DEV Community

Brian McNabola
Brian McNabola

Posted on

Is Perl still used ?

When I started as a junior sysadmin with zero scripting skills. I inherented many perl scripts that I just used for operational tasks.
Some of our monolithic apps are still running on perl. But nobody touches these servers as the dev talent pool has cycled and anyone with perl knowledge is gone. I attempted to learn perl I did manage to write a script to emulate a user logon to one of our apps but just couldnt grow to love it, finding solice in python and bash instead.
I never heard or read much discusssion about perl so is there many people here actively using it and for what ?

Top comments (16)

Collapse
 
jonasbn profile image
Jonas Brømsø

I use Perl a lot since it is a part of my boring stack, prototypes, legacy and greenfield.

With two marvellous web-frameworks: Mojolicious and Dancer and everything CPAN/MetaCPAN. Perl is still a very useful and it have never lost it's power.

I have started writing up some tutorials on different things Perl and clicking the #perl tag did not list much, but it did lead me to your post :-)

Collapse
 
janux_de profile image
Jan Mewes • Edited

The Git repository consists of 7.8% Perl code. So if you are using Git via the command line, you are using Perl under the hood - every day for years to come.

Collapse
 
brianbola profile image
Brian McNabola

Wow right infront of me everyday.

Collapse
 
janux_de profile image
Jan Mewes • Edited

It seems like it isn't an essential part though:

  • "Perl" version 5.8 or later is needed to use some of the features (e.g. preparing a partial commit using "git add -i/-p", interacting with svn repositories with "git svn"). If you can live without these, use NO_PERL. Note that recent releases of Redhat/Fedora are reported to ship Perl binary package with some core modules stripped away (see lwn.net/Articles/477234/), so you might need to install additional packages other than Perl itself, e.g. Time::HiRes.

github.com/git/git/blob/master/INS...

Collapse
 
msoedov profile image
Alex Miasoiedov

I believe Booking.com folks still using Perl for most of their back-end.

Collapse
 
spazm profile image
Andrew Grangaard

confirmed: booking uses a lot of perl.

Collapse
 
tanami profile image
Tanami

One reason which has not been discussed here is that the majority of Perl users have been using it for a long time and there is very little "flux" from new people learning it... that does not mean that Perl is a bad or an outdated language though!

Collapse
 
manchicken profile image
Mike Stemle

I use Perl for existing stuff, and new stuff. It's still a super powerful language, and it was the first language to have a framework (Mojolicious) fully implement WebSockets.

Perl may not be the most popular language, but it's one of the most reliably-present languages, and there is still strong community support.

Collapse
 
val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca

To make changes to existing code / services? Yes
For greenfield projects? No

Collapse
 
smonff profile image
🌌 Sébastien Feugère ☔

We started something like 5 projects from scratch that are 95% Perl at my company in the last 3 years and there were no existing code in this language.

Collapse
 
choroba profile image
E. Choroba

I actively use Perl, both for work and my personal projects. At work, it drives our backend (runs database queries, provides web resources, etc.).

Collapse
 
mikeninerbravog profile image
Mike Niner BRAVOG

I just want said two examples of use of Perl: cpanel and webmin.
Perl it's powerful. If you master Perl you will play like a child with PHP and Python and also with all their frameworks. I'm programmer in Perl since 1996 and still working. Very well paid stack by the way. Better than PHP and Python!

Collapse
 
smonff profile image
🌌 Sébastien Feugère ☔ • Edited

Where did you work? I would love to maintain those Perl scripts.

Collapse
 
brokenbittech profile image
BrokenBitTech

I have been building large Perl web and automation apps for about 20 years now and I haven't ever had problems finding work maintaining existing applications.

My last corp job was for a large drug testing laboratory and their whole show was run in Perl -- two large apps: one web app that I wrote, another that ran all the processing/automation. Both were over 300k+ lines of super clean, maintainable Perl code in a CI/CD pipeline and deployed to AWS ECS.

There hasn't been much new built using only Perl for 8-10 years, except by older devs that need a job (eg: me). Python has taken over Perl's niche for 'gluing together the internet', PHP5 took over the 'quick and dirty website' niche that Perl+Apache/cgi/mod_perl never made simple.

Most of the Perl code you see is unmaintainable because it was written by people that weren't software engineers ... they Google'd (or AltaVista'd) and cut/pasted bad code together until something worked. There are hundreds of JavaScript devs entering the market every year that aren't very good either, but the modern JavaScript tooling is super simple to use and makes it hard to spit out terrible code ... and Perl's tooling falls short or is difficult to get going.

These days I make my money maintaining older Perl codebases and helping (or convincing) companies it is time to convert the app to NodeJS or Python before there aren't any of us old farts (41) left to run it.

Collapse
 
dougmckechie profile image
Douglas McKechie

We have a team in the company I work for which does Perl, but its only for an existing client and system. As far as I know there are no new projects being created using Perl.