Why I Am Not A Java ProgrammerPosted: September 27, 2004
OK, anyone that reads my blog KNOWS I’m not talking about myself here. But I’m still curious about what debates folks are having out there in the software engineering world. Here’s a recent note on why Perl is better than Java. Java is now in fashion at work. Personally, I don’t notice whole lot of excitement from the engineers about Java. But they do most certainly consider C++ a “serious” language and Perl for the hack. Sorry, I know I’m putting words in people’s mouths–but sometimes you just have to generalize!
Any-who, here’s a blurb from the article that caught my eye:
To paraphrase Doug Gwyn on Unix, Perl was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things.
From a managerial perspective, I hear over and over again how Java stops programmers from doing stupid things. The opposite as a plus was an interesting take I never heard before. The author’s conclusion at the end of his note follows this same message:
Perl is a concise language, designed to make it quick and easy to turn thought into code. Java is a syntactically simple and consistent language, designed to encourage good style and be easy to embed. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but people rarely agree on which is which. People are funny that way. Some want to save you from yourself by restricting you. Some want to let you be yourself by removing as many restrictions as possible. Both are fraught with peril. I happen to like the latter peril better.
The one thing not discussed by the article was performance which is a huge issue for us at work. C++ still rules from that perspective. Handling millions of transactions per day notwithstanding, could Perl upend Java some day in popularity because of its supposed easier learning curve? I’m sure fancy professors nationwide will do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’ve done some kindergarden Java programming back in ’96. I’ll have to try Perl out and compare ease of ramp up for myself. I’d be curious to hear anyone else’s opinions on which of the two languages they prefer.