Category Archives: Practice

Can you make it go faster, again?

You know how it is when management asks you to make an existing program go faster, it’s almost always a challenge which is taken up with enthusiasm. You get to explore the codebase, try out new approaches, fix those long clunky if statements, rationalize the code, all within the constraints of maintaining backward compatibility, and utilizing your …

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Does this health intervention work?

Here’s a simple graphic to describe the steps one needs to complete before declaring any health intervention as sufficiently valid to justify it’s use. The basic principle can be applied to many disparate processes.  

Is it fixed?

When you want to know if your software is fixed, you need to check it. This may seem obvious, but the number of people who don’t bother cannot be counted. And by “check”, I don’t mean “does the fix look like it worked?” followed by “yes, then let’s deploy it”, I mean something quite different. …

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Generating a trace

Generating a trace with the perl debugger. Having the right tool for the job is essential. It’s all very well having a big, impressive hammer in your toolbox, but if you  ave a nut and a bolt to put together, you won’t get very far unless you have a spanner too. A trace is a report of …

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Debugging a Perl Program

Debugging a Perl Program It’s possible to start the debugger with a piece of Perl code as an argument by including the C<-e> switch on the command line. To debug a particular program instead, we substitute the program name to be debugged, along with any required arguments. So let’s do this with our current program (charcount) and dive into …

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Look, look, look!

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter that you are highly experienced, there will still be times when you simply need to look at the problem, rather than think your way through it. Of course thinking is useful, and a pre-requisite habit for any successful developer to foster, but even if you’re smart you …

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