Programming Languages & Perl
A Meditation on Perl's Place in the Programming World
Asking Important Questions
- How much is Perl used these days?
- Do existing Perl users write new projects in Perl?
- Are existing Perl users moving away from Perl?
- Do new companies choose to use Perl?
- Do we care?
Success is a Double-Edged Sword
Safety Languages vs Dynamic Languages
- The best hackers use dynamic languages
- Only the best hackers can be trusted to use dynamic languages
- Not enough great hackers to go round
- Managers prefer safety languages
- Hold that thought
Dynamic Languages Are Hot
- Ruby on Rails is big news
- How did they get the buzz going?
- Can we learn from that?
- Can we take advantage of their publicity?
- Ruby is a lot like Perl 5
- Perl 6 will be even more like Ruby
Comparing Ruby and Perl
- So Ruby is the coolest thing on the planet right now
- And Perl is yesterday's news
- But Perl and Ruby are very similar
- Ruby doesn't have the historical baggage that Perl does
- Ruby has great PR
- Hold that thought
Golf Course Conversations
Where are the Perl Programmers?
- Increasingly common question from recruiters
- Where are the junior Perl programmers?
- "We can't get good people if we only use Perl"
- "We can't find Perl programmers"
- Where is the demand for Perl training?
- The Perl community is full of very smart people
- But they can also be very rude
- Stop being fucking rude to newbies!
- We need to encourage more people into the community
- You're scaring people away
- Dance Monkeys, Dance!
Pick Your Battles
- We have lost the low-end web programming market to PHP
- Deal with it
- It's not such a major loss anyway
- Losing that part of the market might help lose the "Matt's Scripts" tag
- Losing the "Matt's Scripts" tag would be good for our PR
- We're in danger of losing the middle-level web programming market to PHP and/or .Net
- That's more worrying
Perl Isn't Dead
- The Perl community does all sorts of cool and useful things
- The improvements we've made in testing frameworks for example
- Also Catalyst, Jifty, etc
- In the real world unfortunately that counts for very little
- No-one knows about this work
The Echo Chamber
- Most programmers don't read use.perl or perl.com
- Most programmers don't track CPAN releases religiously
- We are not most programmers
- We are not even most Perl programmers
- We are largely an echo chamber
Marketing to Geeks
- Make sure colleagues know when Perl has saved time
- Introduce them them to CPAN
- Ask your company to buy copies of Perl Best Practices
- Take colleagues to Perl Monger meetings
- Be nicer to people on mailing lists
- Offer to give Perl talks at non-Perl geek meetings
- "Be an advocate, not an asshole"
Marketing to Suits (internally)
- Make sure that managers know when Perl has saved money
- Offer to run lunchtime training sessions
- Be positive - don't criticise alternative technologies
Marketing to Suits (externally)
- We need to get Perl mentioned in management magazines
- Slow process
- Mentions in magazines like Computing lead to mentions in magazines like the Economist
- A lot of content in magazines like Computing is driven by Press Releases
- Can your company produce a press release about success stories using Perl?
- Can your open source project produce a press release when a new version is released?
- Can TPF produce press releases for new versions of Perl?
Releasing Press Releases
- TPF produced a press release for Perl 5.8.0
- As far as I know, no-one published it
- It wasn't widely distributed
- Can you help?
- Do you have IT press contacts?
- Do you know people in the IT media?
Some Vague Conclusions
- Perl isn't dead
- But from outside the echo chamber, it's sometimes hard to see that
- Everyone can be an evangelist
- Bottom-up and top-down
- More Perl usage == More Perl jobs
- Everyone wins