The Problems of Perl: The Future of Bugzilla
myk at mozilla.org
Fri May 11 19:06:07 UTC 2007
Folks seem to generally want to stick with Perl, which is not surprising
given that Perl-friendly programmers are more likely to be attracted to
a Perl-based project.
But I'll throw in my .02 and say that I think Max is right about the
language. Although it has many features to commend it and some elegant
design, it also burdens programmers with overcomplicated syntax and
provides too much enticement to poor programming practice.
Of course it's possible to write good Perl code (and bad code in other
languages), and one can always mitigate some of the problems with style
guides, review, etc., but those mitigations are themselves costly.
Either way, Perl imposes a productivity tax, and I'm much happier these
days programming in other languages that have taken advantage of the
last dozen or so years of research into language design (as Perl is
still struggling to do with its next version).
Nevertheless, it's still hard to decide to switch languages. Rewrites
are expensive and risky, and they often fail (cf. the original Bugzilla
3.0). Plus, developments like the growth in browser-based logic,
third-party extensions, and API clients may make the difficulties of
hacking the core code less significant.
So I'd first look for intermediate steps that would improve support for
extending Bugzilla using other languages (perhaps the way Thrift
<http://developers.facebook.com/thrift/> does it) and then see if
there's any way to use that to support incremental reimplementation.
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