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Acme::OneHundredNotOut 100

  Date Added: November 22, 2010  |  Visits: 817


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Acme::OneHundredNotOut is a raise of the bat, a tip of the hat. I have just released my 100th module to CPAN, the first time that anyone has reached that target. As some of you may know, I am getting ready to go back to college and reinvent myself from being a programmer into being a missionary. I dont forsee that many more Perl modules coming out of this. Of course, this doesnt mean that Im going to abjure usage of Perl forever; any time theres a computer and something I need automated, out will come the Swiss Army Chainsaw and the job will get done. In fact, we recently needed to manipulate some text from a mission handbook to translate it into Japanese, and Perl was there handling and collating all that. But 100 modules is a convenient place to stop and take stock, and I hope that those of you who have benefitted from my modules, programs or writing about Perl will forgive me a certain spot of self-indulgence as I look back over my CPAN career, especially since I feel that the diversity of modules that Ive produced is a good indication of the diversity of what can be done with Perl. Lets begin, then, with some humble beginnings, and then catch up on recent history. The Embarrassing Past Contrary to popular belief, I was not always a CPAN author. I started writing modules in 1998, immediately after reading the first edition of the Perl Cookbook - yes, you can blame Nat and Tom for all this. The first module that I released was Tie::DiscoveryHash, since Id just learnt about tied hashes. As with many of my modules, it was an integral part of another software project which I actually never finished, and now cant find. The first module that I ever wrote (but, by a curious quirk of fate, precisely the fiftieth module I released) was called String::Tokeniser, which is still a reasonably handy way of getting an iterator over tokenising a string. (Someone recently released String::Tokenizer, which makes me laugh.) This too was for an abortive project, webperl, an application of Don Knuths WEB system of structured documentation to Perl. However, given the code quality of these two modules, its perhaps just as well that the projects never saw the light of day. There are a few other modules Id rather like to forget, too. Devel::Pointer was a sick joke that went badly wrong - it allowed people to use pointers in Perl. Some people failed to notice that referring to memory locations directly in an extremely high-level language was a dangerous and silly thing to do, and actually used the damned thing, and I started getting requests for support for it. Then at some point in 2001, when I should really have known better, I developed an interest in Microsofts .NET and the C# language, which I still think is pretty neat; but I decided it might be a good idea to translate the Mono projects tokenizer and parser into Perl, ending up with C::Sharp. I never got around to doing the parser part, or indeed anything else with it, and so it died a lonely death in a dark corner of CPAN. GTK::HandyClist was my foray into programming graphical applications, which started and ended there. Bundle::SDK::SIMON was actually the slides from a talk on my top ten favourite CPAN modules - except that this changes so quickly over time, it doesnt really make much sense any more. Finally, Array::FileReader was an attempt to optimize a file access process. Unfortunately, my "optimization" ended up introducing more overheads than the naive solution. It all goes to show. Since then, Mark-Jason Dominus, another huge influence in the development of my CPAN career, has written Tie::File, which not only has a better name but is actually efficient too. The Internals Phase 1999-2000 were disastrous years for me personally but magnificent years Perl-sonally. Stuck in a boring job and a tiny flat in the middle of Tokyo, I had plenty of time to get stuck into more Perl development. I felt that getting involved with perl5-porters would be a good way of gettting to know more about Perl, and so I needed a hobby horse - an issue of Perls development that I cared about. Since I was in Japan and working a lot with non-Latin text, Unicode support seemed a good thing to work on, and so Unicode::Decompose appeared, while I fixed up a substantial part of the post-5.6 core Unicode support. Id recommend this way to anyone who wants to get more involved in the Perl community, although I was very lucky in terms of who else happened to be around at the time: Gurusamy Sarathy was extremely gracious in helping me turn my fledgling C code into something fit for the Perl core, and he also helped me understand the perl5-porters etiquette (yes, there was some at the time) and what makes a good patch, while Jarkko Hietaniemi was always good for suggestions of interesting things for keen people to work on. Seriously, get involved. If I can do it, anyone can. Anyway, this fixation with understanding the Perl 5 internals, and especially the Perl 5 compiler, (due to yet another of my Perl influences, the great Malcolm Beattie) led to quite a torrent of modules, from ByteCache, an implementation of just-in-time compilation for Perl modules, through B::Flags and B::Tree to help visualising the Perl op tree, to uninit, B::Generate, optimizer and B::Utils for modifying it. Perl About The House Now we abandon chronological order somewhat and take a look at the various areas in which Ive used Perl. One of these areas has been the automation of everyday life: checking my bank balance with Finance::Bank::LloydsTSB (the first Perl module to interface to personal internet banking, no less) and my phone bill with a release of Tony Bowdens Data::BT::PhoneBill. Finance::Bank::LloydsTSB was meant to go with Finance::QIF, my Quicken file parser, to produce another now-abandoned idea, a Perl finances manager. It seemed that Im only capable of producing modules, not full standalone applications - or at least, it seemed that way until I produced Bryar, my blogging software, based on the concepts from Rael Dornfests blosxom and beginning my adventures with Andy Wardleys Template Toolkit. Bryar also tuned me in to the Model-View-Controller framework idea, of which more later. Another project I briefly played with was a personal robot, using the Sphinx/Festival speech handling and recognition modules from Cepstral and Kevin Lenzo. I didnt have X10, so I couldnt shout "lights" into the air in a wonderfully scifi way, but I could shout "mail" and have a summary of my inbox read to me, "news" to get the latest BBC news headlines, and "time" to hear the time. Of course, getting computers to tell the time nicely takes a little bit of work. I dont like "Its eleven oh-three pee em", since thats not what someone would say if you asked them the time. I wanted my robot to say "Its just after eleven", and thats what Time::Human does. Shame about the localisation..

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Platforms: Linux
Keyword: Acmeonehundrednotout Cpan Libraries Modules Onehundrednotout Perl Programming Time Way
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License: Freeware Size: 14.34 KB
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