The Joy of Perl

Tomorrow is the 25th birthday of Perl. The Perl programming language.

When I've first heard about it, it was named PERL, the spelling that now is a nice indicator of awareness in the row with Perl and perl. Honestly, I never thought of Perl as of a practical extracting and reporting language, I simply had no clue about which reports and which extractions were mentioned in that definition.

I have first seen the name of the language on the book covers in a book shop in my home town years ago. I cannot tell you when exactly, but it was definitely before 1998. At that time it was only something related to web and programming for me.

Perl is not my first programming language. The first one was C++ (with ++ from the start), and I still find it one of the best languages and tend to use it as soon as there's a small need.

In the end of 2000 I made my first web application which was a web crawler with a simple indexer that collected the pages of the bulletin board of the Radio Russian magazine to let them have an archive of the board (the software they used at that time moved the older posts to nowhere). In a few months it became my first full time job as a web developer.

Since than I had periods when I did not use Perl as the main tool (for example, in the Art. Lebedev Studio) but my feelings to the language did not disappear, and there were a number of projects in the company where I successfully used Perl (even in combination with bare C).

In 2007 I started the YAPC::Russia series (well, it received its name a year later) with the First Russian Perl workshop in Moscow. This project turns now to the list of 32 Perl events (workshops and conferences) in 8 different countries.

A number of Perl monger groups appeared in Russia after that first event in Moscow. Some of them remain strong enough until today to have their annual events organised by themselves.

Four years ago (in the year of the first speed railway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg) we started celebrating Perl's birthday in Saint Petersburg with our SaintPerl workshop, which for the last three years was hosted exactly on 18 December. This year we've got the fourth one on the 21st of December, as this year is not so lucky to have the 18th on the weekend.

I was surprised when I realised that this year's SaintPerl is the 10th Russian Perl workshop (not counting five YAPCs::Russia). Another surprise was when I discovered that the Bulgarian Perl workshop in Sofia lasts for five years already.

There are two blog projects (both frozen now) about the Perl programming language: and where I was fixing on paper my passion about the language and that bright shining Perl 6 from the 2000s.

All in all, Perl for me is not the programming language only. It is a nice combination of smart design and attractive community. I still explore the new ways of programming that modern computer languages offer. For example, I use the Go language in production system, but it is still old friend Perl which makes the major work.

I wish all the Perl programmers, managers, developers and everybody connected with this beautiful (almost human) language to be proud of their work that they do using Perl!

And for you, what does Perl mean?


Thanks for your thoughts, and for sharing your history! Glad to have you as part of the community.

Beautiful post, thank you!

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About Andrew Shitov

user-pic I blog about Perl.