I suggested PHP primarily because I find it easy to read and understand and that's it's very commonly used.  Both Drupal and Wordpress are written in PHP and if we're talking about building web pages there are a lot of sites that use one of those as a CMS.   

I've looked at both good and bad perl code, some written some very accomplished software developers, and I still don't like it.   I am not personally interested in learning to make web pages (I've been making them for 20 years) and have mostly dabbled in Ruby but suspect that I'll be doing a lot more programming in Ruby (and will be attending the LibDevConX workshop at Stanford next month where I'm sure we'll be discussing Hydra).   I'm also somewhat familiar with Python but I just haven't found that many people are using it in my institution (where I've worked for the past 15 years) to spend any time learning more about it.  If you're going to suggest mainstream languages I'm not sure how you can omit Java (though just mentioning the word seems to scare people).

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Joe Hourcle
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2013 1:52 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] You *are* a coder. So what am I?

On Feb 17, 2013, at 11:43 AM, John Fereira wrote:

> I have been writing software "professionally" since around 1980 and first encounterd perl in the early 1990s of so and have *always* disliked it.   Last year I had to work on a project that was mostly developed in perl and it reminded me how much I disliked it.  As a utility language, and one that I think is good for beginning programmers (especially for those working in a library) I'd recommend PHP over perl every time.  

I'll agree that there are a few aspects of Perl that can be confusing, as some functions will change behavior depending on context, and there was a lot of bad code examples out there.* 

... but I'd recommend almost any current mainstream language before recommending that someone learn PHP.

If you're looking to make web pages, learn Ruby.

If you're doing data cleanup, Perl if it's lots of text, Python if it's mostly numbers.

I should also mention that in the early 1990s would have been Perl 4 ... and unfortunately, most people who learned Perl never learned Perl 5.  It's changed a lot over the years.  (just like PHP isn't nearly as insecure as it used to be ... and actually supports placeholders so you don't end up with SQL injections)