Dave, as pointed out in the early part of the article, comments should be useful not primarily for the person who writes them, but for those who read them.
While the example given may not be so obvious for most Perl programmers (experience level?), it may not be that obvious to non-Perl savvy programmers.
And it is possible that some may, one day, want to convert that particular program to a different platform or language. In that particular case, it is very likely that the person who reads the comments (the intended audience of comments after all), is mostly interested in the “what?” and not the “how?”.
And from personal experience, my coding style does evolves, impacted by several factors, including platform evolution, language evolution, experience. If I look back, I may not write the same line(s) of code to do the same thing months or years later.
In general, the amount of comment needed for a line depends on its complexity.
int i = 0;
Does not need comments.
return new ObjectEl(Math.Max(arg1, arg2), RetrieveObect(arg3, DB_NAME))
probably would require a comment. Even better, as suggested in by Jeff and other poster, it could be re-written to be self explanatory.
Writing compact lines of code does not produce compact code or faster code… leave it up to the compiler. But I guess that’s a whole different article (Jeff