How does programming change and what will it be like in 25 years when you take your flying car to the office? The Perl language and interpreter have proven to be extremely malleable and the resultant ongoing experimentation has yielded steady evolutionary progress in the core, CPAN libraries, and standard practice. Working within such a dynamic, interpreted language allows creative programmers to blur the lines between interpreter and language, present and future.
If we truly understand the workings of the interpreter and the basic constructs of programming languages, we demystify the barrier between any conceivable future and the current reality. Today’s programmers will be using these ideas to tackle the unsolved problems in performance, maintainability, and managing complexity. The future of programming depends on our shared insight and understanding of current languages and technology, not on some magic externality.
We’ll look at the history and future of programming. Specifically, we look 25 years back to the beginnings of Perl and use this perspective to understand the possible future of programming technology, codecraft, and how the way we program will change in the next 25 years.
You will see how a language interpreter works, and how perl works, in particular. We’ll also look at specific CPAN modules, changes in recent versions of the interpreter, and practices which have become common in modern Perl usage. You don’t have to be a Perl expert to benefit from these ideas and once you’ve seen the future, it becomes yours.
Eric Wilhelm is a software and systems consultant, leader of the Portland Perl Mongers, and author of many CPAN modules. Eric is a contributor to several open source projects and founder of a few others.
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