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Odud (1047)

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Journal of Odud (1047)

Friday October 31, 2003
09:53 AM


Actually NOMOREPERL for money. Today marks the end of an era for me. I leave the place where I have worked for the last eight years - doing a job that started off as technical but has gradually moved more into the service management areas.
I did manage to keep some perl work going through the years though. Today as I moved a little web based app that I had written from one server to another I realised that I'm probably never going to do this again for money.
The plus side is that I'm probably going to enjoy the recreational perl programming side more....
Tuesday June 24, 2003
06:58 AM

Tim O'Reilly

Went to see Tim speak at the UK UNIX User group last night. Tim entertained a capacity crowd here to what I suspect is the usual blend of thought provoking stuff and humour.

I wonder if his slides will be published?

I recognised acme and davorg in the crowd (from their Identikit pictures on Crimewatch!)

Wednesday June 04, 2003
10:00 AM

References hurt my brain

Why do references always trip me up? I tend not to use them greatly and always struggle when I do. Context: I was trying to make a subroutine return a reference to a slice of an array. I wrote
which just returned a reference to a scalar before finding what I needed was

Thursday February 13, 2003
03:16 AM

DocBook munging

This week I've been doing the routine data munging thing. Turning a file with : separated fields into something else, in this case DocBook tables. All fairly straightforward, but it makes you long for the DocBook equivalent of DocBook::Table goes someway to doing what I want so maybe I'll start to look at building something on top of it.
I suppose that the set of Perl users AND DocBook users AND CPAN module writers is fairly small, which explains why there are only 4 modules found in searching...

Thursday January 09, 2003
03:57 AM

Simple Pleasures

A work colleague has started getting interested in Perl, he's reading Learning Perl (which can't be bad) - his background is in simple shell scripts. We've planned some short, informal, around the keyboard sessions - so far we've done opening, reading, and writing files. Today we do arrays, lists, and hashes.
I've been doing a very very simple "Cookbook" approach and so far it has seemed to work. It's great to get back to basics, but sometimes hard when you have to explain something that you have been doing for years without really thinking about it.
Future topics include pattern matching, regexes, and subroutines - but I haven't thought beyond that (suggestions welcome!).

Wednesday October 23, 2002
02:26 PM

Commuting - Moan, Winge

After about 5 years of living 10 minutes walk from work I'm working about 2 hours single journey from home. I'd forgotten how much I hated driving up and down the motorways - and how tiring it is. Still, it's only supposed to be for 3 weeks.

Sunday October 13, 2002
11:29 AM

Perl Beer?

Wychwood Brewery (in Oxfordshire, England) have released their Halloween beer and called it Pumpking. "... imparts a flavour reminiscent of dried fruits. The Northdown hops provide a balance with a heady, hoppy, bitterness. A delighful mysterious blend of pleasures"

Tuesday September 24, 2002
09:01 AM


I've been looking for Perl scripts/modules that will help with developing a taxonomy/classification system. Basically I want to be able to ask n questions and then based on the answer select a further m questions to ask etc. etc. until the end of the tree is reached.

The application I have in mind is identification of typefaces - but I don't think that is particularly relevant.

For UK readers with long memories there was a program for the BBC Model B that "understood" animals and would do a reasonable job of "guessing" what animal you were thinking of based on simple questions about number of legs/wings/horns etc. It also could be configured to add new animals - provided that you could give a distinguishing question. At the moment this is the sort of complexity I need.

Searching CPAN (keywords: taxonomy, classification) hasn't yielded anything that looks relevant - for the first time ever in my experience! - is this a wheel that hasn't been invented yet?

Can anybody point me in the right direction?

Update: The answer is probably Clips with a Perl front end to make the question/answer part easy.

Saturday May 04, 2002
04:10 PM

Family Trees

I've been playing with GraphViz to try to make it produce family trees. It seems to be one of those things that look easy until you try it when it suddenly becomes non-trivial.

Basic problem: how do you make it put the husband and wife in the same rank with their childen in the next lower rank.

I note than some of the GraphViz::X authors report that reordering of the nodes is a problem - for family trees you almost always want the children to be in order of birth and not to be reordered by the layout algorithm.

The ability to produce a pretty diagram from a simple .dot file is very impressive however.

Monday February 11, 2002
06:04 AM


Winter illnesses (me, the wife, the kids), real work, other commitments (I do the layout for the parish magazine once a month) and house redecoration has prevented any development on my book cataloguing/indexing project for the last few weeks. However I made some progress over this weekend.

Having decided that the XML describing a book was very simple:

      <title type='01'>Some title</title>
      <contributor type='01'>An Author</title> ...

It seems obvious that title, contributor, etc would be tables in the database each having a column linking back to a row in the book table. The book table has a single column holding a unique book id - its purpose is to link the other tables together.

So I've got a big file of input XML - parse it with SAX because I don't need to know anything complicated and won't suffer from "two stops before I do.." problems - write the rows to the database with DBI.

All worked fine - once I remembered to turn off AutoCommit and I've now got a populated database.

Next steps - write some stuff to query it and get the results back as XML - use Sablotron (or similar) to apply XSLT and churn out HTML, TeX, plain text as required.

It's been really good to fasten SAX and DBI to some simple code of my own and produce something useful - and hopefully the query/output stages will be equally rewarding.

But first I have to get the magazine finished.......