Friday, May 20, 2005

PERL ? what's that ?

It really surprised me, but I forgot almost all about PERL. After just a few months hacking with Python I do not even remember basic syntax (and I've used PERL for long... even writing non trivial web-based applications that in retrospect do not fit in what I think is PERL target). I was able to get the job done but I had to resort to documentation (and it was a really trivial script to convert a text file with some hex data into a format suitable for importing in excel). I'm just getting old, I suppose.


Davide Pasca said...

That's how I code in PERL: see what I need and search on the Internet 8)
Truly copy and pasting pieces of code left and right.

As for Python. I looked into it a few times. Most recently I saw it used in Blender. Python there allows to write inport and export plugins for different 3D file formats.
The result was that the simplicity of the language allowed people to feel at ease to write very incomplete plugins (e.g. texture not supported !). Plus the slowness had forced me to have to CTRL-ALT-DEL the application.

I'm not so sure that making it easy for people to write software is a good idea, not when I end up having to use that software. Sure, nobody forces me to use Blender, but at the same time, I went on to waste my time after apparent features that turned out to be useless.

6502 said...

I think python is a very nice language; the syntax is very clean and the speed is not that terrible.
Also it's easy to write speed critical parts with faster alternatives... currently for extensions I like pyrex that has a syntax that is really close to python, provides 100% integration with it but allows you to write code that maps 1/1 to your loved compiled bare metal C.

Of course a bad programmer can write bad programs in any language :-) ... and I found myself thinking on the same rude line; i.e. that dropping language complexity barriers may open programming to who can't handle complexity. If you can't handle complexity however you can't get any far with programming... getting only past the language barrier is just pointless.

On the other side I think that fighting with ugly syntax, type declarations, explicit memory allocation and deallocation for the parts of code in which speed is the LAST my concerns is not the paradise either. So welcome Python ... if you know what you're doing :-)

Davide Pasca said...

It seems to me that there isn't really that much that these alternative languages do att he practical level.
It's mostly about handling strings and arrays.
The rest is surely interesting from a language point of view, but not really as practical as a good old MACRO 8)
Today, I wrote a text parser.. and macros there really shined !