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Re: Perl Medic: Transforming Legacy Code by Peter J. Scott

by adrianh (Chancellor)
on Apr 23, 2004 at 10:32 UTC ( #347567=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Perl Medic: Transforming Legacy Code by Peter J. Scott

It is a nice book from what I've seen (and that's not just because it's the first time I've seen somebody use one of my modules in an actual print book :-)

You've not really mentioned the main subject of the book which is given away by the full title "Perl Medic: Maintaining Inherited Code". It has lots of concrete advice on approaching existing legacy Perl code and turning it into something vaguely sane.

If you're faced with this sort of task and are unsure how to approach it then it's definitely worth looking at.

For those who are interested has downloads for code + errata. Chapter 3 is available online.

The table of contents gives an idea of what it covers:

1. Introduction (First Response). First Things First. Reasons for Inheritance. What Next? Observe the Program in Its Natural Habitat. Get Personal. Strictness. Warnings. 2. Surveying the Scene. Versions. Part or Whole? Find the Dependencies. 3. Test Now, Test Forever (Diagnosis). Testing Your Patience. Extreme Testing. An Example Using Test- Modules. Testing Legacy Code. A Final Encouragement. 4. Rewriting (Transplants). Strategizing. Why Are You Doing This? Style. Comments. Restyling. Variable Renaming. Editing. Line Editing. Antipatterns. Evolution. 5. The Disciplined Perl Program. Package Variables vs Lexical Variables. Warnings and Strictness. use strict in Detail. use warnings in Detail. Selective Disabling. Caveat Programmer. Perl Poetry. 6. Restructuring (The Operating Table). Keep It Brief. Cargo Cult Perl. Escaping the Global Variable Trap. Debugging Strategies. 7. Upgrading (Plastic Surgery). Strategies. Perl 4. Perl 5.000. Perl 5.001. Perl 5.002. Perl 5.003. Perl 5.004 +. Perl 5.005. Perl 5.6.0. Perl 5.6.1. Perl 5.8.0. Perl 5.8.1. Perl 5.8.2. Perl 5.8.3. 8. Using Modules (Genetic Enhancement). The Case for CPAN. Using CPAN. Improving Code with Modules. Custom Perls. 9. Analysis (Forensic Pathology). Static Analysis. Eliminating Superfluous Code. Finding Inefficient Code. Debugging. 10. Increasing Maintainability (Prophylaxis) Making It Robust. Advanced Brevity. Documentation. Custom Warnings. Version Control System Integration. 11. A Case Study. The Setup. Triage. Desperately Seeking Sanity. Coming into the 21st Century. Incorporating Modules Effectively, 12. Conclusion (Prognosis).

If this all sounds familiar to you then you're probably not going to get a lot out of it. If you've not been faced with having to take over somebody else's code, or aren't used to building and maintaining larger Perl applications, then it's a useful read.

Peter Scott's other Perl book 'Perl Debugged' is also a good read, and not to be confused with the terrible 'Debugging Perl'.

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