[Melbourne-pm] perl is a terrible language to learn

Adrian Masters adrian at ash-blue.org
Wed Sep 17 16:22:29 PDT 2008

>        I think that it is a terrible language to learn. I am enjoying
> learning Java instead.

John, I'm sorry you feel this way, but it's important to focus on what you
want out of your experience. Picking out your first programming language
is much the same as picking your first car - everyone has their opinion.

I find that a good way to learn a programming language is to pick a
project and try to implement it in that language (for instance, if I
wanted to catalog all my things and search by author/band/title etc -
implement something that does that in the language I'm learning).

The other thing to remember is to start small. Try to remove any
extraneous set up or dependencies. You were trying to install a language &
web server onto a ported platform (Perl & Apache have their roots on Unix,
and have been ported across to Windows), which increases the complexity
when you just want to learn the language.

For example, if you're learning Java, try building a text based
application which runs locally, not something that depends on a web
interface and database backend.

The other suggestion is to get the basic language features under your belt:
. variables
. assignment & basic operations
. basic input/output
. control structures (loops, conditionals)
. data structures (arrays, hashes, structures)
. call/return/functions/procedures
. files

Then go into the real features of the language and investigate things like
GUIs, web integration and database integration.

BTW, I have been taught or have self learned around 15 distinct
programming languages, ignoring variants. (I do not profess to be an
expert in all of them).

I dare say that the Melbourne PM group would have had similar experiences
to me.

>        It's bye to Perl. I already see far more logic in Java.

I wish you well in your Java experience. When you need to do some massive
text manipulation, consider coming back to Perl for a visit, and try a
book like "Data Munging in Perl" from Manning (under

I'd also suggest the O'Reilly camel book
(http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596000271/) as a good starting place for
learning Perl, with plenty of O'Reilly books under

Adrian Masters

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