niall_shapero: Fox Mask (Default)
I have been a software engineer now for more years than I care to think about.

Since the improvement in microprocessor capabilities made it possible, much of my work over the last twenty years has been written in C or C++ (much of my work has been in "hard" real-time embedded applications). Prior to roughly 1985, the "hard" real-time applications I worked didn't permit full use of high order languages (CPU utilization constraints were the problem).

It's not that I haven't programmed in other languages (I've almost lost count of the number of assembler languages I've learned and used over the years, and I've used everything from Matlab and Pascal to HAL/S, Basic, and Perl) but I tend to come back to C and C++ because they are simultaneously the most flexible, powerful, and portable of the languages that I use. That's not to say that they don't have their drawbacks. Shooting yourself in the foot is almost trivial in C, and in C++ you can instantiate multiple copies of your feet before you shoot them all at once (Uzis, anyone?).

At the moment, I'm working on a program in Perl to do data validation in a post-processing environment. Since the language of implementation was chosen for me (I would have written the project in C++ given my druthers) I've had to make Perl do handstands to perform tasks that would be far more easily handled in C or C++. Yes, I know, Perl is more suited to regular expression handling (a necessary component of this task as it turns out), but other than having to test my regular expressions carefully each time (something I have to do regardless of the language of implementation), I've learned the "tricks" of regular expression handling in C and C++. But, as they say in the music business, "it's a gig".

So today finds me "playing" with Perl prototypes on my home machine (the Company is on Holiday shutdown, but I've installed Strawberry Perl on one of my home machines, and I just can't resist programming). I suppose that this is much the way some writers feel; they can't help writing, and don't feel good about themselves unless they have written something lately. So even if I'm not getting paid for doing this (right now), I'm still spending time on the computer writing code. But I do so ENJOY it when a plan (or a program) comes together!


niall_shapero: Fox Mask (Default)

September 2017

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