[Pdx-pm] Fwd: Genomics at OHSU

Bryce Harrington bryce at osdl.org
Mon Nov 28 13:00:20 PST 2005

The thing that makes Perl great is CPAN.  With CPAN I can get my job
done much faster because it's code I don't have to write, test, and

Whenever I get into Perl vs. XYZ language discussions, I find CPAN to be
the one argument no one can really counter.  


On Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 11:02:26AM -0800, Thomas J Keller wrote:
> Hi All,
> This is probably cheating. Tough, defending Perl against this Python  
> snob should get you riled up enough to burn up a few of those T-day  
> calories. So help me out here. Any other good arguments for this in  
> house discussion? The fellow I got into this with is an Assistant  
> Professor  in the Medical Informatics program. I'd like him to get  
> over his dislike for Perl.
> What occurs to me to say is that if you can't understand someone  
> else's perl code, they either didn't intend you to, or they were too  
> short-sighted to write it properly. And what I like about Perl is  
> that I can do anything with it that needs to be done. (I usually have  
> to ask some help from the highly vaunted perl mongers of course.)
> Tom
> Begin forwarded message:
> >From: "Aaron Cohen" <cohenaa at ohsu.edu>
> >Date: November 28, 2005 10:44:55 AM PST
> >To: "Tom Keller" <kellert at ohsu.edu>
> >Subject: Re: Genomics at OHSU
> >
> >Tom:
> >Challenges are good when they lead to interesting discussions.  
> >Here's my two cents.
> >
> >I can't argue against the fact that Perl is good for one line  
> >string manipulations. However, old-fashioned Unix tools such as sed  
> >do the same thing.
> >Python isn't geared towards this kind of brevity. The reason that I  
> >like Python is that it makes me more productive, and I have been  
> >able to use it as a single language
> >to do lots of things, both small and large quickly.
> >
> >I think that any Python lover (not just me) would admit that Python  
> >doesn't provide the "least characters" way of doing things. But  
> >they would also consider
> >that a low priority compared to programmer productivity, debugging  
> >time, ability to understand other's code, etc. The problem with  
> >using brevity as a measure of goodness is that it becomes  
> >irrelevent for programs of any decent size. I like Python because I  
> >have writing all kinds of complex programs (genetic optimizers,  
> >machine learning classifiers, statistical analyzers, video editors,  
> >Sudoku solvers, etc.) and months or years later I can still  
> >understand the programs that I wrote.
> >My gripe against Perl is that I can't make heads or tails out of  
> >someone else's code without a language manual by my side. Do you  
> >have any experience in taking and adapting someone else's largish  
> >Perl code? Perhaps your experience is different.
> >
> >That said, one should always pick an appropriate tool for the job,  
> >and if Perl works for what you're doing, great. I think that you  
> >implied that Perl is your first language, so you may want to look  
> >into another as a comparison. I like Python, but I have heard some  
> >nice things about Ruby. And of course, Java is always a good  
> >language to know something about.
> >
> >-Aaron
> >
> >>>>Thomas J Keller <kellert at ohsu.edu> 11/25/2005 9:30 AM >>>
> >Hi Aaron,
> >As you can see, once I'm given a challenge, I don't easily let it go:
> >
> >After sending my last message, I realized there was an even shorter
> >perl method from the command line
> >$ perl -pe 'y/Z/5/'
> >
> >
> >Tom

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