Some months ago, I read an article by someone who teaches Perl to Java programmers. In it, the author wonders a bit about some of Perl’s features which seem counterintuitive to those coming from a Java background. As you might expect, one of those features is its typing. He says:
For example: stern, protective type safety is not only missing from Perl but actually not even considered particularly desirable. Perl is relaxed. The reaction from students is, naturally: “Isn’t this a huge obstacle to getting anything done?” Obviously the answer is “No”, but even after all the Perl I’ve written I sometimes wonder why not. Is it really just the fact that it takes less time to type method signatures and variable declarations?
At the time I read this, I thought to myself, “Hey, I know the answer to that!” But I just jotted it down as a potential blog topic and let it percolate for a bit. Many folks reading this will also know the answer, but it’s an interesting topic, and I’m sure someone will get something out of it.