[Wolves] Python or Perl?

Stuart Langridge stuart.langridge at gmail.com
Wed Jun 22 16:12:27 BST 2005

> At the risk of starting a religeous war, I was wondering what the relative
> merits of Perl and Python are. I'm not a programmer, but, I ought to start to
> learn a language like either of the above so I can write scripts to do useful
> stuff. When I say I'm not a programmer I really mean it :) I've done some
> Bash scripting and a little bit of C but thats it..

You are likely to be either a Perl person or a Python person. People
who like one tend to not like the other; they embed different
philosophies, and one's likely to fit your brain better than the other
one does. Trying to be objective here, I'd suggest that Python is more
understandable for people who haven't done much programming before,
and it comes with more stuff "built in". However, Perl has libraries
available (through CPAN, which is a hige collection of useful Perl
code) do do almost anything you can think of, which Python doesn't.
Perl is better at putting together short scripts to do simple things,
but can also be used for larger programs. Python is sometimes
"embedded" in other applications as that application's scripting
language (OpenOffice.org does this, for example), which Perl generally
isn't. Really, the best thing you can do is try out both: think
yourself up a small project that you want to do, and then attempt to
write it in both languages. You'll either quickly discover that one
seems to work with your mind better, in which case you've made the
decision, or you'll be able to cope with both handily, which will make
you a very versatile coder and stop you being a zealot between the


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