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Re^4: Seeing Perl in a new light: Epilog

by Lady_Aleena (Curate)
on Sep 25, 2010 at 21:15 UTC ( #862009=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^3: Seeing Perl in a new light: Epilog
in thread Seeing Perl in a new light

If you had caught me before I wrote any part of Base::HTML, your way could be used. However, what you are suggesting is that I totally destroy everything I have now and start from scratch. That fills me with a lot of anxiety. It has taken a lot of time to get to where I am now, and to start from the beginning for the second time makes my stomach knot up. I would have to delete everything and start with a blank slate and that is just not palatable. Base::HTML is part of everything I write to display scripts in a browser. Base::Menu would have to be tossed, and that was the key to making the site possible in the first place. The code for that took me a long time to get. I will muddle through with my current structure even if it isn't ideal.

I know you are doing your best to explain this concept to show how it would make my life easier, however I don't want to spend several more agonizing years trying to get it to work. With everything hinging on those four Base:: modules, a rewrite is only possible if I delete them and everything dependent on them and start all over. I just can't do it right now.

There are non-code real life factors that are clouding my judgment at the moment too, making it doubly hard for me to see any silver linings. I'm sorry that I can't get the courage up to do it your way, but my way is easy enough to understand for me. I am still using ANSI encoding instead of the more popular UTF-8 encoding because I have encountered too many problems with that conversion.

I hope that someone who is just starting out sees your advice before they get too deep into a structure that is like mine. Hopefully, it will keep them from making my mistake of having everything so dependent on everything else. Thank you for trying to help me understand.

Have a cookie and a very nice day!
Lady Aleena

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Re^5: Seeing Perl in a new light: Epilog
by TGI (Parson) on Sep 26, 2010 at 03:43 UTC

    The first rule (or at least an important one) of software engineering is that a complete rewrite is never as good an idea as it seems.

    You are correct to be concerned about making any moves that lead to a complete rewrite.

    Look for ways that you can work these ideas in edgewise, at the margins. Move code around, change what happens behind the scenes, but keep the interfaces the same.

    Having everything going through those 4 modules may be what makes it possible to change.

    I'm willing to take a look at your Base::* modules and see what I think is reasonable to target for refactoring.

    For example, to use my suggested approach for menus, you can start by changing your existing print_menu() in Base::Menu.

  • First put the logic that traverses your website into one routine, call it build_menu(). Build the menu data structure in build_menu().
  • Simply insert build_menu() at the top of your print_menu() routine and let it create the structure on the fly, exactly as it does now.
  • Then modify print_menu() to use the results of build_menu().
  • Now you can make a separate script that uses the build_menu() routine to build the menu data and save it to a file.
  • Modify Base::Menu::print_menu() to use data loaded from the file.
  • Now you can modify the build_menu() routine to handle the case where you have an all-in-one file, for example, Monsters
  • Now you can convert each directory to use an all-in-one approach.

These steps don't require a rewrite, and at each part of the process you never have a broken website.

Also, while it may have taken you several years to get where you are now, most of that work was not in the production of code, but rather, the acquisition of the knowledge required to produce the code.

I think you may find that a better architecture will pay off handsomely. A good structure will come together with much less effort than a patched one.

BTW, don't worry too much about UTF-8 until you need it. I haven't needed to worry about it, so I haven't bothered to learn anything other than the basics. I know that when I need to know, I will be able to find the resources I need to make it work. That is enough.

TGI says moo

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