I’m a Perl coder, and have been for fourteen years now. It’s the language I’m most fluent in, the language I grew up in.
When it comes down to it, any reasonably modern dynamic language could do. I could live in Python or Ruby, but Perl has one killer out-of-the-box feature that would be hard to live without: CPAN.
CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, is an archive of thousands of open source Perl modules, easily installable on any system. Perl, by itself, is a sewing machine; with CPAN, you get an enormous collection of patterns and pre-made accessories you can pull into your design, without needing to start from scratch every time.
- solve Sudoku puzzles? Game::Sudoku
- create PDF files? PDF::API2
- search the Koran? Religion::Islam::Quran
- access data on MySpace? WWW::MySpace
- hyphenate Portuguese words at syllable breaking points? Lingua::PT::Hyphenate
- write your own parser for custom languages and formats? Parse::RecDescent
- manipulate RSS or Atom feeds? Plagger
- get dates in and out of the French revolutionary calendar? DateTime::Calendar::FrenchRevolutionary
It’s not that other languages don’t have centralized code repositories (I like Rubyforge, for example), but CPAN’s bigger, often better tested, and more comprehensive (there are very few open source Perl module distributed outside of CPAN).
I’ve been enjoying learning more about what makes CPAN tick, as I author my first open source Perl module.