[Thamesvalley-pm] calling all Perl newbies!

Dr Adam J Trickett adam.trickett at iredale.net
Tue Aug 21 07:21:07 PDT 2007

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007 at 02:32:41PM +0100, Greg Matthews wrote:
> Adam Trickett wrote:
> > Calling all Perl newbies!
> > 
> > What do you want from the PM?
> > 
> > How can we help you?
> I subscribed because I have occasion to use perl for scripting as part 
> of my job. Unfortunately, that isnt very often so I've never become 
> completely comfortable just sitting down in front of a #!/usr/bin/perl 
> and getting on with it.
> Most of what I do with perl is fix other (much older) scripts, written 
> in the dim-and-distant past by some unknown employee, as bit-rot renders 
> them less useful. More occasionally, I write my own stuff such as log 
> scrapers or tweak projects such as logwatch. Time pressures mean I've 
> never built up a solid expertise in perl so I need a forum where I can 
> ask dumb questions when the camel and the cookbook let me down.
> I have a couple of projects that I turn to when I get a moment but 
> haven't made much progress recently:
> 1. update our password changing script. This was originally written by 
> an ex-employee, updated a few years ago by me to reflect a change from 
> NIS to LDAP. It now needs a more fundamental rewrite to make it much 
> more robust.
> 2. We have a mailbox that users can send wrongly tagged spam mail to. 
> i.e. false positives. Users are asked to send these false positives as 
> an attachment in an attempt to keep all the header information intact. 
> At the moment I use mutt to read this mailbox and extract all the 
> correctly attached false postives to a mbox folder which I can then 
> eaily feed through spamassassin to train the Bayes database. The process 
> is scripted apart from the sorting the cruft from the genuine using my 
> own eyeballs and mutt. I did make an attempt to write something that 
> could recognise the correct attachments but it turned out to be much 
> harder then I expected. Translating what seems obvious to me while using 
> mutt into a robust, scripted algorithm proved too difficult.
> project 1 is much simpler and could probably be done in a week. Project 
> 2 has proved beyond my skills. In my case perl is purely for work so I 
> am unable to devote a lot of time to the list. That said, perhaps 
> listers would like to share examples of code that they are particularly 
> proud of (and presumably be prepared to get shot down in flames!)

I'm willing to help where I can, I'm not sure how the best way to do it is.

I think it's only possible to deal with small chunks of code in a mailing
list, looking at larger pieces needs a different mechanism. On Saturday
Fred suggested a cding repair shop at a meeting - it's a lot of work on
both sides but I'm willing to help. 

Adam Trickett
Overton, HANTS, UK

This would of course be likely to trigger a real constitutional crisis,
but as this Government has done so much to destroy the constitution
already, it seems only reasonable for other people to be allowed to join in.
	-- John Lettice, The Register 2006-01-17

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