Why did I Write them in Perl?
I use whatever computer language is most suitable for a particular task (and
often mix several to create a single program). The Perl programs for download
from my site are all simple or general purpose file processing utilities. Perl
is good for that task because:
- Text processing: Perl has lots of sophisticated built in
text processing commands almost ideal for the file processing tasks. These
programs would have taken far longer to write in C.
- Cross platform: Perl is available on many different
operating systems so I won't have to scrap & rewrite these programs when I
change between computers.
- Cost: It is free.
- Adaptable: Being an interpreted script language &
fairly free format, it is quick to write or adapt Perl programs for one-off
specific tasks. If you want one of these programs to behave slightly
differently from how I have made it, it will probably be quite quick for you to
tweak it by altering its source code. The alternative scheme, for the
programmer to put in every possibility they think the user might want and
create a graphical user interface for the settings, would have taken so long
that I would not be bothered writing them. (Well, I did try once a few years
ago. Writing a multiple file search & replace program in Microsoft Visual C++ with
a GUI took 3 days! The Perl equivalent without a GUI took a couple of minutes.)
- Microsoft Windows deficiency 1: Most of the computers I use run a
Microsoft operating system (typically Win NT4 or Win 2k at present) and, compared to
Unix shell languages, their Microsoft DOS derived shell programming language is
pathetic. Therefore I use Perl as shell script substitute on Microsoft Windows (an
alternative would be to install a Unix emulator).
- Microsoft Windows deficiency 2: Microsoft Windows also lacks file bulk
processing programs ('sed', 'grep', 'awk' etc.). Perl has equivalents to these
built in so, once again, I use it to make up for useful things Microsoft missed out.