Thoughtstream | Courses

Perl Worst Practice

This unusual course examines a highly sophisticated (and heavily obfuscated) Perl program named SelfGOL: a transdimensional, self- aware, viral, software meta-quine.

The SelfGOL program can:

SelfGOL accomplishes these feats in under 1000 bytes of standard Perl, without importing any modules, and without using a single if, unless, while, until, for, foreach, goto, next, last, redo, map, or grep.

To do all that, it relies on some extremely advanced programming techniques, and makes use of many of the lesser-known features of the Perl syntax. This talk explores both these aspects of the program, using them to illustrate many important Software Engineering principles, mainly by ironic counter-example.

Course format

Half-day or full-day seminar

Who should attend

Perl programmers from all disciplines who are at least familiar with the basics of Perl's control flow, string handling, and simple data structures (scalars, arrays, hashes).