The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

No place like home

Clump clump clump clump clump—


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quite like—

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a three year old—

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girl in ruby shoes with—

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large heels walking around—

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Clump clump clump clump clump.


Too many emails


Or rather, an abundance of email.

Smirk called, saying that one of our servers was dying under a severe server load, and asked if I could write a script to clean out the sendmail queues.

So I spent some time writing some Perl code to do just that.

I don't like Perl. To me, it represents the worst of /bin/sh, awk, sed and grep (among other throat clearing noises that represent Unix commands). But for one off stuff like this, it was probably quicker than trying to do this purely under /bin/sh or even C.

In retrospect, I think I could have written it faster in C.

First off, I write my Perl using “strict”; it's enough that Perl will gladly accept simple typos (unless in “strict” mode). But that lead to problem number one: I couldn't figure out how to use Getopt::Std (Perl code to parse the command line) in “strict” mode. I had to spend some time figuring out that the correct incantation to use would be:

use Getopt::Std;
use strict;
use vars qw($opt_h $opt_b $opt_d $opt_t $opt_D);


(in this code, -h is to scan the headers, -b to scan the body, -d to specify the queue directory and -t to specify where any email matching should be copied to, and -D to output debugging messages)

Okay, next problem: it's not finding anything. I grep through the headers, find something like “Subject: AdD Thr33 IncHes 2 ur MOrtgAge” then run the script:

./ -h 'Subject: .*[Mm][0Oo][Rr][Tt\?][Gg][Aa@][Gg][Ee3]' -D'

And nothing shows up.

Debug debug debug.

Turns out I'm a bit overzealous with using “my” (which is used to declare which variables I'm using in “strict” mode). Each instance of “my $variable” causes it create a whole new variable. So of course:

foreach my $entry (@queue)
  if (my $entry =~ /[dqx](.*)/)
	# blah blah blah

isn't going to work, since I effectively get two new variables by the name of $entry.

Okay, declare all the variables I use in one spot. That fixes that problem, and a whole slew of other problems related to scoped variables.

But at least the code is working.

Why yes, I'm still learning Perl.

And I still don't like it.

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