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Thoughts on Perl, long post 

So I’ve been meaning to write a post about my Perl “hot takes” so to speak, or at least what I like about the language and why I unironically defend it

I first got into Perl back in 2015, after having used C, PHP, JavaScript, and Shell Scripting. I started playing around with different languages to decide on one to learn and decided to make small programs in a few languages to compare how they felt. I tried Go, Python, Ruby, and Perl and out of all of them Perl felt the best and I found myself wanting to do more and more with it

Sure, the semi colon made it syntactically similar to the languages I already knew but it felt like it was super general purpose and in a very expressive way that actively stimulated my mind

I think one of the best ways to sum this up comes in Perl’s motto itself, “there’s more than one way to do it”. This is often contrasted with Python’s “there’s only one way to do it” and I felt this very heavily. While I’m sure the consistency and standard structure of Python makes it appealing for big projects, I was just doing my own thing and learning Perl felt more like learning to paint or writing a poem. I could express myself and do things in the ways that felt good for my brain

It just felt incredibly expressive and I loved how it flowed, how I could very easily rearrange statements and subroutines, and have as much as I wanted on a single line (or not) to suit my own style. Perl is often insulted as a “write only” language but I feel like this is part of the beauty of Perl, in that it’s let the coder put their own personality in. Much like handwriting, you’re using the same words, and some are easier to read than others, but ultimately it’s part of who that person is, a mark left on the world

I think when people criticize Perl they often see it as “it’s either good at making big complex software projects or it’s bad” when it is at its core an expressive hacker language that’s easy to learn and yet you’ll still be learning new tricks a decade later. You can use it to quickly write little automation tools or scripts where writing it in Bash would be pain, but you can go bigger with it too. It has a big module repository (and was one of the first to pioneer the idea I believe) which means you can very quickly build little tools and projects in your own way

I think people get far too hung up on what they see as a very professional and standard set of tools and that the freedom Perl gives is bad for maintainability, but I think that isn’t and shouldn’t be the whole picture, I think there should be room for a fun expressive language that lets you add a piece of yourself to everything you write, your own quirks, your own style. You can actually have a lot of fun and learn a lot by reworking a single statement of code in many ways, and in fact, there’s the “Just Another Perl Hacker” thing where people try to find their own way to write code that simply prints out that string, and there are so many creative and interesting examples including one where the source code is ascii art of a camel

I’m not saying you should start doing everything in Perl or adopt it as your main language but that you should give it a chance and at least not cast it away as a mistake of the past. I think it very much embodies the late 80s and 90s hacker culture in its very makeup and really does lean into programming as an art not just a science

If you asked 10 artists to paint a horse you’d get 10 different styles, and likewise, the “write only” criticism of Perl is that if you asked 10 Perl programmers for a basic program, you’d get 10 different sets of source code but I think it’s honestly nice for that to exist, a project should be an endeavour of passion and creativity, and being able to do that in your own unique way is a good thing imo
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Internet: "The network allows for various kinds of protocols that y-"

Developers: "There is only HTTP"

HTTP: "You can formulate all kind of requests using GET, POST, PUT, DELE-"

Developers: "There is only POST"

:abloblamp:
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@JoYo @OCRbot

that last bullet point I think is it, I think it's already "on"

@JoYo The Goto folks gotta be on Fedi right? 🤔

Someone out there has either won this battle before or can at least confirm that it's not supported yet or something

@JoYo Can we bribe hackers dot town to host one :psyduck: my bandwidth sucks here or I'd try it

Is there a reason there aren't many English-speaking PeerTube instances out there? Only ones I see seem to be private/don't allow registration.

@erellsworth HGTV: "Wow we're buying a house for millions of dollars, this is so stressful! Oh no, the countertops don't match the new tile!!"

@JoYo honestly if it works fine i wouldn’t hate a minimal or just templates front end

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proud member of the LGTM community 🖥 👍

@JoYo @fullstackthaumaturge I believe this is the fork everyone was talkin about:
akkoma.dev/AkkomaGang/akkoma/
Also I think Goto Social is essentially a lighter Mastodon; it uses the Mastodon API so you can use a Mastodon client like Metatext on iOS, etc. I've been Goto Social curious but I already installed Misskey on my self-hosted so I'm just using that for now

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eattherich.club

are ya hungry? 🦆