Joined: Sep. 2005
||Posted: 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.