Upgrading from Perl 5.8

Imagine…

  1. You have a production system, with many different kinds of application services running on many servers, all using the perl 5.8.8 supplied by the system.
  2. You want to upgrade to use perl 5.14.1
  3. You don’t want to change the system perl.
  4. You’re using CPAN modules that are slightly out of date but you can’t upgrade them because newer versions have dependencies that require perl 5.10.
  5. The perl application codebase is large and has poor test coverage.
  6. You want developers to be able to easily test their code with different versions of perl.
  7. You don’t want a risky all-at-once “big bang” upgrade. Individual production installations should be able to use different perl versions, even if only for a few days, and to switch back and forth easily.
  8. You want to simplify future perl upgrades.

I imagine there are lots of people in similar situations.

In this post I want to explore how I’m tackling a similar problem, both for my own benefit and in the hope it’ll be useful to others. Continue reading

Building a different kind of extension

For the past year I’ve been rather distracted, with little time to devote to Open Source projects. I’ve been working on a different kind of project, adding an extension to our home. It’s been quite a journey.

After much planning (the plumbing Statement of Works, for example, covers four pages), and our fair share of trials and tribulations, the builders broke ground two weeks ago. Now, after days of digging and rock-breaking, the foundations trenches are all dug out and the concrete will be poured tomorrow morning. Finally, we’ll be “out of the ground”.

Digging foundations

Naturally I want to be around to handle issues as they arise, so this year I won’t be going to OSCON or YAPC::EU. If all goes well we should be completed in time for me to attend the London Perl Workshop in November.

Meanwhile I hope to find a little time for catching up on outstanding issues with DBI and NYTProf and perhaps a little more blogging.

Looking for a Senior Developer job? TigerLead is Hiring again in West LA

The company I work for, TigerLead.com, has another job opening in West LA:

As a Senior Developer, you will be playing a central role in the design, development, and delivery of cutting-edge web applications for one of the most heavily-trafficked network of real estate sites on the web. You will work in a small, collaborative environment with other seasoned pros and with the direct support of the company’s owners and senior management. Your canvas and raw materials include rich data sets totaling several million property listings replenished daily by hundreds of external data feeds. This valuable data and our powerful end-user tools to access it are deployed across several thousand real estate search sites used by more than a million home-buyer leads and growing by 50K+ users each month. The 1M+ leads using our search tools are in turn tracked and cultivated by the several thousand real estate professionals using our management software. This is an outstanding opportunity to see your creations immediately embraced by a large community of users as you work within a creative and supportive environment that is both professional and non-bureaucratic at the same time, offering the positives of a start-up culture without the drama and instability.

If that sounds like interesting work to you then take a look at the full job posting.

TigerLead is a lovely company to work for and this is a great opportunity. Highly recommended.

NYTProf 4.04 – Came, Saw Ampersand, and Conquered

Please forgive the title!

Perl has three regular expression match variables ( $& $‘ $’ ) which hold the string that the last regular expression matched, the string before the match, and the string after the match, respectively.

As you’re probably aware, the mere presence of any of these variables, anywhere in the code, even if never accessed, will slow down all regular expression matches in the entire program. (See the WARNING at the end of the Capture Buffers section of the perlre documentation for more information.)

Clearly this is not good.
Continue reading

Reflections on Perl and DBI from an Early Contributor

The name Buzz Moschetti probably isn’t familiar to you. Buzz was the author of the Perl 4 database for Interbase known as Interperl.

Back in those days Perl 5 was barely a twinkle in Larry’s eye and database interfaces for Perl 4 required building a custom perl binary.

Buzz was one of the four people to get the email on September 29th 1992 from Ted Lemon that started the perldb-interest project which defined a specification that ultimately lead to the DBI. (The other people were Kurt Andersen re informix, Kevin Stock re oraperl, and Michael Peppler re sybperl. I joined a few days later.)

Update: It turns out that it was actually Buzz who sent that original email, Ted just forwarded it on to others, including me. So Buzz can be said to have started the process that led to the DBI!

I hadn’t heard from Buzz for many years until he sent me an email recently.

This is his story: Continue reading

Looking for a new job? TigerLead is also Hiring in Ann Arbor MI

In addition to the job vacancy in West LA, the company I work for, TigerLead.com, has an opening for a “skilled developer” in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

Our work involves manipulating and warehousing external data feeds and developing web interfaces to create home search tools for prospective buyers and lead management tools for real estate agents. We’re looking for a skilled coder to join our small team of talented engineers in Ann Arbor. We hope to find an experienced programmer who is a good fit with our team, well-versed in multiple languages, able to learn quickly and work independently. We work in a Linux environment, and tools and languages we use include Perl, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, and GIT. Perl experience is a significant plus, but your current comfort level with any of these specific tools is less important than overall technical aptitude and ability to learn quickly and fit in well with the current team.

That’s a little thin on details partly because the work is varied. If you think you might be interested, take a look at the full job posting.

TigerLead is a lovely company to work for and this is a great opportunity. Highly recommended.