____
> 
>     solution.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     Reputation – as for the first language is now Python, this is how____
> 
>     propaganda summed up.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     There is no user that looks into syntax and takes a decision.____
> 
>     Even here – if syntax requires you to be bothered about gazillion ____
> 
>     versions of various parts of language – then this is not what could be ____
> 
>     considered a strong selling point of the language.____
> 
>     __ __
> 
>     __ __
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
>   "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.
>    Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are,
>    by definition, not smart enough to debug it." -- Brian Kernighan

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