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Is Perl being replaced by PHP and Python?

I was transferring some Perl code into PHP this morning, and thinking back to comments made to me that Perl seems to be fading away, whereas PHP and Python are growing. Has Larry Wall and the Perl team lost its way, then?

Part of the lesson is in my comment that Perl SEEMS to be fading. In my particular world, where I'm predominantly involved in training people, there's a call for my services at times when a language or system is fast growing, as that's when there's a shortage of skills in the field and people moving afresh to it. I've been passed graphs of book sales, showing a slight drop in Perl and a growth in PHP and Python, but then the same "front-loaded" comment applies - people will buy books on Perl as they learn perl - early on in their experience, and on Python as they're just hatching their first programs on Python.

Perl 6 has been rather too long in coming for its own good - six years last month since it was announced - and that has lead to a hiatus. There's little point in developing new extras for Perl 5 when they'll need to be re-engineered for Perl 6, and there's also a natural reluctance on the part of decision makers to start new projects with new groups of employees using a syntax who's deprication plan has already been mooted. But that's not to say that Perl 5 doesn't continue on in fine health, and as an excellent language for many, many applications. And if you read into the detail of Perl 6, you'll find that (through ponie) the old syntax will still be very much useable into the future. I rather suspect that we'll see a resurgance of Perl when "Perl 6" comes out. Whether it regains the same market share that it had six years ago, I don't know and I won't hazard a guess; only time will tell.
(written 2006-08-27)

Commentatorsays ...
Custard:A quick look at 1 job site reveals for 7 days, contract and permanent jobs advertised:
Perl 770
PHP 428
Python 135

And Jobstats:
Perl Rank 59 and 3.2% of all jobs advertised.
PHP Rank 125 and 1.5% of all jobs.
Python Rank 317 and 0.5% of all jobs.

So the market is quite buoyant for those of us that are currently perl programming.

PHP is definitely on the up, although it seems to be filling the 'smaller web site with dynamic content' gap that perl was traditionally associated with as PHP is polarised in the direction of web app development. (although I do understand you can write traditional apps too, it is mainly a web app language with web app functions built in)

A lot of the Perl jobs I have seen lately are quite large applications with a lot more back end processing and interaction with other systems.

My 2p worth of opinion,
Custard.



(comment added 2006-08-27 14:47:39)
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