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Taming Legacy Perl Code
Peter Scott, Owner, Pacific Systems Design Technologies

Track: Perl
Date: Tuesday, July 27
Time: 8:45am - 12:15pm
Location: Portland


If you've acquired Perl code written by someone else, or even if your own code is giving you problems, this class is for you. Based on Scott's recently published book Perl Medic: Transforming Legacy Code (Addison-Wesley, 2004), it provides first aid for the ailing program that just landed in your lap.

Perl is easy to start using. But sometimes being easy can get you into trouble. The many ways to program in Perl mean that Perl code can often be cryptic, obscure, or muddled. Just because a program runs doesn't mean it's maintainable. Hordes of programmers have acquired just enough Perl knowledge to get a program to run, and then one day, you find yourself tasked with maintaining or improving that program, and the horror begins.

This class is designed to help you deal with that horror. You'll learn:

  • How to reformat and edit bad code
  • How to write tests for legacy code
  • How to restructure and rewrite
  • Wrapping warnings and "use strict" around legacy code
  • Modernizing through use of modules and objects
  • How to debug troublesome applications
  • Designed for beginning through intermediate Perl programmers, this class will also help you make your own code more maintainable. It will also impart an understanding of the importance of both rigor and beauty in code management and development.

    What drew Scott to this topic? "It kept coming up in the Perl classes I was teaching that people had problems with Perl code they had inherited from others. And I could not help them within the framework of the classes, which were teaching them how to develop good code from scratch. So I wrote a book to deal with the problem.

    "Dealing with legacy Perl code is like wiping dirt off your shoes before going in the house; it's neither glamorous nor controversial, but everyone's got to do it. Possibly the most interesting part of my presentation will be showing people how to analyze their legacy code in various ways."

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