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Sorry PHP, but Perl is my first love

Sorry PHP, but Perl is my first love

camels
Stonewall Thomas

This may make me sound horribly old, but the first language that I learned to write interactive web programs in was Perl. I'm not sure whether my love of the camel mascot had any bearing on the decision, but I quickly discovered the power of the language and its contributed modules - I was totally hooked. The language wasn't specifically developed for the web in the way PHP was, but its text-handling capabilities made it an absolute perfect fit. HTML documents are just text documents anyhow, right? I don't know if Perl's falling behind PHP was related to its complication and difficult syntax, but it's certainly not due to any lack of versatility.

The first large site I wrote in Perl was a CRM system, at the request of my employer. It was actually a very powerful and secure program that kept track of a user's contacts and appointments. It did not end there. The system would allow sales input under a customer to generate and email invoices, and schedule ad runs on our site. A handy calendar made it really easy for the ad manager to know what was running on which days all at a glance. Built into it was an inter-office communication system that kept people out of their inboxes and into the system - not to mention reminders for birthdays, anniversaries and vacations. I look back and I am so amazed that I wrote the entire thing by myself, but I was excited by the new technology and that makes me more focused than anything else that I can think of.

I work mostly in Drupal now which is PHP-based, but every time someone comes at me with a data-specific dilemma or a horrible spreadsheet cleanup job - it's Perl to the rescue. I use it to generate certificates based on specific criteria and spreadsheet data all the time. Sloppy data in, a folder full of PDFs ready for distribution out.

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