We are tied down to a language which makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.
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I'm seeing this post in 2012 (ok, 30/Dec/2011); and let me tell you; Perl is nowhere near obsolete, I work with ERP and database software that has absolutely nothing to do with Perl. The only reason I even know Perl is because (when it was the major CGI option) I made websites and wanted to learn a CGI language.
Today my use of perl is pretty much restricted to one-liners (and occasional multi-line scripts) to correct, replace and append text to my SQL scripts and procs.
And I do so very, very frequently. There currently is NOTHING, not one program or language available (and I have looked) that can replace perl scripts to do these things. Not that there aren't any programs that can do the same thing, they can; but they're clumsy, unstable, require much more work on my part than a simple perl script and they are always incomplete (they do ALMOST exactly what you need, with perl scripts you make it do EXACTLY what you need).
I've yet to find anything more powerful for batch file processing than a perl shell; and as a Windows user, I recommend strawberry perl portable; I can take it to all my clients and impress everyone with how quickly I can fix all the scripts that need simple changes.
Perl strings has always been something that put question marks and "WTF"s on programmers' heads (even experienced perl programmers). But anyone who's worked with them, misses having them in other languages; a single line that doesn't seem to make any sense can be so damn powerful and replace so many lines of code you wouldn't believe.
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