LPM: Roll call ...
patrick at cre8tivegroup.com
Wed Apr 21 07:47:43 CDT 1999
On 19-Apr-99 Rich Bowen wrote:
> By way of Roll Call, please take a moment or two to answer the
> following, if you will. If, on the other hand, you are a lurker and
> determined to remain so, well, OK then, be that way.
> I'd really like to know how people are using Perl in their work. I'd
> also really like to know the general attitude of management towards
> Perl - whether it is accepted as a 'real' programming language,
> whether people actually know that you are running business-critical
> processes on Perl, stuff like that.
> I would like to know a more about how people first "discovered" perl,
> how they developed and enhanced their proficiency, etc.
I suppose I have a moment or two now before the phone starts ringing ;)
I use Perl extensively in my work. Perl is just so wide spread that I
can develop it here, and run it nearly everywhere with a few changes.
We develop sites hosted on WinNT, Un*x, and Macs, so that's important.
As far as what I do with it, the biggest thing is to query a database
to customize a web page. One of our clients works to lobby Congress,
so we have a database of all the past actions of Congress on this
particular issue. The Perl script queries the database so the user can
get an overview of a particular member of Congress. There's all the
back end stuff of updating that as well. It's all web based.
We have also started to customize graphics using Perl. Using GD, you
can do simple graphics with Perl. That's handy for on the fly graphics
(Like putting a person's name in a graphic header, or changing a number
or date in a header). But Perl's real power comes into play when you
can do graphic manipulation to create the gifs. Using a database, and
instructions from our graphic designers, you can write simple programs
to customize huge numbers of graphics. No more tedious work for the
graphics people for repetitive work.
Of course, I also use perl for system admin work on my FreeBSD systems.
The management here is convinced that Perl is a programming language.
They've seen what we can do with it, and that was enough. The clients
are a little more difficult to convince. They wonder why we should use
free software. "Why would anyone give away software?" "How can they
make any money?" "If it's free, it must not be any good." Ususally
this comes from users of Microsoft products, who pay more for the
really good stuff. (The same goes for my choice of OS, and nearly
everything I use.)
I learned Perl about three years ago on the job. (We were using
Pascal, PDP-11 assembly, and LISP in college when I graduated.) I was
hired by a local company to work on a web site. It started with just
HTML, but quickly expanded. I borrowed a copy of Learning Perl from
another programmer there (who was using Perl), and learned as I went.
(As someone else said, Matt's Script Archive provided a place to learn
what to do, and not to do.) Since then, I read everything I can on
Perl. I've managed to get myself onto two publishers' review lists, so
I get copies of nearly every Perl book published by them. Typically,
it's the client that drives my learning, however, since they ask for
something that I don't know how to do *yet*. And someone has almost
always done it already in Perl.
Patrick S. Gardella Director of Web Development
The Creative Group 1-800-804-0783 ext 29 606-858-8029 (fax)
http://www.cre8tivegroup.com PGP Key ID 0xEE2D47A9
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