Beyond Perl

You must be blind, or in a really isolated spot if you don't see that the use of Perl has been declining for many years. Not only in its market share, but in absolute numbers as well. Many people have moved to other languages or shifted their entire career to somewhere else.

When I was interviews by Mohammad S. Anwar for I added an extra question: What is the future of Perl?, to which my answer focused on the people who currently use or who previously used Perl.

Marketing (or promoting) Perl

Back in the days I was quite vocal about promoting Perl. (Though the word we used was "marketing" we really just meant "promoting".) Unfortunately this can be only effective if many people are enthusasticly involved. Something that did not happen.

Now The Perl Foundation has a marketing committe. I hoped they will be able to do something that has an impact. In the 2.5 years since I started tow write this post I have not seen any impact of that so I don't have my hopes any more.

My main focus today regarding Perl is to help people who use Perl (either because they want to or because they have to) by providing more Perl-related content.

If this also makes others want to use Perl, that's just a happy coincidence.

Helping the Perl community

These days when I think about helping the Perl community I have a much wider perspective than "show them more stuff they can do with Perl".

I am thinking about a number of directions "Perl programmers" can take in their career and how I might be able to help.

Personal background

For many years people considered me a "Perl developer".

True, I used Perl a lot and I was quite vocal about it, but I have never been part of the development of a large application in a company. I've never been a full-time Perl programmer or developer.

I wrote many batch jobs, many in-house web applications, but all the public-facing web application I wrote were personal projects. The largest application I participated in was the Padre project. Thinking about it, I did contribute some code to MetaCPAN as well which is larger than my projects, but my contribution was minor.

I think this is true for a lot of people who use or used Perl. Perl is only a relatively small part of their job.


A couple of directions I saw people taking from being a "Perl developer".

Keep working primarily in Perl 5. Learn to use even more modules. Etc. This is only really viable for people working for themselves or who are employed by a company that uses primarily Perl. Most people will have to use whatever their employer uses.

Learn another language that can replace the use of Perl. The ones that seem popular among former Perl developers are: Python, Go, NodeJS, Raku. Ruby is not so popular any more.

Extend to be a front-end development. Learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS.

On-premise or cloud-based Sysadmin work which is (mistakenly) referred to as DevOps by many organizations.

Data Science or even Machine Learning. Many things can be done using Perl, but Python is way more popular in this field.


I wrote this blog-post primarily for myself to try to think over what kind of "service" I can provide to people who currently use Perl.

Published on 2022-11-19 by Gabor Szabo