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Re: Perl vs Python vs ....

> > I'm sure C and Assembler fit "cryptic" too.  Just think how much further
> > advanced the computer industry would be if neither of those had ever been
> > invented.
> As to assembler, there are lots of _very_ different styles of writing it;
> there is no one "Assembler" language. It's quite impossible to say
> anything general about it.

No it's not.  Assembler is low-level crunching.  It's unstructured, typeless,
and unportable.  If you want portable asm, go to C.

This wasn't about style.  It's about "cryptic".  Good and bad style is
possible in any language.

> As to C, while the language does miss some very crucial features and does
> make it relatively easy to write cryptic programs, the language itself is
> quite clean and orthogonal. Parsing C code, for example, does not have any
> of the quirks that parsing, say, FORTRAN or -surprise!- Perl has.

Perl's syntax is quite straightforward for a human.  It is, however, a
language of side-effects.  This is what can make it difficult to follow.
It's also what gives it part of its power.

> I still have trouble
> figuring out how to write _readable_ programs in Perl.

Funny, I don't.

> Sorry, but I disagree very much. Perl is an powerful and effective
> language. It is neither fine nor even clean; it is _very_ ugly. And while
> some variants of code are indeed easy to write in a clean way, lots of
> others aren't. You can't get rid of dependencies on $_, for example. In
> that aspect it's a lot more like assembler than like any high-level
> language.

There are very, very few places you _must_ use $_.  Writing clean code
is no more difficult than in any other language.  It's just easy in
perl to write things poorly.  I put this blame on the programmer, though,
not the language.

> > As for the truth of your comment...  Language syntax and symantics have
> > little to do with a language's success; it's how easy it is to write
> > useful programs with.  An operating system's success is due primarily
> > to the amount of software available for it.  (Don't believe me?  Look
> > at MS-Dos!)
> It doesn't depend on the "easy" factor, either. Look at MS-DOS, indeed -
> for a very long time, all the utilities were completely written in
> assembler. (Somehow, this didn't make them small and fast.)

This point totally escapes me.  Dos, like C and Perl is/was successful
because of the amount of software available for it.  It doesn't matter
what the software was written in.

> Like anything else, success of languages is mainly an advertizing thing.
> And there can be no doubt that Perl has won that one. (So has C++, which
> shouldn't have either, based on any technical merits.)

I wouldn't call it avertising, but I think I know what you're saying.  These
languages were "advertised" by other users because they worked.  They did
the job better than the other choices.

                               ( bcwhite@verisim.com )

    In theory, theory and practice are the same.  In practice, they're not.

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