monday, 2 november 2009

posted at 08:17

A couple of months ago I started work in a new job, doing various programmery things for the Monash student intranet thing The job description says "web programmer", but there hasn't been much web yet. At this point I'm mostly concentrating on the glue code needed to hook up various Google services to our environment. 99% of the code I'm writing and working on is Perl.

I've been using Perl for ages though. For the last nine-and-a-bit years I've been a mail sysadmin at Monash, and while the "core" of our systems has always been full-on professional mail software packages (both proprietary and open-source), all the bits in between have always been Perl. We've written all sorts of stuff, from full web environments and workflow packages to all the traditional sysadmin tools like log parsers, report generators, config builders and everything in between. There's never been any question for us - Perl is just so obvious for this kind of work.

Previously though, Perl was merely a tool that I used to get the job done. In many ways though its now become the job itself. For any given day I can be reasonably confident that most of it will be reading or writing Perl code, whereas before I'd only bust it out when I needed it. Additionally, I haven't really done this type of work before so I'm getting lots of ideas for stuff I want to play with on my own time and also finding gaps in my knowledge that I want to fill out. So now I'm finding just about every moment I'm at the computer I'm doing something with Perl, far more than ever before.

So, I've decided that it would be really good to finally join the mob rather than just hang around the edges looking in. I'm signing up for the Iron Man challenge to keep me honest, and I'm moving my code to Github for a bit more visibility. This is going be an interesting change for me, as in both blogging and coding I'm used to producing something large and fully-formed before showing the world, but obviously that doesn't work if you need to post once a week. I've started making a list of little Perl things I can write about in a couple of paragraphs, so hopefully I'll be able to keep it fresh.

Additionally, I've committed myself to writing everything I possibly can in Perl. I have a long history with C as well, and for the longest time always reached for it for anything closer to the hardware/OS (a fuzzy line, but typically that means server-type things). No more. From now on unless there's a very specific reason why Perl is unsuitable, I'll be choosing Perl for my code.

So that's it. Hi :)