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1994 marked what I consider the start of the rush to the WWW (not the internet) and it was the birth year of Perl 5 and DBI. The WWW brought to use the ability to easily link to any other site/document/page via hypertext markup language or as we like to say, HTML. This " " idea caused created a stir in the non-tech world for the first time. The WWW, as HTML progressed, started to make using and knowing about computers a little less geek. Most servers were UNIX based and as the needs for dynamic content or form handling grew what language was there to assist? Perl. So Perl became, in a way, the default web language for people that hadn't been entrenched in programming another CGI capable language and just wanted to process a form, create a flat file data store, etc. that is non-techies.

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Considering the web side of it, yes, Perl is being used in far fewer places now. There are two major reasons for this: one is the abundance of other languages (PHP and ::shudder:: ASP, for example). Another is the fact that a lot of sites backed by Perl programming crashed and burned when the dot-coms did. You know what? I don't see this as a big deal. The techies who wrote those sites are still around, likely still using Perl, and hopefully not hurting its reputation by using it to support companies that will never, ever, make any money or do anything useful...ever. (Not to say that all dot-coms were this way, but c'mon, there were quite a few useless companies out there.) These sites were thrown together (in many cases) to make a quick buck. Granted, Perl can be great for quick-and-dirty code, but do we really want it making up the majority of the volume of the code out there?

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For example, I consider the explicit availability of pointers as an important feature of the language that greatly increases its expressive power and far outweighs risks of errors in hands of unskilled practitioners. In other words attempts to make the language "safer" often misfire.

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Consider the Lobster And Other Essays

Return still quicker.—Go; fly!——I was wrong to send Basil out of the way—He might have been very serviceable—But Anger was never wise—I scarcely know at present what I wish—When once the Passions have obtained the Mastery, there is no Mind, however consistent, but becomes as wild and incongruous as a Dream—If the Countess, Susan, and Figaro should understand each other and plot to betray me!—If the Page shut up in her dressing-room—Oh! no!—The Respect she bears herself—my Honor!—My Honor? And in my Wife’s keeping?—Honor in a Woman’s possession, like Ice Cream in the mouth, melts away in a contest of Pleasure and Pain—I will sound Figaro, however.

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While this is not the necessary condition for becoming popular, it really helps: other things equal the weight of the sponsor of the language does matter. For example Java, being a weak, inconsistent language (C-- with garbage collection and OO) was pushed through the throat on the strength of marketing and huge amount of money spend on creating Java programming environment.

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D is a language that attempts to consistently do the right thing within the constraints it chose: system-level access to computing resources, high performance, and syntactic similarity with C-derived languages. In trying to do the right thing, D sometimes stays with tradition and does what other languages do, and other times it breaks tradition with a fresh, innovative solution. On occasion that meant revisiting the very constraints that D ostensibly embraced. For example, large program fragments or indeed entire programs can be written in a well-defined memory-safe subset of D, which entails giving away a small amount of system-level access for a large gain in program debuggability.