which language for pattern matching?

As the Day of Digital Humanities draws to a close, our sun has set some hours ago, but it is not yet midnight and a long way further west it is still within office hours.

I’ve been watching which programming languages are being used on DH projects. Of the ones I have experience with, it seems that PHP and Python are the front runners. Java has apparently not caught on in the DH community, unless I’ve been looking in the wrong places. I can’t say that I’m very surprised or regretful.

As someone with a special interest in literature I like to know how different programming languages deal with handling text, and with that in mind I regret the passing of Perl, the first one I learnt in any detail. While Perl doesn’t have the structured development platforms that its successors do, and attempts to make it look object-oriented are really a veneer, Perl’s flexibility in pattern matching and in manipulating text don’t seem to have been replicated in the languages that are popular today. So something potentially valuable to DH has been lost. (Something else I’ve often regretted is the paucity of pattern matching options in SQL.) Could this possibly be remedied?

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