Perl is cool, much more so than Python. But I prefer writing Python.
Perl is fun to read about. It has an endless stream of features to discover. Python by comparison is kinda dull. But the aspects of a language that make it fun to read about do not necessarily make it pleasant to use.
I wrote Perl off and on for several years before trying Python. People would tell me I should try Python and every six months or so I’d skim through a Python book. My impression was that Python was prosaic. It didn’t seem to offer any advantage over Perl, so I stuck with Perl. (Not that I was ever very good at Perl.)
Then I read an article by Bruce Eckel saying that he liked Python because he could remember the syntax. He said that despite teaching Java and writing books on Java, he could never remember the syntax for opening a file in Java, for example. But he could remember the corresponding Python syntax. I would never have picked up on that by skimming books. You’ve got to actually use a language a while to know how memorable the syntax is. But I had used Perl enough to know that I could not remember its syntax without frequent use. Memorable syntax increases productivity. You don’t have to break your train of thought as often to reach for a reference book.
I stand by my initial impression that Python is plain, but I now think that’s a strength. It just gets out of my way and lets me get my work done. I’m sure Perl gurus can be extremely productive in Perl. I tried being a Perl guru, and I never made it. I wouldn’t say I’m a Python guru, but I also don’t feel the need to be a guru to use Python.
Python code is not cool in a line-by-line sense, not in the way that an awesomely powerful Perl one-liner is cool. Python is cool in more subtle ways.