Perl Is Dying


use strict;
use warnings;

You must’ve heard of Perl…

One of the common languages of The Elders — high intelligent humanoids who shaped the Unix World. They used it to help the humans on diverse domains, such as Bioinformatics and the Web. A sophisticated language with Regular Expressions deeply incorporated on it’s roots, so powerful that became an art and widely used in the common world. The Elders passed their teachings to the Monks and created The Programming Republic of Perl.

Fast-forwarding to our modern days, the Republic is falling apart, the Monks are just a few, and apprentices are a rarity…

A Not So Short Travel on Perl’s Lands

Perl was created by Larry Wall on 1988, 28 years ago, had it peak during the 90’s up to mid 2000’s, but my contact with it started only in 2010, on my early days of programming (a poor/old/short HTML course in 2005 followed by some awkward attempts to make websites doesn’t count, really).

I was certainly naive, but Perl promised a lot and I accepted.

As a freshman B.Tech student in Computer Networks with a passion for programming, interpreted languages with focus on system administration and automation was my focus, which lead me to endless searches around this topic. I was certainly naive, but Perl promised a lot and I accepted. Soon I was using Perl for common and advanced SysAdmin scripts while also playing with Graphical User Interfaces with Perl-Tk up to simple Web Scraping scripts.

I’ve never used Perl on large projects, nor tried its full power in so many domains, but everything done with it was done well and in only 6 months, when I started looking for freelance jobs around the web and with colleagues, I found on it a relief.

Where Least Expected

New coders (programmers, developers, engineers, ninjas… I won’t go into this topic) tend to go to the higher demand, aiming for higher hiring chances but, in my opinion, this is a mistaken thought. Aiming for the lower demands where applicants are considerably fewer is the best way to enter a certain job market. This was confirmed later with my experience on AppleScript — Topic for another post.

Until a certain point, while learning new technologies and growing my skills by doing, preparing myself for higher demands, I could rely on Perl to have freelance jobs and all was fun. Simple scripts, maintenance, solving issues with modules and web scrapers — later I found out that one was used on a hacking scam… #sad. In the meantime I dropped out of college and renounced on System Administration as main role and focused on Mobile Development, while still working with Perl for previous clients. Then 2013 arrived and was time to finish the travel on Perl’s land.

Perl is in Suffer

When I joined the Perl community it was already late, other programming languages emerged as better “replacements” years back, mostly focusing on excelling on specified paths instead of mastering them all, with easy-to-learn approaches and one “right way” to do things, instead of Perl’s “There’s more than one way to do it”. The Monks are isolated from the outside world of new trends, the Republic seems no republic but fewer civilians, the ruins once created must be restored but the job market is lowering demand every day, lowering the number of new pupils, and the attempt to make Perl “better than Perl” — Perl 6 — seems just a fail joke, released after 15 years of promises.

I don’t mean to offend but to give my personal overview of the situation, while respectfully saying thank you for old time’s sake. Perl is alive and will never die, but it is in suffer, because most of the people using it are just remaining from The Elders.