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yes, scripted code can be complex

I had a chance to catch up on some SAGE email and found a thread on the relative complexity of scripts vs. programs that sysadmins write. This is one of the things I've been thinking about lately but haven't had time to write about. There were times at AV that I was disrespected because I wrote a substantial amount of Perl code. Some people acted as if the code was trivial because Perl is a scripting language, as opposed to C or Java. I've also encountered this attitude on some interviews.

The truth of the matter is that a highly complex piece of software can be written in a scripting language, and a totally trivial one-liner can be written in a compiled, linked, or virtual machine language. Why anyone should think or act otherwise (especially another software engineer) is beyond me.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
nsingman
Jun. 22nd, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
It's an old prejudice, I think, stemming from the days of JCL and strongly related to the caste system among technical staff (which persists to this day). I do agree that it makes little sense, having seen and written simple and complex interpreted scripts, and simple and complex compiled programs.
gregbo
Jun. 25th, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)
I didn't realize the "feud" was that old. In my first two summer programming jobs, the JCL people were revered. In fact, throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, I don't remember any particular bias against scripting.
nsingman
Jun. 25th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Perhaps it was only a Wall Street thing at the time. Scripters were considered part of operations staff - sysadmins rather than systems programmers. And development staff (who only used scripts as wrappers) were the glamour boys.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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