If my thesis is correct -- that much of the work done on the Perl language, the Perl culture, and its ecosystem including CPAN in the past ten years has made the language easier to use and Perl programs more maintainable -- then Perl fans have a lot of work to do to overcome the weight of bad code and creaky tutorials found in the wild.
Browse PerlMonks for ten minutes, and you'll see that many petitioners receive the useful advice to use the strict and warnings pragmas in new code. Similarly, I've started all of my recent tutorials with the line
use 5.010; to take advantage of
when and other new syntactic features. Add to that some of the nice CPAN code which extends the language and adds even more great features....
... and the result is that a "modern Perl program" will contain at least three and probably several lines of identical boilerplate code which serves only to enable nice new features to make it easier to write powerful, effective, and maintainable Perl programs. Worse yet, many of these features should be on by default.
Do you really want to tell people that they should use
say instead of
print ... "\n" because the former is shorter and more concise and more convenient if you have to explain that they have to use the feature pragma to enable it explicitly?
I wrote a proof-of-concept module called
Modern::Perl to solve this problem. It has five lines of code. Add
use Modern::Perl; to your program and it will automatically enable the
warnings pragmas, and will make available all of the features of Perl 5.10.
There's still more than one way to do it, but isn't that easier than telling people to copy and paste long lists of modules to enable great features that should be available by default? Surely modern Perl should minimize copying and pasting and should remove artificial barriers between novices and experts.