Keep the faith, Brother!
Having been a Smalltalk user for at least 5 years now, one thing that helps in typical Smalltalk environments is their checking of method names when you define new methods. Every time you edit a method, it's recompiled; the compiler does a simple check to see if any of the method names you're using haven't been defined yet. If so, you get a warning. This has helped me detect a lot of typos in my code.
I'm thinking that a similar strategy could be used with Perl, by scanning programs like this:
- For each 'use'd or 'require'd package, make a defined symbol list (easiest way to do this is probably just to use B::Xref).
- Scan your program for method calls (or, more simply, for words, removing all the Perl pre-defined words).
- Make a list of all the method calls (or words) in your program that don't match any of the subroutines defined in your included packages
This is a simple strategy, and it should be easy to implement. Tell me if it works!
I still prefer full testing, though. Have you read anything about Extreme Programming techniques? One of the XP tenets is to write tests FIRST.
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