Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fascinating Things about Regular Expressions and Oracle

I'm finally doing some programming in my role as a programmer at work. I'm a "Support Programmer" which means my bread and butter is correcting the data the "Programmer programmers" didn't get right the first time. Occasionally, I get to modify code, and recently I wrote something that added some functionality to a piece of existing code. To help validate my change, I had to create a query that would parse a log message, and aggregate some data so I could understand what got processed by the code I modified.
I learned the following important facts:

  • REGEXP_SUBSTR is a great Oracle function. There are some quirks with it that need to be considered, but all in all, I'm trying to always use it instead of SUBSTR. One of the limitations in REGEXP_SUBSTR is that for now, there's no support for look behind or look ahead functions. To work around this, I had to take a REGEXP_SUBSTR of my REGEXP_SUBSTR.
  • Pattern matching requires its own mindset. You must not only keep the end result of the pattern you want in your mind, but you must also consider what the pattern is on the way to becoming what you want.
  • TIMTOWTDI is a blessing and a curse. There may be more than one way to do it, but there can also be more than one way to almost do it. This can be dangerous.
As I continue to grow and develop as a programmer, I chase after "The Better Way". Because SQL has a well structured set of instructions, that better way is often subtle, and involves understanding things like profile optimizers, and indexed searches. Every day I respect, and like SQL more.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May News, Plans for the Summer

Here's a report on what's going on in my often scattered brain:
I'm learning to calm my soul: Thanks to Psalm 131. It's a short and deep scripture.

My eldest child turned 12 over the weekend, one year from now, I'll officially be an Old Man, ie, father of a teenager!

Old dogs can learn new tricks, I've learned a lot about using regular expressions in Oracle, and have a detailed post coming about that.

On the Ham radio front, I'm considering downsizing my shack significantly. The girls are more interested in birds than radios, and I'm ok with this. Keep your eyes posted for some items for sale to fund my binocular/spotting scope/camera needs.
There will be good deals to be had!

politics: Always always always remember: Poly: More than one. Tick: blood sucking disease bearing parasite.Don't let them rule you, instead trust in the rule of Christ.I'll have some more interesting thoughts about the role of Christ and the government later.

Bromeliads are amazing, and the T. simulata growing in the backyard named "Choo-choo cha-cha" is doing especially well! I'm this close to being done with an update on that.

Much of life is lived in a boomerang fashion, being that while it doesn't repeat itself, it does rhyme. Currently, I'm reading some of my old college textbooks, and gaining insight into scripture I don't think I could have possibly had when I was 19 or 20. It's amazing how some things improve with age!

Speaking of age, I turn 40 in October, you have been warned.

Over the summer I plan to go birding a lot. By a lot, I mean at least once a week. Doing anything regular is a crazy thing to accomplish. The eyes need to see green things, the heart needs to soar with our avian friends, and the brain needs to be occupied with sorting out the deeper connections humanity has on this planet.

little things in place x become big things in place y.