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I'm a front and backend .NET web developer (most solutions use MS SQL Server) and I won't be using any non-MS solutions for a while.

Will Perl be useful for situations that require scripting in an MS product environment?

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7 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In your case, I think learning Powershell would make more sense.

You could still learn Perl for fun, though. It is fun.

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IMHO, for most of the tasks that used to be done with Perl it's now totally replaced. Mostly by Python (most general: scripting, GUI, web, services). Also by Ruby (mostly web) and Lua (real-time).

Just this month Python has become the 4th most popular programming language.

For integration with .NET you have IronPython, IronRuby and Lua.NET

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Not sure if Perl's a good idea anymore as it's lost a lot of it's former popularity as a web development platform. I've found that learning PHP is one of the more valuable languages to know at the moment because of it's ubiquity and there's lot's of demand. It can be used in the same situations as Perl anyway.

I'd rather use Java by choice myself but spend more time with PHP to go with the demand. Java would be another possibility for you to learn as it's very similar to .NET but it's another huge platform that takes a long time to master.

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+1 for PHP. Not my favorite language, but by far one of the most widely used out there, especially for web development. A couple others have already mentioned Ruby and Python, two other excellent scripting options. Perl is good to know for supporting existing code, but IMHO I would look to learning one of these others for any new development. –  Will Feb 23 '11 at 18:17
    
Yes, not my favourite either - especially for building larger systems as modularity is a challenge. However, it's much better now PHP 4 has gone and I've also started to find it's quite good for getting things going quickly. –  Ewan Heming Feb 23 '11 at 19:29
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If you are concerned mainly about working in the MS stack, I don't think that Perl would be a particularly good choice. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't any particularly good integration between Perl and .NET.

Perhaps a better scripting choice would be IronPyton, which gives you the dynamicness of Python with full .NET integration.

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I don't think there ever will be any good integration between Perl and .NET, unless there suddenly arises some mass demand for it (not likely). IronPython is definitely a good choice - actively developed and supported. –  Will Feb 23 '11 at 18:21
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I'd learn ruby or python and I would definitely learn powershell as it is insanely powerfull scripting and shell environment. Every time I need to do some scripting task I thank god for learning powershell a while ago. Every hour pays:)

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Perl - no, Python - yes. I have been a .Net coder (all aspects: back-end, ASP.NET, WPF, etc) for, well, forever. I started a Python job about a year ago and have found the experience well worthwhile. I am currently working on a WPF/MVVM application half the week and a Python/Javascript application the other half and have found the complementary skills very useful.

Whereas the MS way of doing things is through progressively more complex architectures, the Python world tends to be extraordinarily simple. It is a nice reality check. I have no clear preference either way. .Net use of rigid interfaces and tight typing tends to mean the compiler picks up a lot of bugs before you even run but Python's duck typing and auto-declaring variables means you write code a lot faster.

The one thing I do miss is Visual Studio - I program Python on my Mac and Eclipse feels lacking.

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as a developer very similar to yourself I picked up ruby (not ruby on rails) and rake to help with all of those really annoying repetitive manual tasks you have to do locally, on staging servers and on production.

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