Perl case studies

I've often thought it would be interesting and useful to read about how various companies are using Perl. Richard Jelinek's talks at LPW 2012 have encouraged me to see whether (a) there's enough general interest in this to make it worth while, and (b) I/we can kick-start it. In this post I'll outline what I'm currently thinking about, to get feedback.

I'm thinking of a series of articles or case studies, one per organisation. There would probably be a number of sections, for example:

  • a marketing style overview "our web site handles a gazillion requests per month, and the whole thing is in Perl".
  • how are they using perl and how do they see their usage evolving. This would get into what frameworks they're using, what things they've written for themselves vs used from CPAN, any interesting aspects of their development process & tools.
  • If appropriate, and they're happy to share, the architecture of their system(s), and lessons they've learned about it/them, and what things they plan to change.
  • what prompted them to choose Perl, what do they particularly like about it, and what don't they like. What partcular challenges have they faced, whether Perl related or not.
  • if the "cover story" was one key application or serice where they used perl, then another section might cover "other ways we use perl"
  • what are some areas where they don't use perl, and why
  • reader contributed questions, curated rather than a free-for-all.

So I'm imagining a mixture of marketing showcase, technical implementation details, and other aspects. These might end up as quite long articles, but parts might be pulled out for use in different contexts. For example the marketing sections from a number might be included together elsewhere in the perl webverse.

For each organisation I'd see a number of Q&A sessions required, probably a mixture of email and/or Skype.


  • Would you like to see such a series, and do you think it would be good for Perl?
  • What organisations could be included? We all know that uses Perl, and I know that imdb at least used to (don't know if they still do), but what and who else?
  • What other topics should be included? What specific questions should everyone be asked?


When asking "what organisations could be included?", I wasn't thinking who should be "allowed in", but asking the more general "what organisations are using Perl in a way that's worth writing about?" I just don't know many for sure, but I'm fairly sure there are some out there... So give me some names!


I'd love to see such a series. I assume it would be good for Perl, always nice to have some testimonials.

As far as who goes, anyone is fine by me. There are many more small and medium businesses that large ones, so it would be nice to hear from them as well.

Specific questions might be primary applications, system and hardware overview, some idea of the size and age of codebase, how many developers, what other languages are used and how Perl fits into that mix. Mix of modern vs crufty Perl.

+1 to everything Bill said.
Yes, I would read it. Yes, it can turn out to be important for Perl.
Please make it happen.

"Would you like to see such a series, and do you think it would be good for Perl?"

Very much so!

"What organisations could be included?"

Well, any that uses Perl, or what? Any commercial and non-commercial company.

"What other topics should be included? What specific questions should everyone be asked?"

Which building blocks (libs, frameworks) were used and why? What were major obstacles? How was the project managed? etc. The usual questions revolving around software project management.

This is an awesome idea. I think organizations of all sizes would be good to include, because different readers are inspired by different examples.

What specific questions should everyone be asked?

What about asking them what version of Perl they use (are they still using 5.8?).

If you are going to interview IMDB then ask them why they still aren't using Unicode on their website.

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About Neil Bowers

user-pic Perl hacker since 1992.