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Re: wxPerl past, wxPerl present and wxPerl future.

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Johan Vromans
January 3, 2013 10:59
Re: wxPerl past, wxPerl present and wxPerl future.
Message ID:
Steve Cookson <> writes:

> ... an appeal on the community to keep wxPerl alive ...

Every once in a while an appeal like this is made. Mark did it some time
ago, I personally felt the need to write one 'one of these days' but
Steve was faster this time.

I was delighted to see 16 responses in a short term, however, most
responses were about the wiki problems. Although this is a real pain
(and we have a decent working wiki by now -- thanks to Huub) it
distracts from the main issue: wxPerl is dying.

wxPerl = GUI desktop programs

wxPerl = wxWidgets + Perl

wxWidgets is dying.

Perl is dying.

Now, don't start yelling that much effort is being put right now in
wxWidgets and Perl. I know that. But we must ask ourselves: to what

Perl seems to be moving to a framework for Web applications. When you
carefully watch the current activities in the Perl community, it is all
Catalyst, Mojolicious, Dancer. The only other significant activity is
MetaCPAN, yet another attempt to bring order in CPAN where the C seems
to stand for Chaotic. (I exclude perl6 activities since I consider perl6
too immature to be useful for anything.) There's little to no interest
in creating decent Perl programs. Have you ever wondered why there is
only support for modules on CPAN, and no support for programs?

wxWidgets seems to be moving, as Steve correctly metions, towards a
desktop development system. 

So we see different directions for wxWidgets and Perl.

We can ask ourselves: what do we want?

For me, wxPerl is the means to develop mature, usefull, user friendly,
cross-platform desktop applications in my favourite programming

25 years ago, when Perl was born, only a selective group of people,
commonly called 'nerds', could use computers. Nowadays everybody uses
computers. And due to the influence of Windows and Mac, almost everybody
is used to serious, mature, usefull, user friendly desktop applications
like Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Firefox, Photoshop and so on.

With wxPerl we can write applications like these. Moreover, due to the
cross-platform features, these applications can be deployed on the most
popular desktop platforms: Windows, MacOSX and Linux.

It is at this point that I want to give tons of kudo's to Mark Dootson
for creating and maintaining CitrusPerl and CavaPackager.

But why do I say "wxPerl is dying"?

Writing mature, usefull, user friendly, cross-platform desktop
applications if a complicated task. Photoshop wasn't developed
overnight, in fact, most of the examples I mentioned took 10 years or
more to become what they are today. So it is not surprising that there
are few wxPerl applications in this collection. See e.g.

But times are changing. We now have iDevices and Android phones and
tablets, and millions and millions of users of apps, small applications
that are usually up to a single task, and try to do that in a clever and
intuitive way. These are the applications of the future. Since they're
small and clever, wxPerl would be an excellent tool to develop
applications like these -- Perl has always had a good reputation for
small and nifty programs. For every team of Perl developers working on
desktop applications there are thousands of Perl developers wanting to
develop apps.

Except they can't.

There's no Perl on iOS. There's no Perl on Android. Not visibly. There's
no wxWidgets on iOS nor Android. And although these platforms have been
around for several years, there are no concrete plans to provide
wxWidgets on these platforms. (Note that I use the word "provide", not
"port".) Considering the traditional cross-platform nature of wxWidgets,
it could be the first development tool to produce apps for both iOS and
Android. It would be a real killer.

But, as it stands now, despite of all the effort put in the current
wxWidgets development, I think wxWidgets is a dead end. And so is

Oh yes, there will be people developing using wxWidgets and Perl, but
there'll be only few. The threshold is way too high.

What can *you* do?

Just prove that I'm wrong.

We can at least lower the threshold by making it attractive to develop
small desktop programs that do something sensible and look nice. I still
consider wxGlade --yet another dead end-- a good tool to start wxPerl
development. The wiki is functional again. Let's create examples.

Happy hacking!

-- Johan

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