SPUG: Java, Perl, large-scale projects

Creede Lambard creede at penguinsinthenight.com
Thu Jun 13 21:16:39 CDT 2002

On Thu, 13 Jun 2002, Steve Howell wrote:

> Large scale projects are rarely powered by a single language.  Even so-called
> "pure Perl" or "pure Java" projects often owe their scalability to other
> languages, since the projects tend to use operating systems, file systems,
> networking software, and relational databases that are written in C or other
> low-level languages.
> You have to be careful about how you classify a project as "large."  Sometimes
> the scale of the software doesn't necessarily match the scale of the problem
> solved.  Often the key to solving a large problem is decomposing that problem
> into a bunch of smaller problems.  I can't see how using Perl would ever hinder
> that process.  I could see how a monolithic approach to problem-solving could
> hinder that process.  How well does Java interact with other languages, compared
> to Perl?
> What are some of the larger software projects in this day and age?  I would
> throw out Google, Oracle, and eBay for starters.  Does anybody know what they
> use?

The Cobalt Group (my current employer) handles websites for auto dealers and
manufacturers. In my little corner of Cobalt we do websites for a couple
thousand Chrysler Fivestar dealers, not to mention internal tools, reporting,
and the like. We also have divisions for Kia, Toyota, Saturn, Hummer and
several other manufacturers, not to mention major auto groups like

And up until recently the entire shebang was written in Perl. (They are now
making a push to a Java-based platform, which has only recently gotten
started.) That's several MILLION lines of code. To be sure this isn't one
monolithic project, but some of the stuff I work on has several thousand
lines of code per module.

It's all in the organization of the project. Most of us wouldn't want to
maintain a single program of 60,000 lines, written in Perl or anything else.
But, if it's broken down into 2,000 line modules with well-defined APIs, all
of the sudden it doesn't seem so fearsome.

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