The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'perl'


A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages:

1842 - Ada Lovelace writes the first program. She is hampered in her efforts by the minor inconvenience that she doesn't have any actual computers to run her code. Enterprise architects will later relearn her techniques in order to program in UML.
1987 - Larry Wall falls asleep and hits Larry Wall's forehead on the keyboard. Upon waking Larry Wall decides that the string of characters on Larry Wall's monitor isn't random but an example program in a programming language that God wants His prophet, Larry Wall, to design. Perl is born.
1995 - At a neighborhood Italian restaurant Rasmus Lerdorf realizes that his plate of spaghetti is an excellent model for understanding both the World Wide Web and that web applications should mimic their medium. On the back of his napkin he designs Programmable Hyperlinked Pasta (PHP). PHP documentation remains on that napkin to this day.

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The Year in Scripting Languages, a roundup of what happened in 2002 in the worlds of Python, Perl, Ruby, Tcl and Lua.

(Lua? Oh yes, it appears to be a new embedded scripting language of Brazilian origin. No idea what it looks like, as the site doesn't actually show any code.)

"Forget about Basic and go for Lua! Lua is just as easy to use, but a lot more powerful. Lua is also very easy to extend."
-- Jon Kleiser, in

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Yoz Grahame reckons that Perl is the Yiddish of computer languages. Hmmm... (via bOING bOING)

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Two Python bits: Deadly Bloody Serious about Python, a new Python-related blog. (via gimbo) And Bridgekeeper, a program for translating Perl code to (variously odd-looking) Python code. (via NtK)

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Equivalence of Perl and Python imminent? Gun nut and Pythonista Eric S. Raymond wants the two projects to merge their bytecode interpreters, possibly bringing in other languages, such as Ruby and Intercal, to combat Microsoft's all-devouring .NET. The advantages could possibly include the ability to use class libraries across languages, and perhaps even a unified Perl/Python/Ruby/Intercal class library, and the ability to compile any of these languages to C from bytecode (something that apparently is doable in Perl). (via NTK)

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Python roundup: An interview with Guido van Rossum, creator of Python, in which he reveals how he wrote the language, and why it will be the next big thing, taking the mantle now held by the popular mutant camel Perl. And if that isn't enough, here's Eric S. Raymond's take:

Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code.

I agree with ESR; Perl has its uses for quick file parsing jobs, but isn't really suited to large programming tasks (especially when there are better languages). Python is currently my favourite language for day-to-day use. I've looked at Ruby briefly, and it looks possibly more elegant than Python (some of the OO syntax reminds me of SuperCollider on the Mac), though isn't yet quite as mature as Python.

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There's an interesting discussion on Slashdot about how human languages influence programming languages, and how languages designed by non-English-speakers would differ from ones designed by English-speakers. (Oddly enough, some of the most elegant recent programming languages come from non-English-speaking countries; Ruby and Python, for example, are of Japanese and Dutch origin, respectively, while Perl is very American. What does this say about the clarity of the English language?)

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