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Re: Finding the path

by talexb (Chancellor)
on Apr 16, 2008 at 02:32 UTC ( #680720=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Finding the path

Let me add one thing that no one's mentioned yet -- Test Driven Development.

At $work[-2] I developed a web application called File Exchange Server (FES) partially using TDD, and it opened my eyes to the whole process of a) starting with a known good system, b) adding a feature or bug fix and c) confirming that everything's still fine using your tests. Wow -- I change something over here (waving my hand over to stage left) and something over there (waving to the balcony) breaks! Cool! Now, why is that? Go find out.

My colleague Mike Stok turned me on to Log::Log4perl, a fantastically useful module for logging that allows you to turn up or turn down the logging level externally to whatever you're testing, with module granularity. Messages can go to a log file, they can be sent out as E-Mail messages, sent to a pipe, anything. Really, really useful.

As for what to build, try to build something you'd be interested in using, perhaps using wheels that exist already, perhaps using wheels that you write yourself. One thing that I want to do is sample my 200+ vinyl albums into MP3 files and make a jukebox out of the resultant recordings. I could use my wife's installation of iTunes, but it's a thought -- if I had the spare cycles.

A final word of advice -- keep your career in mind -- if software development is something you're interested in doing as a career, then when it comes to interviewing or even just talking about an opportunity, it's great to have some 'war stories' that you can roll out that embody your passion. That's your chance to talk about some of the cool projects that you completed, whether you used Perl or not.

Most of all, have fun!

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

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Re^2: Finding the path
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Apr 16, 2008 at 03:52 UTC

    Indeed. I recommend Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook. It saved me at least 6 hours right off the bat with the section on testing untestable code, of which, to my dismay, I've inherited a metric oodle.

      Hah, that's exactly how I figured it out enough to write parts of that chapter. (Some of my metric oodle was in the Perl core.)

        I have something I like to say at times like this: Better you than me.

        And thanks for the book! I have felt like O'Reilly's titles have been drifting away from what I need/like but this one is really well-done; not just the information but especially the way it's presented. In the micro-payment based world I wish we lived in, I'd owe you and Ian 2.3¢ on every test I write.

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