[Israel.pm] Perl for C, C++, C#, Java, COBOL and VB programme rs

Omer Zak omerz at actcom.co.il
Wed Mar 10 11:14:51 PST 2004

With all respect, I beg to differ.

There are horror stories of people, who made silly mistakes by blind
substitutions.  An example which I remember from 15 years ago is a
newspaper article about physicists, in which all occurrence of the word
"pee-see-kay" (in Hebrew) was replaced by "rashrash-kay" due to someone
who substituted all occurrences of "pee-see" (PC) by "rashrash" in the
newspaper issue.

The proper way to edit source code by help of scripts is to have a script
flag all occurrences of the text (with somewhat permissive pattern
matching), and then have the human perform the actual edit (or at least
confirm the change after inspection of the context).

On Wed, 10 Mar 2004, Eitan Schuler wrote:

> Gabor,
> I am thinking of a very simple example in COBOL:
> CALL is the command to run an other program with parameters.
> When the parameters of an existing program change, need to grep for all the
> appearances of CALL to it, and correct the parameters on the caller side.
> (unlike in C++ and VB where you can add optional parameters with default
> values, in COBOL you can't as far as I know)
> In my prev. company I was really shocked when I heard that a programmer sat
> for about 2 days to fix the caller programs.
> Then I came and asked: "why didn't we do it in perl?"
> The answer was that they can't trust in 100% in an automatic code-writer.
> They prefer to invest 2 days of a programmer than to take the chance that we
> forget something in a regular expression in a special case and the perl will
> make code wrong.
> The production code is not the beta-site of "learning perl in 21 days"
> My feeling was that they just couldn't cover in the task specification
> exactly all grammatical code-contexts where the change should have been
> made. That's why the preferred "human eyes" to scan.
> So. The most important thing is that managers should start to trust in perl,
> and in perl programmers.
> This should be the basic to your idea. And then it can make revolutions.

                                             --- Omer
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