Python surpasses Perl

Forum: water cooler
Topic: Python surpasses Perl
started by: roberts

Posted by roberts on Dec. 13 2007,04:24
"For the first time in history" is the headline on < Tiobe >. A monthly index of what's hot and what's not in programming languages.
Posted by WDef on Dec. 14 2007,18:40
But Java still sits on the top (server applications).  Blechh.

A decimal point % change or two might not be very significant given the much larger separations between other languages.

Python's bound to get more popular.  I'll bet Perl's still more ubiquitous on systems though.

Posted by curaga on Dec. 14 2007,20:51
Lua's at the bottom ;) But with a big percentual rise at least
Posted by WDef on Dec. 15 2007,12:12
I suppose I'll end up having a crack at Python one day.  At the moment I don't need to.  

I think a major difference in the approach of newer languages like Python/Ruby seems to be that they're designed to be pretty and to be easier to read.  That is not to demean that - I guess those are very good characteristics when it comes to debugging and good program design.

Perl has never been designed to be easy to read or pretty or fashionable, and it isn't.  It's designed to be easy and quick to write and to be extremely powerful.

The great myth is that Perl is hard to learn.  I thought it looked intimidating, but after doing a brief online tute and after starting to read the Perldocs, it's actually astonishingly easy to start writing seemingly difficult Perl quickly.

This is because you can learn a small handful of stock ways of doing things in Perl that can solve all kinds of different problems, and because there is such a vast amount of Perl code on the web that it's easy to find snippets to emulate.  The Perldocs are also excellent. And regexes - Perl's great forte par excellence - are so very easy in Perl.  Much easier that sed etc.  It's also - at least for me - a natural progression from bash.  Perl also gives very good error messages if using 'use warnings; use strict' as one should.

What's hard in Perl would be to achieve a really deep mastery.  I think one would need to be working with it a great deal for a long time to get there.  I just know enough to get by for my occasional use for the time being, and only come back to it when I need to, but that's enough to do all kinds of things.

Posted by curaga on Dec. 15 2007,12:24
To me the logical progression after Bash was C, it looked less intimidating to me.
Posted by WDef on Dec. 15 2007,12:27
I went from Bash ->Perl -> C.

Of course, C only *looks* less intimidating.  A simple language that's, umm,  well, infamously not so simple to debug - to the point of hair pulling, head banging etc - which is not to say it isn't extremely beautiful and wonderful (it is).

I like this page :=)

< >

Interestingly, Linux Torvalds recently ranted against C++.  I guess when you're as fluent in C as he'd be, you perhaps don't really need C++.

In prehistory for me there was Fortran->Pascal->Assembly->(many years hiatus)->bash->Perl->C

Posted by curaga on Dec. 15 2007,14:49
Fortran? Ouch!
Posted by WDef on Dec. 16 2007,13:13
We're talking about the olden days here :=)

Fortran? Ouch!

As a student I found Assembly to be the most frustrating - 6 lines of code to add two digits together, or something.  Mind you, my interest in these things is on a different plain altogether these days.  I'd probably react quite differently now.

Funnily enough, Fortran's never gone away and Pascal (originally designed as a teaching languange to give students good programming principles) has made a big comeback, among other things, in writing high end games. Not that I use these languages now.

Raving on here: I saw a post on Slashdot or somehwere by someone who claimed all the women programmers he knew worked in Fortran.

I was thinking that, if there was any truth in this, it may be because Fortran has traditionally been heavily used by applied mathematicians, and perhaps some of the women working in programming have that background.  Only a theory.

Posted by roberts on Dec. 16 2007,14:16
The first six years of my career were spent doing Assembly language programming. Business Applications, typically accounts receiveables, payroll, inventory control. Back then, early seventies, memory was so expensive.

Then I moved on to COBOL. Wrote large system packages for specialized industries, e.g., route accounting, garmet industry, theatre tickets. Did many systems in  Databasic (Pick OS) while I was at the City of Garden Grove.

When micro processors came onto the scene, I got into 6502 assembly.

It wasn't until the PC came along that I was able to enjoy many of the languages offered today. I was on usenet grabbing minix when it was a floppy only system. Had to write C to make it do more. Of course Bash, sed, awk, et al. Having fun with UUCP. Was a Coherent Unix UUCP member.

I always loved exploring languages from common popular ones to little known ones, like COMAL. A Dutch language for the IBM PC, manual was in Dutch. It also became popular on Commodore computers. I got to meet the Dutchman who created COMAL. Several Comal programs I wrote got published in their magazine.

Then got into Perl, web interface to Pick OS, then Python. Much Java both server side, replaced Perl sockets, and client side (swing). Also got into tuple space programming with Java Spaces. Then  moved on to tcl/tk. Then heavily used PHP in several dot.coms. Loved Ruby and now enjoying Lua/LuaFltk.

Yea, I am an old guy, from punched card and punched paper tape to flash drives. What a ride it has been.  And never to old to learn and still having fun.

Posted by WDef on Dec. 18 2007,14:19
Great diverse background that you bring to DSL Robert, we're lucky to have you!  Never underestimate the value of diverse experience.

