If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


Why Perl?

It's looks like line noise, and if it was ever in fashion it's dropped out now. But Perl suits me, and I think this is why:

  • Some people see the world as tables or XML -- I see it as text files with easy to parse lines
  • Security does a lot of work with "fairly regular" data. (It doesn't seem possible to get the admins to stick to strict group naming conventions.) Putting regular expressions at the heart of the language acknowledges that the data are a bit dodgy.
  • Security has many command line utilities that do roughly what you want. Perl runs external code, gathers output, skips the irrelevant bits and tidies up the good lines, all without too much pain.
  • I've never written a right-first-time program in any other language. (I don't think I've ever written a right-at-all program in any language where I have to do my own garbage collection.)
  • Languages that let me say what I want get my vote:
    $a++ unless ($its_time);
    foreach ( <STDIN> ) {reformat($_)};
Perhaps I'll grow out of it. Perhaps I'll just get frustrated with weak Windows integration. Perhaps I'll write that integration the way it should be done. Perhaps the Active State port will blow up once too often. We'll see.

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