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Masterminds of Programming by Chromatic, Federico Biancuzzi

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Chapter 15. Perl

The Language of Revolutions

How do you define Perl?

Larry Wall: Perl is an ongoing experiment in how best to incorporate some of the principles of natural language into computer language, not at a shallow syntactic level like COBOL, but at a much deeper pragmatic level. Some of the fundamental principles of human language are—well, here, let me paste you a list:

  • Expressiveness is more important than learnability.

  • It’s quite OK to speak in “baby talk” if you happen to be a baby.

  • A language can be useful even before you have learned the whole language.

  • There are often several good ways to say roughly the same thing.

  • Every linguistic utterance gets meaning from many contexts at once.

  • Your language is agnostic about which context you should optimize for today.

  • Your language does not enforce any particular paradigm in exclusion to others.

  • Efficient communication requires a certain amount of linguistic ...

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