Thursday, December 19, 2013

Perl is 26 years old?

I just read on Hacker's News that Perl turns 26 years old today.  My oldest piece of open source software is written in Perl. AFT.  AFT was coded in Perl 5 back in 1996 (which makes it over 17 years old).

I originally wrote AFT in awk (sometime during the early/mid 1990s) . I ported it to Perl by using the awk to perl translator (a2p) as a starting point.

Every once in a while I revisit AFT to see if there are any new tricks to add or just to clean up the code and make it a bit more Modern Perl.  AFT is still in the Ubuntu software repository, so you can install it under Ubuntu by simply doing   sudo apt-get install aft.

I'm still using Perl. I am doing some funky stuff with the AWS cloud (EC2 instances) and find Lincoln D. Stein's VM::EC2 package fits my needs.  Perl is still great for replacing nasty bash/sh scripts (although some would say I am replacing the nastiness of  bash with nastiness of Perl).

I'm not much of a CPAN user, but those who know me understand that I am very selective of libraries and frameworks. I prefer to avoid layering and loading lots of dependencies. What I find attractive about Perl is how much the basic distribution can get accomplished  (e.g. I don't have to resort to libraries so quickly as when I program in Lua).

I'm particularly interested in investigating Mojolicious for use in my elderly monitoring project.  I use LuaJIT primarily on the base station (with a bit of Erlang).  The cloud side is currently a fair amount of Perl.  But aren't there better languages to do cloud/web development?  Isn't Perl old hat?

For those folk who think that Perl is old hat and doesn't have a place in the modern Web, do you use DuckDuckGo?  It was developed primarily in Perl....