The Perl function vec
could eliminate the need for special masking and logic to access bits. Use pack
if the traditional format is required for I/O or third party software. The learning curve is probably too steep for a small or one-time project, but it worth knowing that this tool is in our tool box. This type of code may be hard to write the (especially the first time we try), but should be easier to maintain because than traditional code because it more closely corresponds to our idea of what we want to do.