I know the question is very subjective. But I cannot form the question in a much more better manner. I would appreciate some guidance.
I often as a developer feel how easier it would have been for me if I could have some tools for doing some reasonably complex task on a log file , or a set of source files, or some data set etc.
Clearly, when the same type of task needs to be done repetitively and when speed is critical, I can think of writing it in C++/Java.
But most of the times, it is some kind of text processing or file searching activity that I want to do only once just to perform a quick check or to do some preliminary analysis etc. In such cases, I would be better off doing the task manually rather than writing in C++/Java. But I could surely doing it in seconds if I knew some language like Bash/Python/Perl/Ruby/Sed/Awk.
I know this whole question is subjective and there is no objective definite answer, but in general what does the developer community feel as a whole? What subset of these languages should I know so that I can do all these kinds of tasks easily and improve my productivity.
Would Perl be a good choice?
It is a super set of Sed/Awk, plus it allows to write terse code. I can get done with fewer lines of code. It is neither readable nor easily maintainable, but I never wanted those features anyway.
The only thing that bothers me is the negative publiciity that Perl has got lately and it has been criticized by the Ruby/Python community a lot. Also, I am not sure if it can replace bash scripting totally.
If not, then is Perl+Bash a good combination for these kind of tasks?
I would use Perl over a bash/sed/awk combination. Why ?
In fact I would recommend any scripting language over the shell/awk/sed combination, for the same reasons. I don't have a problem with sed/awk per se, but as your required solutions become more complex/lengthy, I find the more powerful scripting languages more scalable, and (to some degree) refactorable for re-use.