As you know, I'm also an oldie by comparison with most users here I suppose, though it's not always easy (and generally not relevant) to guess the ages of the users.   I'm sure we have a few much older users here, too.

I have wondered if the majority of DSL users fall into any particular generalisations eg I guess there would be a good percentage of Comp Sci undergrads and more than a few SysAdmins who like to fool around with DSL.  And a good many enthusiasts who do not work in the industry at all.  And, I'd wager, a few high school kids.  We've had one or two women who have declared themselves as such, and one or two who've identified themselves as professional programmers.

A demographic poll could be interesting.

Posted by faroutscience on Jan. 02 2008,17:43
I was a big fan of Coherent in the early 90s. I was disappointed when they went out of business. I really enjoyed their C compiler. To this day I'll bet it would produce the most compact executables. I still have a copy of the Coherent manual on my bookshelf. It was an excellent resource.

Coherent couldn't keep up with Linux. With all of the talent that had, even after contracting with Udo Monk it was a lost cause. :(


Posted by spark-o-matic on Jan. 30 2008,06:05
Good Evening Everyone,

Saw this topic, read through, and thought this might be a likely place for an introduction.

I first sat in front of a computer in 1982.  It was an apple II+.  I, of couse, began learning Integer BASIC, then Applesoft.  I was in heaven when the 80 column card came out (wow!  I had 64k more of memory!)  It didn't take long to figgure out that Applesoft was way too slow for anything more complex then:
Code Sample

So into machine language and mini assembler i go.

Enlisted in the military for a while where i repaired analog and digital comunications equiptment.

Currently i do most stuff in perl for the web, focusing on downward compatability, crossplatform, and visualy impared friendly.  perl and HTML were a natural progression for me.  I dabbled in Borland Turbo C++ for a while and especially with audio stuff, but was so frustraited with the amount of code needed to open a window to return the results of 2+2.  

no matter what language, it all boils down to the forgotten basics of a computer.  Its a 1 or a 0, a high voltage in a wire or a low voltage.  Its use is math, logic, and data storage and retrieval.  
(Over simplified?)

On the more personal side of my interests,  for about a decade i've been into the old radio shows from the 30's, 40's and 50's.  This where I learned about visualy impared friendly.  Most blind people can't see the picture on even the largest TV, so they love the old radio shows.

Another fun hobbie of mine is electrical restorations of AF and RF vacuume tube stuff.  But don't ask me to refinish the cabinet...

I am currently playing with dsl and dsl-n on 4 computers while waiting for things to upload and download, my work computer to fiinish 'doing what its doing' so i can do something again, etc...

i have nothing against paying for things that are useful to me.  What I have a problem with is paying an outragious price for things  I really don't need other then you have to have them to function in todays society.

Thanks all,
Richard (Sparks)

P.S.  I will add a link to my site when invited to.  I hate that nasty spam as much as you do! ???

Posted by WDef on Jan. 31 2008,00:05
Hi Spark-O-Matic

I'm very pleased to hear there's someone else on this forum that uses Perl.  I hope you will indulge your Perl interests by posting in the programming and scripting section.

I'm a relative beginner at Perl but enjoy it and have started checking out the Perl Monks forum.

dsl's Perl is a bit crippled module-wise and in terms of age, though it can be used for doing things not requiring much in the way of modules.  However by installing the gtk2 extension you get perl-5.8.7, almost complete I believe.

I intend to post a CPAN.dsl extension soon afer more testing.

Your other history is interesting also.

Posted by spark-o-matic on Jan. 31 2008,02:15
Hi Wdef,

I intend to post a CPAN.dsl extension soon afer more testing.

I might be interested in helping with testing.  We might continue this discussion in a more appropriate topic.


Posted by faroutscience on Feb. 03 2008,03:40
Hi Sparks,

I would be interested in your web site. I'm an old computer buff and amateur radio op. I cut my teeth on vacuum tubes. I'm into low vision stuff out of necessity these days.

73, Jeff

Posted by spark-o-matic on Feb. 03 2008,04:47
Hi Jeff,

Are you using DSL to access the web and are you using a screen reader. I have a friend who is a visualy impared, retired, United States Veteran, who is wanting to browse the web.  I do not think he would be able to see a computer screen even with a magnifier.  He has turned down some offers and is trusting me to give him what he needs without 'ripping him off'.

We have had a discussion, and he is more then williing to make significant donations

my url is:
< >

it does not, right now, have alt tags for the images.  they are only screenshots and prettys that would mean nothing to a person who can't see them.  

Also, I am very intersted in support beyond JAWS.

Thanks so much,

Posted by newby on Mar. 02 2008,12:42
Quote (roberts @ Dec. 16 2007,09:16)
The first six years of my career were spent doing Assembly language programming. Business Applications, typically accounts receiveables, payroll, inventory control. Back then, early seventies, memory was so expensive.


I learned FORTH in 79 because I didn't want to learn assembler.

Of course, FORTH immediately taught me assembler. <grin>

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