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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • What people need to learn is called "data modeling" or "data architecture". I've worked as a DA many times, and not many people understood why I insisted on doing things particular ways. (Analogous to people questioning why you program things a certain way in Perl: why write tests? why use strict? they just get in the way.)

    Once you learn data modeling, it helps to improve your programming in general, because it also applies to data structures in your code. Have you ever looked at a multi-level hash in Perl and said, "No, change the order of those two levels, it'll be easier to look up"? You were doing data model tuning for a hierarchical database.

    Unfortunately, data modeling isn't taught formally (most places). I picked it up over the years. I'd recommend starting by learning a methodology like IDEF1X [idef.com], which, though old, has many good ideas. Then you too can say things like "Partial key migration leads to unnecessarily complicated update queries later." ;-)