Is Perl still a useful, viable language?

Three years ago someone asked the question "Is Perl still a useful, viable language?" on I'm not sure what would happen to a "useful, viable language" over time that would cause it to not be that any more - but I'm obviously biased.

The thing that I find intriguing is that the referrer logs for the Map of CPAN show that every day, at least one person follows the link from that question to the mapofcpan site. Every. Single. Day.

It's not even a particularly prominent link. How many people must be asking that question and finding that StackExchange page every day?


Folks need to hear that Mojolicious and Dancer are as good or better than Ruby-on-Rails and Node.js… that the free Modern Perl book is an excellent alternate to the classic Camel… Perl is the future, if only we could convince Larry to call "Perl 6" something else.

I agree that Perl is the future.

However, I think that if you think Perl's future depends on Larry's decision on what to name the next version of Perl, you are both demeaning to the fine folks that keep working on Perl 5, as well as to the fine folks that work on Perl 6.

From a PR point of view, the disaster has already happened. The only way to make Perl work in the future, is to use this disaster to our advantage: SSSDR (aka "Second System Syndrome Done Right).

I think Rakudo Perl 6 is the only chance the Perl mindset has to survive. In a world where CPU's do not get faster anymore, but we all get more of them, we need a Perl that can make use of this computing power in a Perlish way. Otherwise, Perl will just become an antiquated MS-DOS text window in a 4K screen graphics world. Fine if you have an MS-DOS application. Not so good if you want to stay competitive.

Do you want to know how to convince people that Perl is a viable language?

It's simple.

Stop talking and start building cool stuff in it.

Bonus points if they are web applications because then you can demo it easily. It doesn't matter if the front-end is in node.js, Angular or whatever - if the back-end is in Perl then it demonstates that Perl is viable.

Then go shout about your creations on social media (#perl?)

Then blog about how you did it. Show it is possible for others to follow in your footsteps.

Counter the stereotypes about Perl by being the counter-example.

I right now am using a free PAAS provider to build a couple of applications in Perl. However the latest version they support is Perl 5.10. There is some roundabout way to install Perl5.2X im told, but i wanna go legit since ive a startup.
Till date we have only built very small scripts at my startup, and now we're scheming on a newsware & a application for schools/college admission.

If TPF can fund some free PAAS hosting options for perl apps, im sure many more startups would opt to build their apps in perl 5/6.
What i am trying to say is Site Hosting as a ploy for language[perl] adoption is an innovation, that *i dont think* many have stumbled on the internet. I too have found it only in one or two places, after checking around with a lot of perl mongers on PM and socialmedia.

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About Grant McLean

user-pic Perl hacker since 1995. Coordinator of in New Zealand.