Ingperl
More Power, Less Programming

Laura F. McGinnis
Computing Services
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Prepared for CA-IngresWorld '95

Abstract

Perl is a public-domain language that bridges the gap between Unix shell and C programming. It simplifies text manipulation, file processing, and process management. When perl is combined with CA-Ingres SQL, the result is a simple yet graceful and dynamic query and data manipulation language, called ingperl.

This presentation will provide a tutorial showing how to acquire perl and ingperl, how to build them, and how ingperl can be used in place of embedded C programs and complex shell scripts. Examples of embedded C and shell scripts that have been converted to ingperl will be presented, and various performance considerations will be discussed.

This presentation is directed at beginner and intermediate level Ingres programmers.


About Perl

What is it?

Perl is an acronym for "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language". It is a public-domain programming language that combines features of C, awk, sed, and shell programming. It was created by Larry Wall when he hit the outer limits of what he could do with awk. Larry is still the primary developer, but since perl is one of the most popular programs in the public domain, many people have contributed enhancements and extensions. Ingperl is one of these extensions. The current version is 5.001 (as of October, 1994), but the generic relational database extension, to be known as dbperl, is not yet ready, so we will be working with perl 4.036.

Perl is a language that breaks the Unix paradigm of "do one thing well". Since Unix was designed as a set of simple tools that could be combined to do more complicated tasks, perl is merely the extension of this basic premise. Perl has adopted

Perl is best applied to tasks which are too complicated or entail portability constraints that can't be met by shell programming, or are too short-lived or complex for C programming. Perl is also a valuable prototyping tool, since perl development can be very fast and modular.

Licensing

Perl is distributed under the GNU Public License or the "Artistic License", which let you distribute perl binaries if you make the source code and any modifications you make to it available for free as well. Copies of these licenses are given at the end of this paper.

Perl runs on any type of Unix, since it is distributed as source code, with configuration scripts which let you customize it for your particular installation. Of course, since perl is freeware, it is distributed completely without guarantees or warranties. Perl does use the available memory on your machine, so perl scripting must be done carefully, especially on memory-constrained machines.

Larry Wall's basic philosophy (from the Perl FAQ 1.6)1: "Perl is to be a fast text-processing, system-maintenance, zero-startup time language. If it gets to be so large and complicated that it isn't fast-running and easy to use, it won't be to anyone's benefit."

Limitations

Where Can I Get Perl?

You will need the source code for perl to build ingperl. To see if you have perl on your system, type "perl" at the system prompt. If you get "perl: not found", you will need to get and build perl before you can build ingperl.

There are a number of ftp sites that have the sources available. Larry Wall maintains the official distribution site, but the largest archive is currently maintained at the University of Florida. Perl is also available on the WWW and at a gopher site. There are also a number of ftpmail sites, and sources are available through UUNET, although there is a phone charge from UUNET. See the FAQ (1.12-1.15) for specifics.

How Do I Build It?

There are simple, explicit instructions for building perl in the README file included in the distribution. You do not need special system privileges to build perl for your own private use, but you may find it valuable, if you can, to install perl as root, so that it is available across your system. If this is not feasible, you may want to consider installing perl as user ingres, so that perl and ingperl can be available for all database projects.

After you have acquired the perl 4.036 kit and unpacked it, check to make sure you have all of the files listed in the file called MANIFEST. Read the README file carefully; it contains good general information, and, as mentioned above, the instructions for building perl, which I have summarized here. NOTE: This summary is not a substitute for the README file!

Perl is very easy to build:

  1. Run Configure. This looks at your system to determine what parameters need to be set to build perl.
  2. make depend. This sets up the makefile to use to make perl
  3. make. This will create the perl executable in your current directory.
  4. make test. This runs regression tests, to verify that perl has been created successfully.
  5. make install. This installs perl into the directory you specify (as public or private as you want).
Once perl is built, read through the man() pages.

How Do I Use Perl?

Perl scripts or programs run like shell scripts. You put your statements in a file, set the execute bit on the file, then type the name of the file at the system prompt. But you need to tell your shell that the file is not a shell script, but a perl script. To do this, put #!/usr/bin/perl as the first line in your perl script. This will tell your shell to run the script under the perl shell. So, here is your basic "Hello, world!" program, in perl:

#!/usr/bin/perl
print "Hello, world!\n";

Of course, this doesn't use any of the nifty features that make perl valuable, but it's easy to build from here.

