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.

Just gave a five-​minute light­ning talk about blog­ging at The Perl and Raku Conference in the Cloud 2021. Here are the slides as a PDF.

Update

The con­fer­ence YouTube chan­nel post­ed the video of my talk (see below). I still need to get con­trol of my um“s and ah“s.

This week we con­sid­ered a view­er’s pull request, added admin­is­tra­tor login, and start­ed on adding the SQLite data­base that will store the admin­is­tra­tor’s accep­tance of assign­ments. We also shored up file upload per­mis­sions for authen­ti­cat­ed users only and added a logout link, learn­ing about some more Mojolicious helpers.

You can find the whole series here.

Today Gábor and I con­tin­ued our work on a man­age­ment appli­ca­tion for his train­ing cours­es pow­ered by Mojolicious. Big accom­plish­ment this time: we went from a sin­gle upload form for exer­cis­es going to a pre­set file all the way to a multi-​file form where every exer­cise has its own list of files for sub­mis­sion. We also had a lit­tle detour into Docker-land where we sim­pli­fied his launch com­mand into docker-compose up.

Head on over to Perl Maven if you’d like to catch up with pre­vi­ous install­ments or reg­is­ter with Zoom for the next one sched­uled on Sunday, May 30.

Gábor’s already post­ed today’s video!

It’s real­ly inter­est­ing to see our dif­fer­ent devel­op­ment styles work togeth­er. Gábor’s all about try­ing things imme­di­ate­ly and search­ing the entire web for answers, while I like to read the doc­u­men­ta­tion and work out its writ­ers’ intent.

I’m also embar­rassed that we end­ed on a cliffhang­er” with an unre­solved error, though Gábor post­ed that he man­aged to resolve it.