Both Python and Perl are mature, open source, general purpose, high level and interpreted programming languages. However, usage statistics posted on various websites show that Python is currently more popular than Perl. Therefore, a software developer can improve his career prospects by switching form Perl to Python.
A beginner can further learn and use Python programming languages without putting extra time and effort. However, do not switch to a new programming language just because of its popularity and application. You have to keep in mind the biggest differences between the two programming languages as you decide to migrate from Perl to Python.
12 points to keep in mind while switching from Perl to Python
1) design objective
Initially, Perl was designed as a scripting language to simplify the report processing functions. That’s why it comes with built-in word processing capability. On the other hand, Python was originally designed as a hobby programming language. But it was designed with features that help programmers build applications with short, easy-to-read and reusable code. The two programming languages still differ in the category of features and performance.
2) syntax Rules
The syntax rules for both Python and Perl are influenced by several other programming languages. For example, Perl borrows features from a number of programming languages including C, shell script, custom, AWK and Lisp. Likewise, Python implements functional programming capabilities in a manner similar to Lisp. But Python is hugely popular with modern programming languages because of its simple syntax rules. In addition to being easy to use, Python’s syntax rules allow additional programmers to exempt many concepts with smaller and readable code.
3) Family of languages
Perl belongs to a family of high-level programming languages that include Perl 5 and Perl 6. Versions 5 and 6 of Perl are compatible with each other. A developer can easily migrate from Perl 5 to Perl 6 without putting extra time and effort. The programmers have the option of choosing between two different versions of Python – Python 2 and Python 2. But the two versions of Python are not compatible with each other. Therefore, a programmer must choose between two different versions of the programming language.
4) Ways to achieve the same results
Python allows programmers to express concepts without writing longer lines of code. But it requires programmers to perform tasks or achieve results in a specific and simple way. On the other hand, Perl allows programmers to perform a single task or achieve the same results in a number of ways. Therefore, many programmers find that Perl is more flexible than Python. However, the multiple ways to achieve the same result often make the code written in Perl messy and application difficult to maintain.
5) Web scripting language
Initially, Perl was designed as a UNIX writing language. Many developers use Perl as a scripting language to take advantage of its built-in word processing capabilities. However, many web developers complain that Perl is slower than other widely used scripting languages. Python is also widely used by programmers for developing web applications. But it lacks built-in internet development features. Therefore, developers need to use different frameworks and tools to write web applications in Python efficiently and quickly.
Most developers today use tools and features provided by different frameworks to build web applications efficiently and quickly. Perl web programmers has the ability to choose from a variety of frameworks including Catalyst, Dancer, Mojolicious, Poet, Exchange, Jifty and Gantry. Similarly, web developers also have the option of using a number of Python web frames, including Django, Flask, Pyramid, Bottle and Cherrypy. However, the number of Python web frames is much higher than the number of Perl web frames.
As mentioned earlier, both Python and Perl are programming languages for general purposes. Therefore, each programming language is used to develop a variety of software applications. Perl is widely used for graphic and network programming, system administration and finance development and biometric applications. But Python comes with a robust standard library that simplifies web application development, scientific computing, big data solutions development and artificial intelligence tasks. Therefore, developers prefer to use Python to develop advanced and mission-critical software applications.
8) Performance and speed
A number of studies have shown that Python is slower than other programming languages such as Java and C ++. Therefore, developers often explore ways to improve the execution speed of Python code. Some developers even replace the default Python runtime with their own custom runtime to get the Python applications running faster. Many programmers even find that Perl is faster than Python. Many web developers use Perl as a scripting language to speed up web applications and deliver enhanced user experience.
9) Structured data analysis
Currently, big data is one of the hottest trends in software development. Many companies today build custom applications for the collection, storage and analysis of huge amounts of structured and unstructured data. PDL provided by Perl allows developers to analyze big data. The built-in word processing capability of Perl further simplifies and speeds up analysis of huge amounts of structured data. But Python is used a lot by programmers for data analysis. Developers also benefit from robust Python libraries like Numpy to process and analyze huge amounts of data in a faster and more efficient way.
10) JVM interoperability
At present, Java is one of the programming languages widely used for developing desktop, web and mobile applications. Compared to Perl, Python works seamlessly and efficiently with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Therefore, the developers have the ability to write Python code than run smoothly on JVM while taking advantage of robust Java APIs and objects. Interoperability helps programmers build applications by targeting the popular Java platform while writing code in Python instead of Java.
11) Advanced object-oriented programming
Both Perl and Python are object-oriented programming languages. But Python implements advanced object-oriented programming languages in a better way than Perl. While writing code in Perl, programmers still have to use packages instead of classes. Python programmers can write high quality and modular code using classes and objects. Many developers find it difficult to keep the code simple and readable while writing object-oriented code in Perl. But Perl makes it easier for programmers to perform a variety of tasks simply by using a lining on the command line.
12) Word Processing Ability
Unlike Python, Perl was designed with built-in word processing capabilities. Therefore, many programmers prefer to use Perl for generating reports. Perl also makes it easier for programmers to perform regex and string comparison operations such as matching, replacement and substitution. Furthermore, it does not require developers to write extra code to perform exception handling and I / O operations. That’s why many programmers prefer Perl to Python while building applications that need to process text data or generate reports.
By and large, a large number of modern software developers prefer Python to Perl. But there are a number of programming languages - Java, C, C ++ and C # – that are currently more popular than both Perl and Python. Like other technologies, Python also has its own shortcomings. For example, use Python frameworks while writing applications in the programming language. Therefore, you must remember the pros and cons of both programming languages before migrating from Perl to Python.