Bioperl: Bioperl at ISMB-98

Gordon D. Pusch
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 22:06:09 -0500

> To help plan for the informal Bioperl get-together at ISMB, I've put
> together a list of agenda items based on things discussed on the
> mailing list or elsewhere:
> Let me know if you want to add to or change something on the list.

Thank you for putting together such an excellent, comprehensive list.
However, I have a bone to pick with your 'item 20.':

	20. What can't Perl offer biology? 
            * Heavy-duty number crunching (do people have experience
                 with Perl compiler?) 
            * True object-oriented development 
I have in fact done some fairly ``heavy-duty'' number-crunching in perl,
as have others [see, e.g., ``PDL: The Perl Data Language --- Compact and
speedy numeric programming,'' by Karl Glazebrook and Frossie Economou,
_The Perl Journal_, v.2, no.1 (Spring, 1997) --- note that the examples 
they provide are all from _ASTRONOMICAL IMAGE-PROCESSING_, which is just 
about as number-crunching intensive as one can get !!!]. 

I find perl to be almost as fast as C for most applications, and =VASTLY=
friendlier to program in.  Likewise, I now use perl for many applications
I would formerly =NEVER= have considered any language but FORTRAN for...

As for OOP, IMHO, it's vastly overhyped --- and in any event (again IMHO),
perl is at =LEAST= as close to being an OOPL as C++ (which was, one should
recall, originally just a C-preprocessor frontend for C). Certainly Perl
will never be SmallTalk or ProLog --- but who in their right minds would
=WANT= it to be, except for diehard SmallTalk and ProLog programmers ?!?
(Frankly, in our group we are converting our ProLog code over to perl !!!)

Remember --- Always use the right tool for the job. (The amazing thing
about perl is, as befitting its reputation as the ``Swiss Army Chainsaw''
of programming, it's almost =ALWAYS= the right tool for the job... ;-)

Pardon me, I just HAD to get that out of my system... ;-T

--  Gordon D. Pusch   <>

Disclaimer:  I'm a consultant collaborating with Argonne researchers;
I don't speak for ANL or the DOE --- and they *certainly* don't speak
for =ME= !!!
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