26 July 2006


Another couple of tutorials today. The first was "Advanced Perl DBI" by Tim Bunce. He showed up 15 minutes late, which was fairly annoying. But it was otherwise a good session. I learned lots of interesting and useful things. For example, fetchrow_arrayref() is faster than fetchrow_hashref(). And not a little bit faster, but several times faster. I like the convenience of fetchrow_hashref(), so that I can reference column values by name, rather than array index. But I learned that I can get much the same effect (and much more efficiently) using fetchrow_arrayref() and bind_columns().

I also learned that the DBI has built-in profiling capabilities, and prepare_cached() can be used in place of global statement handles.

The afternoon session was about testing Web applications. Part of the tutorial was about Grinder, a free load-testing tool (apparently, most such tools cost obscene sums of money). It looks pretty hard to use, but might be helpful. But most of the session was about a unit-testing tool called Selenium, which is also free. By contrast, it looks pretty easy to use. I downloaded it and ran the default test suite in Firefox. Two of the tests failed: they dealt with popup windows, which Firefox blocks by default. I then disabled popup blocking and re-ran the suite, and all the tests passed. Pretty cool.

Looks like my workstation at work has gone crazy. The kernel thinks that all the filesystems are read-only. I can't even reboot the thing remotely--I'll have to get my officemate to do it manually tomorrow. I never had this problem with Slackware, but I've now seen it three times with RedHats (twice on Fedora and once on CentOS). I'm wondering if it's LVM. I've never actually really used LVM features (like resizing a partition), so maybe I should go back to normal partitions.

The restaurant here in the hotel has an amber ale on draft called Drop Top. It's yummy.

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