Will the tightening economy make Perl more attractive?

Based purely on speculation and my own view of the universe, rather than on any material evidence, I was wondering if the tightening of economies around the world may not end up being beneficial for Perl.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting something insane like Perl makes you keep your job. But rather I’m speculating that it might help simply because Perl isn’t used soley for the web. So take, for example, the situation where a company has a dedicated web developer and a site written in something other than Perl. If they also have a dedicated Sysadmin then you can bet that much of the stuff in the back end is written in either Perl or Python. Since Perl has been around longer, its more likely to be that.

To be fair, your web developer might be mightily skilled at design and PHP. They may be totally XHTML 1.0/strict and CSS2.1 + firefox/safari proprietary extensions compliant. They may have “mad Javascript skillz”, and they may even be pretty fun to hang out with – say Dex of 17, Chr of 16 and Int of 16. Your sysadmin character is likewise highly skilled at (whatever the hell it is that non-sysadmins think we do and get paid for, because yeah, we can do that :-). Okay, so your techie might have the social skills of a somewhat evolved baboon, easily distracted by shiny objects (or “hi tech gadgets” as we call them now), and the sole demand for raman noodles, but they too are pretty good at their job. Lets call it Chr 12, Dex 15, but an Int of 17 and Wis 17.

In a tightening economy, which would you fire, your Sysadmin or your Web designer?

You see people may believe that “Perl whatever’s“, but it doesn’t. Its actually pretty useful at doing things. At getting the data from your database to your Apache config, to your BIND zone files, to your password files and your websites. Its also pretty handy at quietly monitor the entire network 24/7, and record all of your important information, and parsing your log files.

PHP … not really quite the so handy in that arena. And I do remember a very intelligent developer (of C) friend of mine some 10 years ago back in PHP v3 days trying to admin her box with PHP scripts. More of the kind of thing that developers do when they’re bored than having any practical purpose.

And lets face it. You can let the servers run themselves, or you can let the web site run itself. Which is more likely to break. The fast moving always on, always doing things servers or the website?

I’m not saying that knowing Perl will save your job. I’m certainly not wishing any PHP/Ruby/Python devs lose their jobs. Please guys not spams, we like you, really. I’m just speculating that because Perl isn’t used solely for developing webapps, being a Perl dev might not be a bad thing right now.


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