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An update on Perl - where is it going?

I need to update myself from time to time; web sites, magazine, books, delegates, technical friends and customer requests are all part of the equation; the final part is attending the - occasional and strategically chosen - high level conference or teaching session given by the specialists - the people who each know one specific technology inside out, usually to the exclusion of appropriate alternatives. And so it was I found myself yesterday at Dave Cross's London Perl Mongers teach-in, hosted by the BBC in White City. Dave styled the day as "turning Intermediate programmers into advanced ones" and notes (correctly) that it was a very tall target for six hours which included a lunch and two other breaks.

Dave DID teach me one or two (OK - let's be fair - one or two dozen) things during the day. But also gave me, as a long time Perl user and tutor, an insight as to where and how the use of the language has developed and is going. What did I notice and pick up "Management overview" mode.

• There was no - not a bit - of teaching of the Perl LANGUAGE as such; the majority - the vast majority - of the time was spent on covering modules, modules on the CPAN, and CPAN facilities. And the other - minority but significance of time - was spent looking at quality (or should I say Kwalitee, Dave?) of code / modules, and techniques, technologies and buzzwords in OO design, configuration file use, and the like.

• All day, there was only a single brief reference to Perl 6 - and that was Dave's comment that he really hasn't looked at anything Perl 6 in a while. There were more references - far more references - to Rails and Ruby which I think he views as an upcoming and perhaps significant force. And a couple of references to PHP, "put down" a little in the way that seems to have become traditional for the Perl Uber-Geeks.

• A few days ago, I asked "is Perl dying out" in this column, and produced data showing, strongly, that this is not the case. Dave produced a similar, strong, case (based on job vacancies) to show that it's live and kicking; there are more Perl jobs than advanced Perl programmers out there - so there's still very much a case for our Perl courses - the next one starts tomorrow - and for occasional more advanced lectures such as this one.

Dave, Thank You for setting up and providing the day, and thank you to the BBC for hosting it. I know I found it very useful, and that all the others of the three dozen or so attendees that I spoke to did so too.

(written 2007-06-03, updated 2007-06-07)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
P256 - Perl 6 Look Ahead
  [3077] Perl 6 - significantly nearer, and Rakudo looks very good - (2010-12-02)
  [2967] Multiway branches in Perl - the given and when syntax - (2010-09-22)
  [2817] Setting a safety net or fallback value in Perl - (2010-06-19)
  [2816] Intelligent Matching in Perl - (2010-06-18)
  [2815] switch and case, or given and when in Perl - (2010-06-17)
  [2559] Moving the product forward - ours, and MySQL, Perl, PHP and Python too - (2010-01-01)
  [1721] Perl 6 - When will we have a production release? - (2008-07-26)
  [1417] What software version do we teach? - (2007-10-31)
  [995] Ruby's case - no break - (2006-12-17)
  [582] DWIM and AWWO - (2006-01-30)
  [550] 2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01)
  [113] A Parallel for Perl 6 - (2004-11-09)
  [89] When will Perl 6 be available - (2004-10-15)

P770 - Perl - A Quick Look Ahead

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