This is the question that many people seem to be asking even me, I’ve dabbled with Perl over many years but never used it to write more than a few basic scripts.
If you Google “Perl is too hard to learn” or “Perl is dead” you’ll find these and a multitude of other reasons why people are being put off learning or using Perl. Because of this some employers are finding it hard to find good Perl programmers (I am not too sure about this)?
To this end I decided to attend a course run by Dave Cross called ‘Perl for Non-Perl Programmers’ http://perlschool.co.uk/2012/06/modern-perl-for-non-perl-programmers/ to see what all the noise was about. Dave Cross is well known in Perl circles and his purpose for running the course was to expose Perl to more users and get them talking about and using Perl. The course was a full day from 10am – 5pm at the Google Campus www.campuslondon.com. I must admit I wasn’t sure I’d be able to last the day listening to someone talking about Perl!! But the day went quick and Dave’s style was both light hearted and interactive the course covered the following topics:
1: What is Modern Perl?
2: Introduction to Perl
4: Modern Perl Tools
Date & Times
Object Oriented Programming
The course didn’t go into too much depth in these areas but gave you an overview. Object Oriented Programming, Database Access and Web Programming are large subjects on their own and there wasn’t enough time to go into too much detail but Dave will be running further courses covering these individual areas. I learnt a few new things about Perl (References, Context and you shouldn’t have odd versions of Perl on production systems) also it was nice to speak to someone who had a lot of knowledge of Perl. Also I met a few like minded people who I will be keeping in contact with.
Would I recommend the course? Yes I would if you have very little knowledge of Perl or another programming language or you are inquisitive to find out more about Perl.
So my intention was to found out if Perl is dead? I don’t believe this is the case Dave has been a Perl developer since 1998. Or is Perl hard to learn? Yes and no, yes it harder than some other programming languages (I though Java was hard to learn when I first saw it). And no, Perl is no harder to learn than any other programming language it just may take you a bit longer to get your head around the syntax. Will I be learning more Perl? I think so as there seems to be a shortage of people with the right skills.