Both Python and Perl are mature, open source, general purpose, high level, and interpreted programming languages. But the usage statistics posted on various websites depict that Python is currently more popular than Perl. Hence, a software developer can enhance his career prospects by switching form Perl to Python.
A beginner can further learn and use Python programming language without putting extra time and effort. However, you must not switch to a new programming language just because its popularity and usage. You must keep in mind the major differences between the two programming languages while deciding about migrating from Perl to Python.
12 Points You Must Keep in Mind while Switching from Perl to Python
1) Design Goal
Perl was originally designed as a scripting language to simplify report processing capabilities. Hence, it comes with built-in text processing capability. On the other hand, Python was designed initially as a hobby programming language. But it was designed with features to help programmers build applications with concise, readable and reusable code. The two programming languages still differ in the category of features and performance.
2) Syntax Rules
The syntax rules of both Python and Perl are influenced by several other programming languages. For instance, Perl borrows features from a number of programming languages including C, shell script, sed, AWK and Lisp. Likewise, Python implements functional programming features in a manner similar to Lisp. But Python is hugely popular among modern programming languages due to its simple syntax rules. In addition to being easy to use, the syntax rules of Python further enable programmers to except many concepts with less and readable code.
3) Family of Languages
Perl belongs to a family of high-level programming languages that includes Perl 5 and Perl 6. The 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 option to choose from two distinct versions of Python – Python 2 and Python 2. But the two versions of Python are not compatible with each other. Hence, a programmer has to choose from two distinct versions of the programming language.
4) Ways to Achieve Same Results
Python enables programmers to express concepts without writing longer lines of code. But it requires programmers to accomplish tasks or achieve results in a specific and single way. ON the other hand, Perl enable programmers to accomplish a single task or achieve the same results in a number of ways. Hence, many programmers find Perl to be more fix than Python. But 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
Perl was originally designed as a UNIX scripting language. Many developers use Perl as a scripting language to avail its built-in text processing capabilities. However, there are many web developers who complain that Perl is slower than other widely used scripting language. Python is also used widely by programmers for web application development. But it lacks built-in web development capabilities. Hence, developers have to avail various frameworks and tools to write web applications in Python efficiently and rapidly.