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Perl Programming in the Modern Web?

November 7, 2010

I recently got an email from a student learning web design (and some basic web programming) … and he said something like this:

I took a web design course and the syllabus only taught Perl …

Wow! They are still teaching Perl!

Perl (is not) part of the modern web … for the most part.

Yes Perl is a powerful language and yes it is still used by a shrinking number of die-hard zealots. But these days, you have a few other languages that are just so much better suited for today’s modern web design and programming:

  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Java

… And there are more.

Perl’s power without its’ weakness.

Perl’s power was largely found in something called regular expressions – RE (as nerd’s call it,) can process and parse text like nothing else. It is tricky to use but so powerful it is, that most … if not all modern programming languages have it built-in now. So Perl’s secret weapon is now gone and all you are left with is the weakness.

To Perl or not to Perl?

No question, just go to PHP or Ruby for your server side programming. Although I think for web designers, PHP is the top choice.


Stefan Mischook

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Should web designers be learning HTML 5?

April 15, 2010

html 5


I am starting to hear that all too familiar nerd-buzz of premature excitement – this time it’s about HTML 5 and all it’s cool new capabilities.

Yes, HTML 5 does have a lot of cool things it can do, and so it’s tempting to jump in and start learning. But that would largely be a waste of time … at least for now.

What?! Isn’t HTML 5 the future?

It sure is. In fact, I’ve been telling people for years that XHTML was a pipe dream (because IE would not support it) and I advised people to stick to good old HTML … even when it was heresy to say so! Here’s the problem (now) with HTML 5 – most of the browsers being used today don’t support it AND it will take a few years before the majority of people out there will have HTML 5 equipped browsers.

… Man, reality does bite!

Hard-core nerds tend to ignore reality

A time long, long ago, in an Internet that is now far, far away … back in the mid to late 1990’s, CSS was invented and naive nerds such as myself started playing with it, investing precious time that could have been spent playing video games, only to find that most of the browsers being used did not support it … so using CSS was basically useless.

… It took several years before CSS enabled browsers had penetrated enough to use CSS in a serious way. Using CSS prior to wide adoption, only ended with wasted time and disappointment, since you could not actually use it live. The same will be true for much of HTML 5 – unless you start hacking and browser sniffing and all kinds of other nonsense.

Let me conclude by quoting Coder’s Code #36:

The wise web designer shall not waste precious time on learning cutting edge technology … if said nerd wishes to earn a living.

Stefan Mischook

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