Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What a difference a job makes

Well, after 6 1/2 years at the same job, I finally decided to get off my duff and see what was out there. Now, I am not one of those people who likes to hop from job to job because I like the stability and the stature you get from being at a job a long time. At my old job, I had quite the distinction of not only being the only true implementations Subject Matter Expert(SME), but I was also the only remaining 'original' member of the team. There was only two of us in the beginning and it was like that for quite a while, but as people left for other positions, I remained and held the product together. I wrote much of the original documentation for the project, maintaining it throughout my tenure.

Thing with my old job had steadily changed. The workload steadily increased (which isn't a bad thing), but with it came the stress of that increase. The clients would come into the queue and inevitably, the higher ups that were associated with the project would push my manager to assign the project immediately because they waited too long to get us involved to implement the project in a normal time line. The stress level really counts for a good percentage of my reason for leaving, not to mention that after our most recent merger, that ended up with the company we bought literally taking over the place, a whole slew of cutbacks were made in order to save everywhere they could. Now, cutting back is part of the large corporate environment and its expected. But, when they are cutting and cutting and then hiring a 'ba-zillion' middle managers because their organization believes in the "how many tiers can our organization have" approach with the "too many chiefs not enough indians" side effect that goes along with it, then you have raise a questionable eyebrow.

Sure, stopping the purchase of things like tissues and other goodies that made life a little easier is piddly because you can supply those yourself, but when things in the organization change so much that you are watching people walk out the door every week, even those with 20+ years, you get to thinking about #1.

So, I did and I took a look at what was out there. Believe it or not, it wasn't very long before I started going to some interviews, but the interview I was most anxious for was for the position I am in now.

I went from doing client implementations at a large bank, on an e-commerce platform with solutions such as AS2, HTTPS, SFTP, FTPS and a couple of other miscellaneous solutions, to working AT a client site for a company that does most of that companies tech work. What I am doing now it Secure FTP development using Perl.

The biggest pluses to my new job are that not only am I working what so far seems to be a great bunch of people, but I am doing coding with Perl almost every day. I have come to really like Perl in the last couple of years and to have a job that allows me to code in it is just INCREDIBLE!!!

Granted, there are those out there who do it every day and are either tired of it or are skewed by their development experiences who have told me not to be so excited about it, but I cannot help it. Try to remember back when you were excited about it, nobody could stop you from talking about it or keep you from your keyboard or the Perl forms. That is the state I am in now, just Loving what I am doing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Of coding Perl in relation to Ksh scripting

I know that there are many differences between shell scripting and Perl, I am reminded of that daily while I constantly switch between the two. Although today, I ran across a difference that I wanted to share with everyone.

In scripting, you can do something like the following:

##### begin code #####

myVar = this

myNextVar = ${myVar}andthat

print $myNextVar

##### End Code #####

The output of this would be: thisandthat

The point above is that you can enclose the variable(except for the dollar sign) in curly braces and it is interpolated to its value and then whatever comes after the curly braces will be appended to the name.

Well, this becomes impossible to do as shown above as the curly braces are used for other things in Perl. So, I did some thinking and figured that I could use the concatenatin character to solve my problem. Here is the above code as how I would have written it in Perl:

##### Begin Perl Code #####

my $var = "this";
my $nextVar = "$var" . "andthat";

print $nextVar;

##### End Perl Code #####

The output of the above Perl code is exactly the same as the shell script, but as you can see, we have to put things together in a slightly different way.

Happy Perl coding!

Monday, May 07, 2007

What drives OSS?

It was recently posted to slashdot that boredom is what is driving open source developers. This may be true, but isn't it just one of the things that drives OSS development?

How many of us have researched for a production that does what we want, only to find that the software that does EXACTLY what we want is so far out of our price range that you would have to take out a loan to afford it? So, that said, isn't cost another thing that drives OSS? Most of the software out there is free, but if you want support, that is where you pay $$$, or find an online community. That is the advantage that OSS has over commercial software is even though you could pay for support if you wanted to, the community is large enough that you can normally find the support you need in a forum.

So it is boredom AND cost in my opinion, that drives OSS software developers. Granted, I have searched for a product and not found the features I would want. If I were a full fledged OSS developer, I would take to developing my own software in that case, leading to a third, albeit a little less immediate source of drive, but still another source that needs mentioning.

All in all, it is not just one thing, but many things that drives OSS developers, just like innovation.
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