Programming versus programs

Some people use programming languages to create programs and other people use those programs. Many people know the the difference. Some people don’t. Witness this tweet from @Nolaan_boy:

He’s upset that he can’t tell the difference between building your own tool and using one that someone else has already written. He shows a Perl program using Text::CSV_XS (the correct way to do that). The program looks well written and reasonable; it’s even commented. Nightmare?

On the other side, he shows the command-line use of csvcut, a program written in Python. I think it’s a nice program; when I saw this defective tweet I downloaded csvcut and tried it. Nice job, programmers! However, @Nolaan_boy is not writing Python and is not dealing with the Python language. I’m sure he’d have an equally hard time dealing with the Python source.

He could have posted that csvcut was a really nice program that solved his problem. He could have used it and been done with life. But, that’s not what he wanted to do. He wanted to bash Perl. I don’t mind if you don’t like Perl, but if you’re done with it, you don’t have an ongoing emotional response to it. That means you’re still letting it influence you.

But this really isn’t about Perl. This is about a particular Python failure mode where programmers reinforce their bonds by attacking a common target. They don’t need Perl to be that target, but it’s what the Python in-crowd has latched on to. Instead of talking about the great things coming out of Python, they have to bash things they don’t understand.

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