[sf-perl] "Perl Needs Better Tools" by Matisse Enzer

David Fetter david at fetter.org
Mon Aug 29 11:10:25 PDT 2005

On Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 10:12:26AM -0700, Joseph Brenner wrote:

> Matisse Enzer, continues to propound and expand on the thesis he
> was advocating over chinese food at a recent perl meeting:
> "Perl Needs Better Tools":

>    http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2005/08/25/tools.html

> Quick summary: perl IDEs are lagging behind Java, and this is a bad
> thing.  EPIC/Eclipse is doing okay, maybe it could be improved?  Or
> maybe there's another solution.

Even though I am quite happy with the tools I have, I'd love to see
better tools...but a few things jump quickly to mind.

1.  For Perl, the sky is not falling, and it's not smart to say that
it is, even if saying so gets quick, loud press.  Although Java is not
as awful as it used to be, that does not make it the be-all and
end-all of languages.  It seems to me that Java was designed to be
used by large, mindless flocks of coders who operate under close
supervision.  It far from obvious to me that this is a good approach
even for Java, so it is even farther from obvious to me that pushing
Perl in this direction is a good idea.

2.  It has become fairly obvious to me that XP
<http://www.softwarereality.com/ExtremeProgrammingRefactored.jsp> is a
fad that people will remember with a "fondness" usually reserved for
leisure suits and boogie shoes.  Much of this "refactoring" business
is predicated on the idea that XP is here to stay, so it's important
to be able to factor that out of any assessments, if you'll pardon the

3.  Lots of changed or written lines of code do not equal
productivity.  Quite often, the opposite holds.  As Kernighan once
remarked, "on a really productive day, I managed to cut 1000 lines of
code."  GUIs don't help with this.  Moving at a frenetic pace doesn't
help with this--in fact, quite the opposite.  What does help is good
team communication and good prior design.

David Fetter david at fetter.org http://fetter.org/
phone: +1 510 893 6100   mobile: +1 415 235 3778

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