[self-interest] Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and..

Toby Ovod-Everett toby at ovod-everett.org
Fri Aug 7 05:23:21 UTC 2009

On Thu, Aug 06, 2009 at 12:37:33PM -0700, Steve Dekorte wrote:
> One of the two languages mentioned that was supposed to be simpler was  
> "Perl". Do you really think that someone can learn Perl (get their  
> head around the bevy of different semantic and syntactical constructs  
> they will come across) faster than Smalltalk?
> I know people that programmed in Perl for years and couldn't make  
> heads or tails out of their own code when coming back to it after 6  
> months. I've never heard of this happening with Smalltalk.

Unless they wrote it using Class::Prototyped in Perl ;)

Just sticking up for Perl a smidgin - I do 99% of my programming in Perl, even
if sometimes I wish I lived in a world where I did 99% of my programming in
Self (I, for better or worse, do Win32 system administration, including an
aggressive focus on managing workstations, which pretty much means I need a
language that plays well with Win32, which Perl does and I've been coding
aggressively in it for 13+ years, which makes it hard to change).

But if you're ever stuck in Perl and miss Self, take a look at
Class::Prototyped.  http://search.cpan.org/dist/Class-Prototyped/
I'd been missing Self when I wrote Class::SelfMethods, and then Ned Konz wrote
C::P, and then some serious lightbulbs went off in my head and the two of us
ended up in a coding frenzy that resulted in major redesign and the result was
very Self-like semantics with Perlish syntax.  And then he moved on to Squeak,
and I kept maintaining, including adding some aspect-ish like stuff (although
I didn't know and still don't know much about AOP).

Anyway, one way to get at the core of the Perl vs. Self dichotomy (although
one of things I'm pointing out above is that it's possible to have Self-like
semantics in Perl due to the flexibility built into Perl) might be to think
about natural languages vs. designed languages - i.e. English vs. Lojban.  The
first is ugly and messy and full of all sorts of weirdness.  The latter is
supposedly much cleaner, but notice that many more people speak the former.

--Toby Ovod-Everett

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