Strong Growth in Perl Jobs market

According to eWeek the number of Perl jobs grew by 26% since 2009.

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Perl’s Resurgence

It has been a long time since I posted on this blog.

I haven’t posted due to being busy with work and life, but it seems that I stopped trying to write about Perl at exactly the wrong time because in the past two years Perl has flourished again.

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ShadowCat’s “Enlightened Perl Iron Man Competition”


ShadowCat Systems, an open-source development company from the UK posted an entry on their blog today which hits the nail on the head. Perl needs marketing and it needs it within the realms that the rest of the world moves.

We, the collective Perl consciousness, do not really like all this modern internet stuff. We don’t appear to like blogging, we don’t appear to like forums and pretty web 2.0 stuff? That’s right out. As Matt so correctly described it

Perl people hang out on mailing lists. We bottom post, carefully interleaved, with 76 character lines. We have signatures that meet the McQ standard for acceptable size. We hang out on IRC servers and bitch, moan, interact and collaborate with the aid of an 80×25 xterm with irssi, BitchX or IrcII in it[3]. Sometimes we sit at home with a beer and do one or more of the above. Forums? Meh. Those are the things the PHPtards like because they can’t figure out how to work a mailing list, right? Blogs? That’s not even a fucking word!

I hate to quote so much at once, but this paragraph captures the issue completely. The reason for all of the “Perl is fading” nonsense is almost entirely because we don’t seem to like to talk about Perl in any format which is post-1997.

But it seems that we have finally started to realize that this is a problem and have, to paraphrase, “become the change that we want to see” because we’re actually seeing blogs about Perl which if not exactly web 2.0 are at least not from 1997.

The most popular “new” site of course is Perl Buzz, but it isn’t the only site. There are many small blogs where people post infrequent articles about Perl, but finding them can be tricky. To help address this issue Shadowcat’s Matt Trought has decided to start handing out awards to people for frequent postings on Perl through his Enlightened Perl Iron Man Competition.

If you haven’t already read the article then you should do. Really. Matt expresses his frustrations with what can only be described as proper English enthusiasm – yeah, that does mean with lots of swearing. And frankly he’s right. Every word of it is true.

Indeed I can remember posting a similar rant on starting to post at blog. Sadly the server behind it was a freebie server hosted by a friend and it needed to be ditched and, as yet, I’ve not seen the data since to resurrect the blog else where. My irritations were something similar – although I also went on to criticize the fact that for years we’ve been told that Perl 6 will be better and “is coming”. For my efforts I got a couple of snarky comments telling me that I shouldn’t criticize Perl 6 , that I was only adding to the problems by doing so, and one note saying that “I did go on..”.

Well that was my rant, and Matt has posted his. But Matt has also gone on to proposed a solution, his “Perl Iron Man Competition“. To paraphrase a commonly used term about the current economy, perhaps we are seeing Perl’s green shoots of recovery?

I hope so. Rock on Matt!

Perl 6 and the “Vaporware” Label

Perusing Perlbuzz, as I tend to do on a rainy saturday afternoon, I was intrigued by Andy Lester’s latest post “Perl 6 isn’t exactly vaporware” in which he comments on the vaporware label that is often used around Perl 6.

I must say that I found it quite interesting to see Andy calling for an early adopter’s release of Rakudo because as he notes,

but the fact still stands that Perl 6 is vapor enough for most organizations wanting to do anything useful.

A while ago I moved this blog to my own site on Posting about the move I tried to explain what I was hoping to achieve with the blog – to do my part in building attention to Perl. As part of this I made the observation that I believe one of the reasons that industry interest has turned away from Perl is because, in part, that we keep being promised that P6 is coming, but there is no usable implementation.

The comments I received about the post concentrated only on this part of the post and it was noted that by “bashing” Perl 6 in this way I was only adding to the problem. I suppose that a comment such as this from someone who claims to support Perl could be construed as in-fighting, but this was not the intent of my comment. Rather I was pointing out what I believe to be a very simple flaw in our collective front; that by talking about how great this language will be, but never having anything substantial in circulation, we look bad. Think about the disparaging comments that circulated about Microsoft and its repeated resetting of release dates for various versions of Windows and Office.

I’m not, of course, knocking Perl 6, its hard working designers or developers, or any such thing. Indeed quite the opposite I’m trying to say how I think Perl can be improved after all more interest in Perl means more, and sustained, interesting in Perl 6. Having tried to explain my thoughts, I was amused to read Andy’s post stating exactly the same point that I was trying to get across – that I think Perl is already the best solution to many problems, and that the descriptions we get of Perl 6 make me curious and want to use it, but that I cannot because it isn’t yet available in a form which is stable enough for general use.

Of further interest to those in the Perl community who have a similar view to mine are some of the comments posted in response to Andy’s posting. Indeed the second commenter asks

Have you actually looked at the November source code? It’s full of ugly workarounds and quirky hacks to work around Rakudo bugs

This is a rather disconcerting comment is further strengthened as the author makes mention of some of the issues and while supporters can easily wave off most of them the comment author provides one example as:

3. List assignment. my ($x, $y) = 1, 2; doesn’t work right now

If something like this doesn’t work then it seems to be a long way from being usable. Now your definition of usable may be different from mine, but in my definition it means I can write my apps using it. It doesn’t, of course, mean that I don’t want/like Perl 6 or its designers or developers. I don’t have anything against it, I just don’t think that it is ready and both Andy’s post and the associated comments appear to emphasize that point.

So while it is being developed IMO that the rest of us can help rebuild the love for Perl by concentrating on what Perl can do right now and just accept that Perl 6 isn’t going to be in a cinema near you soon. So lets go Team Perl! :)


Incidentally, this is being posted here rather than on my own site,, because its currently being moved to a new server. It was previously hosted on a box thrown together from junk in 1999. As you might imagine it was slow when receiving any real level of traffic but it was finally withdrawn from service due to its power usage. As a sign of the times, RedBus – the London, England, data center in which the box was hosted – has recently changed its billing calculations to include power consumption and as such a 9 year old box was not a good thing to have around for free and so it needed to be pulled. As a comparison cabinet space and bandwidth, the usual billing metric for data centers, is all but free. The migration has yet to be completed due to various complicating factors. Until then I’ll likely be posting through wordpress again.

Google Search Trends for Scripting Languages

I was poking around on Google earlier and ended up on their search trends page. One of the examples they provided was to compare the searches for the four major script languages, Perl, PHP, Ruby and Python so I decided to see what the data was like for that.

There are no major surprises, sadly, but as you might expect PHP has more searches, but the most noticeable issue after this is that searches for all four languages have decreased since 2004 when the data was first collected.

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