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Re: [xml-dev] parsing markup with Perl

Hello Ihe,

thanks for your message.

On Mon, 10 Feb 2014 08:28:44 +0000
Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 8:06 AM, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@shlomifish.org> wrote:
> >
> >> On 2/8/14 4:08 PM, Arjun Ray wrote:
> >> > But why blame Perl, other than it's the language eveyone loves to
> >> > hate?  (Actually, I thought that would be C++.)
> >> >
> >
> > There is "There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people
> > [constantly] complain about and the ones nobody uses." (--
> > https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bjarne_Stroustrup ). Also see what I wrote
> > about it here - http://shlomif-tech.livejournal.com/57811.html ("Your
> > Programming Language Must Suck") and there's also the Worse-is-better
> > conjecture - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worse_is_better .
> >
> I think it is a bit misleading to categorise Scheme (first sentence of
> your article)  alongside Pascal and C when the former is dynamically
> typed and the latter are statically typed.

Yes, but they all have explicit scoping. Programming languages’ design is
often multi-dimensional (i.e: has more than one aspect to it, often orthogonal),
not a single dimension or even a tree-like structure of options. 

> The article is better named - Your Programming Language is not perfect
> - but then no-one would read it as we already all know that.

First of all, maybe everybody on XML-Dev know it, but many people, especially
those who don't know better (i.e: only know one or few programming languages)
don't. I personally found many faults in JavaScript (see what I wrote about it
here - http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/anti/javascript/ ), but some people
told me they really love it (I sometimes need to use JavaScript because it's
hard to avoid, so I try not to sulk about it, but I still find it inferior to
Perl 5). Furthermore, someone who had studied Information Systems (in UCLA) and
graduated, told me he used to think COBOL was pretty cool, until he learned
Perl 5 and other languages. 

Some people who read the article said they really like it or agree with it.

Regarding the title, you may be right, but at least I caught your interest
enough to read it, and I'm reminded of this episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine
- http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Body_Parts_%28episode%29 (a good
one) where they say that the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, were actually
intended to be the Guidelines for Acquisition, but were called "Rules of
Acquisition" so people will thing more highly of them (a guideline which is
actually described in one of these Rules.) Similarly, it is important to pick
a good title for a blog post, and I was told here by an anonymous flamer that I
always go a long way to pick up good titles for what he considered to be
"spam" - http://shlomif.livejournal.com/20689.html?view=comments - although
picking up the title for me is not too time consuming (maybe I have a gift for

I'm not sure if "why your programing language is not perfect" is a good title
for describing it either, because many people know that one size does not fits
all, and I wanted to go beyond that and show the intrinsic design tradeoffs of

And if I someone refers me to another blog post titled something like "25 jQuery
plugins you should not care about."[1], then I'd feel like I would want to go
outside, find a cute kitten, and strangle it to death.

[1] - the title is a parody, but you can find tons of blog posts like that. 

> >
> >     Perl is another example of filling a tiny, short-term need, and then
> > being a real problem in the longer term. Basically, a lot of the problems
> > that computing has had in the last 25 years comes from systems where the
> > designers were trying to fix some short-term thing and didn't think about
> > whether the idea would scale if it were adopted. There should be a
> > half-life on software so old software just melts away over 10 or 15 years.
> >>>>
> >
> It's another example of people learning a tool or a language and
> applying it universally to all problems whether it is an appropriate
> tool for that domain or not.
> This is not unique to Perl . Alot if not most software gets developed
> this way and my earlier comment about how PHP has literally become
> the defacto standard language for parsing HTML is but one example.

I agree. But note that Perl has become a general purpose language and so can
effectively be used for most general-purposey tasks, even if it's not the
absolutely best tool for the job. Whether it, or PHP, or Python, or Common
Lisp, or C, or Scheme/Racket, or Haskell, or whatever are good general-purpose
languages is a matter of debate (and like I said in my "Your programming
language must suck" post, often a matter of trade-offs). Furthermore, like
Curtis "Ovid" Poe (another Perl developer and writer) noted in a blog post, the
natural conclusion of using the absolutely best tool for the job is having a
polyglot (or maybe https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mishmash is the word )
codebase written in 10 or even 20 different programming languages, which will
take a lot of knowledge to fully study and understand. Perfect is often the
enemy of good.


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
What Makes Software Apps High Quality -  http://shlom.in/sw-quality

<Su-Shee> Also, .* is the most unspecific regex you can use. It’s like saying:
oh well match something of anything or nothing, and, please, a lot of it ;)

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