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May 21, 2009, 1:18 pm
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Perl is simply a tool, nothing more and nothing less, like all
Like other tools, Perl is optimized for a certain range of tasks, like
a hammer for nails or a screwdriver for screws or a wrench for bolts.
The range of tasks that Perl is optimized for is text and data
processing, especially dealing with strings. Other examples are Java
in dealing with very large applications, the .NET languages for
dealing with (mindless) RAD, C and assembly for dealing with hardware
and bits, Lisp for artificial intelligence, Erlang for telecom
applications, and so on.
I'm a database guy, and I use Perl for dealing with large globs of
ASCII data. The reason I use Perl is because it allows me to easily do
what would be much harder in other languages, like transforming data.
I use Perl to spit out reports in a variety of formats: HTML, XML,
PDF, RTF, csv, txt, and so on.
David Cross write a little book a number of years ago entitled 'Data
Munging with Perl.' This can be had cheaply and quickly from
Amazon.com or half.com - best used price is $12.95. I don't
necessarily recommend this as a good book, but it does a good job at
illustrating the kinds of jobs that Perl excels at. You might want to
spend the $13.00 to get it, scan through it, and decide for yourself.
I like to see Perl as a fat, warty, ugly, old woman who will cook your
meals, wash your clothes, clean your house, take care of you, and be a
good companion for your life's journey. If getting the job done
appeals to you, Perl is worth a good, hard look.
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