The Urge to Brag

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Way back in the late '90s and early 2000s, many Perl fans could rattle off a list of big projects using Perl: Slashdot, Amazon.com, IMDB. Eyebrows popped up (maybe at one point), as if the fact that billions of dollars of online sales went through Perl were validation of a language.

Perhaps it is.

Today much of the online Perl community discussion reads as reactionary, at least to me. Some random Internet argument will degrade into "Perl? Isn't that insert negative description here?" versus "Nuh uh, Perl isn't insert negative description here!"

Me, I'd rather hear about interesting new projects written in Perl. Take the recent Duck Duck Go written in Perl story. Repeat this a few dozen times (especially with new projects created in the past year or two) and responses will move from "Perl? People still use that?" to "Wow, people who know Perl can certainly do a lot of interesting things!"

I'd rather see the latter message spread than almost any other marketing message—so tell the world, what are you working on with Perl?

4 Comments

I know two rather big Russian projects that AFAIK powered by Perl: russia.ru (internet TV, claim 2.5 mln uniques/month) and whoyougle (whoyougle.ru / whoyougle.com - eng. young interesting reference service. last year received RuNet Award, national internet award - usually means something)

Chris Hardie has a nice talk about framing any discussion. When you use the same words of the negative frame ("Nuh uh, Perl isn't insert negative description here!"), you beg the question that that frame is valid even though you don't intend to reinforce it.

Although chromatic, and most seasoned writers, already know this, every word you use contributes to a proposition that you convey to users. Good writers are good because they don't convey any proposition other than what they intend or care to tolerate.

Some people just don't want to know. Only yesterday I made a post on reddit about a project I was working on. Somewhere in the comments a guy asked me what it was written in (which was nothing to do with the original post). I told him Perl, and he replied "Perl might be part of your problem.. no one uses Perl, etc. etc.". I pointed out that many big sites (BBC, Amazon, Craigslist) use Perl. But he refused to even believe these companies used them, or if they did that they were anomalies, and everyone else doesn't use Perl.

Ok, so there are always going to be people who refuse to listen to anything beyond their preconceived views... but it's hard to know whether there are so many people who think like this that they'll never look at Perl seriously, or if people will eventually come around and give Perl a chance.

It has been said, but it seems like the Perl community values internal infrastructure work much more than outwardly facing projects (websites, applications, etc.) It would be great if more people talked about the fun projects they are doing. I know I am guilty of not blogging about my personal projects.

Anyways, I'll try to brag here. :) I started a web-based scrabble clone at www.leisurelyletters.com. I also have a hosted (or standalone) web-based IRC client running at www.usealice.org. The source code for both sites are on github.

Neither are particularly popular (yet?!), but hopefully they show people that Perl can be used for the fun stuff too.

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This page contains a single entry by chromatic published on July 10, 2010 9:16 AM.

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