I got a mail from Gent, my boss, reminding us (all developers at nSoftware) about the evils of optimization. The quote is originally attributed to C.A. Hoare, restated by Knuth, and I guess restated by Larry Wall. It reminded me of a bunch of quotes on Perl …
"Perl is the only language where you can bang your head on the keyboard and it compiles."
-anybody who has programmed more than 100 lines of perl can attest to that.
"Normally, Perl minds its own business about your programming habits."
Chapter 4 of Programming Perl
A good language should try (and I mean real hard) to make some sense of anything thrown at it and should not dictate programming style. Leave the readability, maintainability and all the other ..ilities to the programmer, sometimes we are high on weed, on most other occasions we know what we are doing.
A good example of this approach is the private members in python and perl, they are inaccessible by style and convention (they are named a certain way, and its uncool to access them from outside the class), not enforced by a NAZI compiler.
"Just because there’s more than one way to do it doesn’t mean that all ways are equally cool."
Learning Perl, Ch. 16
The compiler does not enforce indentation or naming conventions; I have seen few badly indented programs with bad variable names. It’s simply not cool to do so.
"Is there an ISO or ANSI certified version of Perl?"
Certainly not. Larry (Wall) expects that he’ll be certified before Perl is.
Compare the IEEE specs with RFC’s. The former precise in their language, incomprehensible in their intent, the latter scattered with inaccuracies (“MUST NOT”, “SHOULD NOT” etc), yet easy to understand. Loose standards are good they foster interoperability; albeit with hacks. Rigid standards, even though precisely defined are evil.
"Many people, when confronted with a problem, will think, ‘Ah! I’ll use a regular expression!’ Now they have two problems. And then they think "Ah, well I’ll just read the documentation", and then they have three problems."
“Let’s say the docs present a simplified view of reality… ”
Documentation is simply a crutch holding up a lame API. Intellisense is the most documentation you can afford and for some of us (vi and emacs people) even that is a stretch. Why can’t you simply read my mind?