Perl after Python

Published by at 16th August 2010 9:50 pm

I'm currently studying for the CIW Web Developer qualification, and having passed the exams for database design and JavaScript, I'm now on to the third component, Perl. I figured that having already picked up a reasonable grasp of another scripting language (namely Python), that I would have no trouble picking up Perl quickly, as happened when I learned JavaScript.

Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked out as well as I'd hoped so far, and in a number of ways. First of all, it doesn't seem to "fit your brain" quite as easily as Python does - I find that the significant number of non-alphanumeric characters used makes it less intuitive than Python, at least for me. I'm also not a great fan of the syntax - in particular, I really am not keen on the syntax used for object-oriented programming. In general I'm finding it a struggle to pick up many things I learned quite quickly in Python.

That said, Perl has plenty of awesome features. CPAN has a staggering number of modules available, and makes it very easy to install them. And of course, its support for regular expressions is second to none. Don't get me wrong, it's a language I really want to know better and be able to use well, but I am finding it quite hard going compared to Python.

I strongly suspect, however, that it may well be, at least in part, because I learned Python first and my brain is used to the Pythonic way of doing things, therefore I'm having to unlearn those habits for Perl. Has anyone else learned Python first and then struggled to pick up Perl, or is it just me? Does learning Python first predispose you to finding Perl more difficult?