Grouping perl foreach values

Alex Satrapa grail at
Wed Jul 10 00:24:30 EST 2002

On Tuesday, July 9, 2002, at 08:45 , Richard Cottrill wrote:

> After making some truly horrible Perl code, while figuring out what 
> worked
> best for me, I came to the conclusion that structuring the data made 
> life a
> LOT easier. The ugliness of Perl only became apparent when the data
> structures became deeply nested.

Pardon me for expressing my sever Perl bias here - but there is no such 
thing as ugly code, only ugly programmers.

Go, find some code that is truly Ugly.  For example, Duff's Device.  
It's not the code itself that is ugly - it's the twisted mind behind it.

> Once I wrote a data structure sufficiently deep that, to access it, I 
> could either use a dozen single use variables or one line and a huge 
> comment.

If the data structure was truly that complicated, then there is no 
language around that would make it "simpler".  When you find yourself 
thinking, "this code I wrote is UGLY" - what you're really saying is, "I 
don't have a full realisation of the nature of the problem I'm trying to 
solve, the nature of the solution, or the language I'm using to build 
the solution."

Perl is much maligned because of things like insisting on curly braces 
around blocks, even when they're one-liners (eg: every if () has a {}), 
and the fact that regular expressions are in-line, not functions.  Thus 
you can potentially have three different grammars on the same line - 
Perl, regex and substitution.  Some people call it a "write only 
language" because one person chooses to express their ideas using nested 
hashes, while the next person expects to see arrays of arrays (one 
person calls it a shovel, the other calls it a square nosed spade).

Anyhow, apologies for the rant.  I'll go and answer another email in 
this thread with something that is a closer approximation to helpful.

ALL programs are poems, it's just that not all programmers are poets.
   -- Jonathan Guthrie
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