Development, round II

From: Roger Merchberger <>
Date: Thu Jan 29 09:54:05 1998

;-) Clearing the snow from my glasses, I saw
>I wrote this:
>> Uh, Sir Philip?
>> Maybe there are other reasons that your statement of unsuitability stands,
>> but I can think of one programming language that's very handy (&
powerful &
>> serious) which stores it's digits as charcter codes: Perl. From experience
>> I can tell you that one heckuva lot more stuff gets done with Perl on the
>> WWW than Java -- and it's a lot easier to pgm. in.
>Sorry, Roger, I didn't mean to start a language war. I've never used
>Perl, but I'm told it's good.

Uh, I didn't either. Methinks I've worded my statement a little
incorrectly. The point I was trying to make was this: Just because a
language stores its numbers as strings, doesn't mean it's not a useful
programming language. So if your "unusability" index was only because of
this fact, then I'd say there's no reason REXX couldn't be used for
erstwhile programming. I've had to hack in REXX a ittle bit -- it was some
code written to parse / translate two different data formats... and I'm
sure the company did it for fear of others tampering with their code - REXX
isn't exactly well known in the [blech] WinWorld. (They were running a copy
of WinREXX). I tampered with it... they weren't too happy with me. ;-) ISTR
the language is fairly easy to understand. :)

>REXX, like (I think) Perl, is a macro language. It is designed for
>doing little tasks that don't need lots of computing power. I like REXX
>- I really enjoyed using it at IBM. But it is an interpreted language -
>if I was writing a major application I'd use a compiler - and numbers
>stored as strings are fundamentally slow - I'd use one which stored
>numbers in a way that is fast to use.

A fair amount of programming done in Perl are for small, fast scripts.
However, the mailing list software "Majordomo" is written in Perl, as is
many, many other large, standalone type programs...

Perl is a "JustInTime" compiled program -- it's stored as source code, but
when loaded and executed, it's compiled in memory - then run. As such, it's
execution time (usually) is slower than C, but is faster than BASIC and I
would assume REXX because it's not a fully interpreted language, either.

If the program did a lot of report writing and data manipulation, I would
most definately use Perl -- some programs are faster than the equivilent C
programs because of it's special abilities in this area. However, a
number-cruncher program is best done in C or something else which handles
numbers more quickly.

>But I was being careless. I was actually thinking "number crunching"
>when I said "serious programming". (NB I _have_ done number crunching
>in REXX - the potentially infinite precision is very useful!)

Same with Perl for that -- slow but easy to program; and if the program
runs in 10 hours instead of 3 but took 20 minutes to code instead of 10
hours, which is faster??? ;-) (Same reason I still use basic -- familiarity.)

See ya,
Roger Merchberger       | If at first you don't succeed,
Programmer, NorthernWay | nuclear warhead disarmament should *not*  | be your first career choice.
Received on Thu Jan 29 1998 - 09:54:05 GMT

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