What’s up with Windows developer tools being written in perl?

Raymond Chen

Worf noticed that a number of developer tools are written in perl and wonders what’s up with that.

Simple: Perl is a socially-acceptable form of Visual Basic.

In other words, just like how Visual Basic is a great way to throw together a quick little GUI program, perl is a great way to throw together a quick little developer tool. In both cases, the language is loose enough to let you get away with a lot of sloppy coding techniques, and a lack of discipline can result in an unreadable mess.¹

The difference is that whereas people look down on Visual Basic programmers as talentless hacks who couldn’t code their way out of a paper bag, people look at perl programmers as wizards who can perform miracles with their arcane incantations that to the uninitiated are indistinguishable from line noise.²

¹ I’m not saying that the developer tools are an unreadable mess. Just that it’s easy to write an unreadable mess in perl.

² You can tell I’m an old timer because I said “line noise”. Kids these days have never experienced line noise.


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