Perl Advocacy

Scott Walters root at
Fri Jan 19 11:50:36 CST 2001


Rhote answers follow, you've all been warned ;)
(This is a frequently asked question, btw).

On Fri, 19 Jan 2001 Cakperldev at wrote:

> Hi there everyone. Hope Tuesday's meeting went well.
> I have a question about advocacy that I'd like your thoughts on.
> First, some background.
> I work for the Phoenix Municipal Court in the IST department writing and 
> maintaining software for our Court Management System. This system is written 
> in a language called JAM. The system is currently character based and the 
> court would like to move to GUI. There are a number of possible commercial 
> solutions all of which have some drawbacks so I took the liberty of 
> developing and demonstrating a possible perl/Tk solution for my boss as 
> another option.
> He is interested in it but has some reservations about converting our entire 
> system to perl. I have already used perl to solve some really sticky problems 
> in our system so he knows that perl can do the job. His concerns are about 
> the longevity and viability of perl as a language. Will it be around in two 

Perl is probably the most popular langauge for web usage (can anyone confirm
or deny this?). Perl comes with all major Linux distributions and installs
by default. ActiveState markets it and support for Windows. Microsoft has
announced plans to officially support it for Windows (and has funded ActiveStates

> years? Who maintains it? If we update our database, where do we get new 
> drivers? Who supports it? That kind of thing.

Hundreds of people maintain in. The licenses its distributed under assure
that the right to distribute source and maintain it will never be revoked.
Since anyone can write a database driver for it, its only a matter of
time untill any new database is added. Open source software is far more
reliable then closed source software on this matter: rather then support
being a question of profits, its a matter of need. As soon as a qualified
person needs the support, it's written. Since Perl supports several
databases natively in addition to ODBC, it already has more comprehensive
database support then VB (how does it compare to Java? I don't know what
or how many database drivers Java has, but Perl must compare favorably
on this front).

> So my question to you is, if you were in my place, what resources would you 
> point your boss to in order to improve his/her comfort level with perl as a 
> real world solution?

I tend to tell employers point blank, that programmers LIKE to program in Perl,
and they are better off with programs who want to program in the language they
are using, rather then paying huge figures trying to find someone who is 
willing to program in a given language. Perfectly qualified, intelligent
programmers often resort to programming COBOL and RPG just because of the money.

> Thanks

Hope this helps. Apology in advance for any misinformation. The alert readers
of this list will surely correct me ;)


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