Martin blogs about how the Camel book mentions the fact that scalars, arrays, and hashes have completely separate namespaces, as if this is a problem. Well, I disagree.

As with anything in Perl: yes, obviously it's possible to confuse yourself with this feature, and yes, obviously it's true that if you do this, you will get to keep both pieces of your program. So don't do that then.

However, when used properly, I find that it actually helps me improve readability of my programs.

Let's say we have a subroutine which returns a reference to a filehandle to a bunch of data in a format that we know how to parse. We don't know what the filehandle points to (and we don't care, either), but we do know what the data is. So we store the filehandle in some scalar, and then proceed to parse the data into a hash.

Now we could use variable names such as $fh and %hash, but I'll hope that everyone agrees with me that this is very bad practice. So, instead, we should name the variables after what they contain. Say our data file contains books:

$books = get_books_fh();
while(<$books>) {
	(... parse $author out of $_ ...)
	push @{$books{$author}}, $_;

The filehandle to which $books is a reference, points to some useful data; and the %books hash table contains the exact same data, only structured in a different, more useful way. So why give them a different name? They're the same thing, call them the same way. Personally, I find this makes a whole lot of sense. And you can do the same thing with arrays vs hashes, or scalars vs arrays.

Of course you can also write code that uses $somevar and @somevar, with no semantic connection between the two. That is stupid, so don't do it. The fact that you can do stupid things with Perl, however, should not mean the language sucks.

You see, other than some other programming language I could think about, Perl does not assume its users are stupid, or inexperienced, or dummies, or whatever. Yes, that does mean that new users will get confused; but it also allows experienced users to Get Stuff Done in a proper way. And, well, I'm sure you can do stupid things with python, too.