It appears I’ve caused quite a stir in my post about asking Perl to step up. Joey DeVilla on Global Nerdy thinks I’m funny. Several Perl users, including Andy Lester (author of WWW::Mechanize) have corrected me on the fact that it does not require testing for modules to be submitted to CPAN – I stand corrected (I was writing this late at night when I wrote it, as I am now, so bear with me).
This still brings me back to my point that regardless of whether a module has to go through rigorous testing or not to be on CPAN, CPAN contains one of the strongest architectures to prevent bad code from being submitted available. When modules are submitted, they still have access to a large group of testers that will return test results to you and give you feedback. The Perl test suites included in the Perl packaging tools (Test::More, etc.) are some of the strongest unit testing tools I’ve seen.
Andy Lester himself is a great example of why I think Catalyst and other Perl tools and frameworks are much stronger than those of Rails, and have a much stronger and smarter group of developers maintaining them. He is the essence of a true “computer scientist” IMO. From his biography on O’Reilly:
“Andy Lester started with computers early by keypunching letters to Grandma on IBM 029 punchcards. Now into his third decade of professional software development, he’s the QA & Release Manager for Socialtext. Andy is also in charge of PR for The Perl Foundation and maintains over 25 modules on CPAN. Andy’s two latest book projects are Mac OS X Tiger In A Nutshell from O’Reilly, and Pro Perl Debugging from Apress.”
How many of the Rails programmers can say they keypunched letters into punchcards early on? Maybe a few, but I think Zed has a point. Andy himself isn’t a contributor to the Catalyst source code (that I’m aware of), but his skills and experience to me show the breadth of who a Perl programmer is, and the type of people maintaining the Perl Catalyst MVC Framework.
So I guess what I was saying in my previous article is that perhaps some of these programmers, such as John Rockway, Marcus Ramberg, and even Andy Lester or Larry Wall (whom everyone would take notice) should take this opportunity, now that it is in the public eye, to expose what Catalyst brings to the community – why should one use it over Rails? I’d like to see these guys show, through the experience and Computer Science backgrounds that they have, that Catalyst is one of the best options out there for building a scalable web architecture. I’d even suggest each address Zed himself, inviting him to give it a try!
As to the Rails supporters that were commenting, criticizing, and laughing at my “Perl Power” speech previously, perhaps you should step back and learn, rather than laugh at us. I know many of our own that are learning other languages, trying to learn from the Zed experience, trying to figure out how we can better apply principles that Rails brings into our own Frameworks, what works, what doesn’t – you get the point. Those criticizing what I have said, IMO, are simply further proving Zed’s point to an outsider like myself.