This week’s Perl and Raku Conference 2022 in Houston was packed with great presentations, and I humbly added to them with a five-​ish minute lightning talk on two of Perl’s more misunderstood functions: map and grep.

Sorry about the um”s and ah”s…

I’ve written much about list processing in Perl, and this talk was based on the following blog posts:

Overall I loved attending the conference, and it really invigorated my participation in the Perl community. Stay tuned as I resume regular posting!

Update for Raku

On Twitter I nudged prominent Raku hacker (and recovered Perl hacker) Elizabeth Mattijsen to write about the Raku programming language’s map and grep functionality. Check out her five-​part series on

I’m busy this week hosting my parents’ first visit to Houston, but I didn’t want to let this Tuesday go by without linking to my talk from last week’s Ephemeral Miniconf. Thanks so much to Thibault Duponchelle for organizing such a terrific event, to all the other speakers for coming together to present, and to everyone who attended for welcoming me.

After a lot of procrastination, I’ve decided my talk for this week’s ePhEmeRaL miniconf will be Cunningham’s Law: A Year of Being Wrong on the Internet, or «prêcher le faux pour savoir le vrai.»

The event starts at 8:00 AM CST on Thursday, November 18; you can find out more about it including the full schedule and a time zone converter here.

Look, I get it. You don’t like the Perl programming language or have otherwise disregarded it as dead.” (Or perhaps you haven’t, in which case please check out my other blog posts!) It has weird noisy syntax, mixing regular expressions, sigils on variable names, various braces and brackets for data structures, and a menagerie of cryptic special variables. It’s old: 34 years in December, with a history of (sometimes amateur) developers that have used and abused that syntax to ship code of questionable quality. Maybe you grudgingly accept its utility but think it should die gracefully, maintained only to run legacy applications.

But you know what? Perl’s still going. It’s had a steady cadence of yearly releases for the past decade, introducing new features and fencing in bad behavior while maintaining an admirable level of backward compatibility. Yes, there was a too-​long adventure developing what started as Perl 6, but that language now has its own identity as Raku and even has facilities for mixing Perl with its native code or vice versa.

And then there’s CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network: a continually-​updated collection of over 200,000 open-​source modules written by over 14,000 authors, the best of which are well-​tested and ‑documented (applying peer pressure to those that fall short), presented through a search engine and front-​end built by scores of contributors. Through CPAN you can find distributions for things like:

All of this is available through a mature installation toolchain that doesn’t break from month to month.

Finally and most importantly, there’s the global Perl community. The COVID-​19 pandemic has put a damper on the hundreds of global Perl Mongers groups’ meetups, but that hasn’t stopped the yearly Perl and Raku Conference from meeting virtually. (In the past there have also been yearly European and Asian conferences, occasional forays into South America and Russia, as well as hackathons and workshops worldwide.) There are IRC servers and channels for chat, mailing lists galore, blogs (yes, apart from this one), and a quirky social network that predates Facebook and Twitter.

So no, Perl isn’t dead or even dying, but if you don’t like it and favor something newer, that’s OK! Technologies can coexist on their own merits and advocates of one don’t have to beat down their contemporaries to be successful. Perl happens to be battle-​tested (to borrow a term from my friend Curtis Ovid” Poe), it runs large parts of the Web (speaking from direct and ongoing experience in the hosting business here), and it’s still evolving to meet the needs of its users.