Author Archives: brian d foy - Page 2

Computing excellent numbers

In the “Benchmarking” chapter of Mastering Perl, I emphasize better algorithms over different syntax. Many of the problems we think we have better solutions if we change how we do things instead of worrying about the efficiency of a particular keyword. In this item, I’ll go through my actual path through a problem rather than hiding all my failed experiments. The negative results are just as valuable. Read more »

Ten numbers on a blackboard

In Ten numbers on a blackboard, someone asks about the largest number you can compute by reducing a set of numbers. I was surprised to see that someone spent quite a bit of time to brute force it and that their Python solution was so slow. So many of the things I write about in the “Benchmarking” and “Profiling” chapters come into play in this conversation. Read more »

Makefile.PL as a modulino

A Perl distribution’s build file is often a neglected program. The community has standards for code in the modules, but we ignore quality (or kwalitee) in Makefile.PL, the test programs, and other ancillary code.

Much of my work in CPAN Archeology has dealt with figuring out what data goes into WriteMakefile. In Test::Prereq, I took the heavy-handed and ham-fisted approach of monkey patching ExtUtils::MakeMaker just to intercept its arguments. In MyCPAN::Indexer, I run the build file and look at the generated META files. That comes with many other problems. Read more »

Redis provides lightweight, scalable persistent data structures

I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with Redis, a lightweight and simple data structure server. It’s easy to install locally, but you can also get a free server from redislabs. Services such as Heroku can spin up Redis instances and use them with your Heroku-deployed Mojo applications. Read more »

More fun with the diamond operator

In The double diamond, a more secure <>, I showed how the diamond operator treated some characters as special when it tried to open the filenames in @ARGV. I used a file name that ended with a | to read the output for an external command.

Thinking about it more, I realized the problem is even worse. Opening an external command to read the output might even be useful. What if I start the filename with > to open a file for writing, but not only writing, to truncate it to? Read more »

The double diamond, a more secure <>

We’ve had the three argument open since Perl 5.6. This allows us to separate the way we want to interact with the file from the filename. There’s a place where we don’t get to choose, but Perl 5.22 might introduce a new operator to handle that. Read more »

The Data::Dumper stack smash (fixed)

Problems with data serializers was a major change to Mastering Perl. The Storable issue with malformed inputs was known for a long time but nobody much cared about it. Now it’s Data::Dumper‘s turn. Read more »

Support Mastering Perl at the Swiss Perl Workshop

If you’ve enjoyed this website, you have the chance to show your support and to help the global Perl community.

The organizers of the 2014 Swiss Perl Workshop are also trying to organize the Perl community in Switzerland. As part of that, we are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Mastering Perl class while I’m there. Read more »

Examining Quicksort

Earlier this year, Emma Howson posted a nice explanation of how Perl sorts a list. In short, Perl used to use quicksort and now uses mergesort. She then shows how each of those works.

I’ve never bothered to explain those in the Learning Perl class. I don’t even mention that there are different sort types or that the sort module lets you control which one you want to use. But, as someone on the path to mastery, you need to think deeply about things that you normally take for granted (and Perl lets us do some much of that). Read more »

Sub::Install has a nice interface

I didn’t mention Sub::Install in the “Dynamic Subroutines” (or maybe the Symbol Table chapter. It was worth a mention (but only that). I show readers how to define subroutines in other packages (or even the current one, I guess) by assigning to a type glob: Read more »