ActiveState and Perl

2016-08-03 09:16:18 admin Companies 0 Comments

ActiveState is a company that provides application development and management solutions, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. They have a worldwide presence and are involved in many different industries besides software, aerospace, financial services and telecommunication. Active State solution are used by over 2 million developers and leading companies like Bank of America, CA, Cisco, HP, Lockheed Martin and Siemens.

This is ActiveState, a Perl company. See their profile on BIP.

Perl is part of the solutions offered by ActiveState through ActivePerl, ActivePerl Pro Studio and Perl Dev Kit. They also offers software solution sin TCL and Python. You can find out more about the products and business on their website.

ActiveState is not exactly low key, most of you probably already know about it or have used their products at least once, at one point it was the only way you could use Perl on Windows. They're also present in the Perl community, if you attended YAPC : NA this year you probably saw a presentation called “The Perl Paradox” by Tom Radcliffe. You can check out the recording of the presentation on Youtube.

Tom is the Director of Engineering at ActiveState, he has 20 years experience in software development and management in both academia and industry. He is a professional engineer (PEO and APEGBC) and holds a PhD in physics from Queen's University at Kingston. He also identifies himself as a lapsed Perl person, or at least he did, until he arrived at ActiveState in 2015. Tom Radcliff has returned to the Perl family with great enthusiasm and his talk at YAPC is not the only testimony of it.

Tom and Jason McIntosh, co-author of the O’Reily book “Perl & XML,” did a webinar about all things Perl to talk about Perl, its origins and evolution. You can check out the webinar here, or read about it in their latest blog post. Here are some excerpts:

On community:

“I've never had a reason to put it down and the main reason for that is its community is just so fantastic. Both in the sense of being a community who is going to help people and also in maintaining this fantastic ecosystem of the language itself and the whole universe of all the language extensions and modules and applications that you can find on CPAN.” - Jason

I've looked for things in CPAN that I had no reasonable expectation would be there. Fairly hardcore numerical stuff, ODE solvers, things like that, and gosh, there they were. It's continued to amaze me, even as somebody who hasn't used Perl heavily in the last, really, decade. When I come back to it, I look around and I find that CPAN is now 5-10 times bigger than it was in the early 2000s and everything under the sun is just there, which is fairly remarkable.” - Tom

On Perl users:

“Whereas I had the impression that most Perl users were people like you and me people who'd started using it way back when and just kept on because it was a tool we were familiar with and it could always answer the questions and solve the problems that we had. Whereas what we're seeing today is, I think, a significant upswing in new adopters of the language, because it's very functional, very effective, very powerful, but also because the community is so open. It's not like some language communities where you're either inside the wall or you're outside. Perl is much more inclusive. I think that's one of the things that's drawing new people to the language.” - Tom

On Perl 6:

“I hadn't really appreciated this process of backporting features from Perl 6 into Perl 5 as one of the things driving Perl 5 development" - Tom

“My understanding is that Moose takes a lot of its structure and its inspiration from work that was done by the Perl 6 development team over the entirety of the previous decade. They basically, in the whole spirit of being postmodern again, said, “That's great, let's backport it," and it works. That's been my view of Perl 6...just seeing it as a crazy laboratory. Then they had it released and now it's a language.”  - Jason

On Perl today:

“One of the findings from our survey is that people are using Perl for, as I think you were alluding to earlier, much, much broader uses than just web stuff. We see a lot of companies, they just need to move a little data from a database into files or files into a database. They need to do a little bit of processing on weekly sales numbers, whatever. All of those small infrastructure tasks, which add up to a lot of stuff in even a medium-sized enterprise, can be handled very effectively by Perl.” - Tom

We’re happy to see such a large and important company being actively involved in the Perl community.  They are also sponsors of YAPC: Europe, taking place between  24-26 August 2016, get your tickets here.


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