One of the areas where Perl is used extensively is finance. This isn’t very common knowledge, as not a lot of companies detail their tech stack and developers usually don’t advertise their employment. Financial institutions have been reliant on technology since its early adoption, but at the same time they have also remained rather conservative in their use of it and programming languages. Risk is a very important element of their business, so Perl might seem too unstable for finance, compared to languages like C or C++, but perceptions aside, conservative languages like C++ are detrimental for the way the financial world works. They’re very time consuming and can’t keep up.
Everybody in the financial industry wants to make money. Full stop. Automation is a large part of that, get it done quickly, keep it relevant. Perl is a very good response to this need, a fast language that you can work with easily. Its “glue” attribute is another bonus, financial companies use different systems that have to communicate to each other and Perl is invaluable to that.
Why finance loves Perl
When it comes to finance, projects can’t follow a normal project scenario. In this business requirements change rapidly, so you don’t have the luxury of a static base of requirements to implement at your leisure. Speed is the key here, by the time you write the first part of a project in C++ for example, you can do the same work, from start to finish, in Perl. It might not be as easily maintained, but when you factor in the speed element, that becomes irrelevant.
The time used to maintain it in C++ can be used to rewrite it, if needed, in Perl. The basic idea here is to get your product out fast, to respond to a need while it still exists (without any changes) or before someone else covers it. And frankly, when it comes to maintenance it also depends on your code of coding and your own style of programming. If you want to screw it up, you can do it in any language.
One thing that most financial companies have in common is a reliance on third parties. This is where the Perl glue works well, offering a bonus point from other products that are strongly typed and make changing requirements a hassle. Its gluing abilities can be seen in the way it was used in the Human Genome Project, where Lincoln Stein wrote a module called Boulder so Perl could act as a connection between scientific programs.
Perl can really works its magic in the financial world, that’s why quite a lot of big names are using it, like J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and others. It’s speed and gluing skills make it a perfect mechanism for financial companies.Tweet