[Melbourne-pm] thanks and thoughts on Perl

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Mon Dec 29 23:04:06 PST 2008

"John Thornton" <jdthornton at ozemail.com.au> writes:

> Thanks to all who responded. Now I have so much to think about. This
> will probably be my last post on this list; I am not a Perl programmer
> and will be looking into Python, Ruby etc lists that I do program in.
> My thoughts on how I like to learn to program:
> [1] Playing with the program after skimming through a tutorial. For
>     instance in python 3.0 it is interesting that
>                 4*’cat’
>                 catcatcatcat
> But I found this:
>                 0*’cat’
>                 ‘‘
>                 -5*’cat’
>                 ‘‘
> In other words any number<0 0r =0 multiplied by a string gets the
> single quotes with nothing between. Can’t work out why that is.

Because python 3 presumably overloads number '*' string as 'repeat the
string number times', and zero or less copies of 'cat' are the empty
string, ''.

> [2] Modifying a program that already works. For instance I took a Ruby
>     calculator program and added the ** exponentiation function to it.
> [3] comparing the same idea in different languages such as a loop.

You might find more value addressing yourself to higher level concepts
than loops, in your assessment of different languages.  That is, at the
end of the day, a trivial bit of syntax that matters very little.

You did say "such as" here, so perhaps you already are comparing
interesting features rather than trivialities...

> Perl and Java are very hard to do [1] and [2] with.

Regarding example one:

Perl may require a little reading, but "'cat' x 4" does what you might
expect from the Python version; the multiplication operator gives you
integer conversion of the string, then numeric multiplication.

I can't really comment on Java, but the example given is so trivial is
to be more or less meaningless in most cases.

As to option two: as stated, this is more or less impossible to comment
on.  The question, for me, is "did you find it difficult because you
didn't understand the language you were using, or because you found a
bad program to modify, or because the language was actually hard?"

> [3] might be possible in them. Ruby and Python are easy for doing all
> 3. Perl might be a great language. But I have not found it to be
> beginner friendly for tyros like me.

Great.  Good luck with whatever language you do select, then.


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