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Let's not forget the chainsaw !

by ZlR (Chaplain)
on Mar 31, 2012 at 12:38 UTC ( #962768=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Note to self : remember to get those xml
__EDIT__

I'm not a developer.

I'm always amazed by the level of what you real developers do. Some of the answers I get on this site make absolutely no sense codewise, unless I take 2 hours to decipher them (and I'm not even talking about obfu). Some of the higher layer questions are just way past my understanding of how a language works. It's been like this since forever, I did some coding at the University, but never got to the pro level I guess, and got used to the fact that there are some things I won't take time to understand or learn (also, maybe I'm too slow ;)

So, I'm not a developer, but still, I code a lot.
And whenever I can, in Perl.
This language is an incredible tool.

Most of my projects begin with auditing a client's infrastructure. Sources describing the existing systems can range from system commands outputs to tivoli generated reports, sometimes I get to run the commands I want, sometimes the client gives me a new bunch of zip files every week (things change fast in the real world).
In a week or so, I have a Perl script crunching these sources into an handy excel file, built with the info needed for the project, that can be automatically refreshed. If the excel summary is not enough, I can query the infrastructure from the script, playing with Data::Dumper, to look at a given subset in more details. Most of the time the logic inside will help discover flaws in the infrastructure (duplicate names, missing parameters, etc ...).

I don't know how other people deal with these kind of projects, although I do see a lot of manually crafted excels with massive vlookups, and these sound both like a lot of wasted work (do it all again in one month) and very much error prone. My Perl scripts are sometimes a little bit quick and dirty but the job gets done. I have enough experience now to be quite confident looking back saying that the result will be error free. And that matters, since in the end this is used to launch system commands on a whole infrastructure.

I also do production Perl, that is Perl automated system actions. We're in 2012, and where I live, Perl is still the only language that's on every Unix system. I understand that development wise competition is fierce, but AFAIC there are no other language used in the system field, except ... Shell.

And that's what I want to say here, with this first Meditation in 7 years or so : Perl is great because it's not only for developers. I have colleagues who were so sick of excel that they turned to doing things in Perl, and it works for them !

Perl is easy and versatile, and not as 'unreadable' as trolls would have it. It's a great tool for productivity, and is still used and needed as the swiss army chainsaw of scripting !

just another Perl hacker,
ZLR

Comment on Let's not forget the chainsaw !
Re: Let's not forget the chainsaw !
by bulk88 (Priest) on Apr 01, 2012 at 03:35 UTC
    But Perl isn't an ISO standard. It doesn't have an open econosphere. Our insurance company wont allow it.

      The pretexts some companies use surely are ... interesting. Is there an ISO standard for Excel? And what the heck is the "open econosphere" supposed to mean?

      Jenda
      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        "open econosphere"? Saw it once in a corporate powerpoint along with dozens of other buzzwords. The insurance company probably said Excel can be used since the support contractor has a market cap of $270 Billion, enough to cover all possible claims in tort court.

        Are Perl's developers ISO 9001 certified? Export Administration Regulations free certificate?
Re: Let's not forget the chainsaw !
by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor) on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:50 UTC

    I’m not a developer ...

    Oh yes, you are!

    It positively amazes me what people will do in Excel, or in SAS®, as though they were stubborn to use only those facilities.   (I’m not slamming anyone here, BTW.   Rather, my point is that ...)   The “discovery,” familiar to us all here nut nonetheless not common knowledge or practice, is that “a very small [Perl] script” can sometimes make all the difference.   (I have also looked at some of those improbable constructions and wondered, “how could you debug that?”   Once again not slamming anyone:   I quite-literally wonder how such a complex, inter-linked and non-sequential system as often exists in a massive spreadsheet can be effectively debugged ... when pre-processing data through preliminary scripts is an approach that to me is so much more clear, and clearly testable.)

    Perl, in particular, is a pragmatic tool:   originally conceived as a solution to a problem by a language-designer who had one.

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