Perl Syntax and Notation

Perl is a generally free-form language. In fact, perl scripts, like C programs, can be written on a single "line", although this is not recommended. Like C, perl statements are terminated by semi-colons.

All perl variables and user-built functions and routines begin with special characters. This distinguishes them from perl reserved words. The special characters, known as "type specifiers" indicate what type of user-identifier is being used, for example:

$ = scalar variable (string or numeric)
@ = indexed array or list
% = hashed or associative array
& = function or subroutine

Strings are delimited by single ('), double ("), or reverse (`) quotes. depending on the level of interpretation needed. This is similar to string quoting in shell programming.

Perl is extremely effective at pattern matching. It uses the sed nomenclature for searching and substituting.

Example (perl):

#!/usr/bin/perl
# Function: statchk
# Purpose: Check system status for a list of IDS
# Input: (Prompt) File name of user IDs
# Process: 1) Get name of file that has Ids
# 2) Open the file
# 3) For each ID:
# 3a) lowercase(ID)
# 3b) if ID is not in Whitepages directory
# User is deleted or ID does not exist
# else
# 3c) Check Whitepages for mail forwarding info
# 3d) if ID has mailforwarding fields
# User is suspended
# else
# User is active
# 4) Clean up temp file
# Output: (stdout) User ID + Status
# Author: L. McGinnis
# Date: March, 1995
# Changes: (none)
#
print "Name of file containing IDs to check: ";
$id_file = ;
chop ($id_file);
open (USER_LIST, "$id_file");
while ($user_id = )
{
chop($user_id);
$user_id =~ tr/A-Z/a-z/;
$user_ok = system ("wpq $user_id > /usr/tmp/statchk.out 2>/dev/null");
if ($user_ok == 256)
{
print "$user_id has been deleted (or never existed)\n";
}
else
{
$user_ok = (system ("grep \"Delivery kind:\" /usr/tmp/statchk.out 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null")) / 256;
if (!$user_ok)
{
print "$user_id has been suspended\n";
}
else
{
print "$user_id is active\n";
}
}
}
system ("rm /usr/tmp/statchk.out"); exit (0);

Perl Support

Perl support is available from a variety of resources:

About Ingperl

What is it?

Ingperl extends perl by adding a library of subroutines and variables that allow you to connect to, query, and update CA-Ingres databases. Ingperl has been set up to work with perl, version 4.036 and CA-Ingres 6.4. Ingperl will be replaced in perl 5.001 with a more generic library, which will be known as dbperl. DBperl will provide a standardized set of database functions for manipulation any relational database that has a dynamic SQL interpreter. This work is being addressed as a project headed by Buzz Moschetti; Tim Bunce, the ingperl developer, is working on the CA-Ingres module.

Licensing

Like perl, ingperl is distributed under the GNU Public License or the Artistic License. Since it is freeware, there is no warranty, so try it out on a test database before you start using it in production. You may redistribute ingperl as long as you include or make available the source code and the source to any changes or enhancements you make.

Limitations

Where Can I Get Ingperl?

Ingperl is available by anonymous ftp from ftp.demon.co.uk, in the directory /pub/perl/db/perl4/ingperl. Be sure to collect all of the files in the directory (although you will not need any of the files in the subdirectories).

How Do I Build It?

After retrieving the files, uncompress ingperl-2.0p1.tar.Z and extract the files from ingperl-2.0p1.tar. Once you have extracted the files, ingperl has a simple 3-step build process, documented in the README file:

  1. Copy Makefile.ingperl to Makefile.
  2. Edit makefile to set the home path for the perl source and CA-Ingres.
  3. run make.

How Do I Use Ingperl?

Ingperl has only a few simple functions, since it is primarily based in dynamic SQL. Like dynamic SQL, you can do just about anything with ingperl. Like dynamic SQL, you can get into a lot of trouble if you don't use it carefully.

Example (ingperl):

#!./ingperl
# Function: je_gen
# Purpose: Generate Journal Entries
# Input: (Database) Usage records
# (Database) Income centers
# (Database) Resource rate information
# (Database) Account (debit) information
# (System) Date
# Process: 1) Get system date in required formats
# 2) Open the output (JE) file
# 3) Query database for batch total
# 4) Write batch header record to JE file
# 5) Call ReportWriter to generate JE records
# 6) Concatenate JE records and batch header
# 7) Clean up temp JE file
# Output: (Flat file) JE file for Accounting
# Author: L. McGinnis
# Date: March, 1995
# Changes: (none)
#
$today = `date +%m%d%y`;
chop ($today);
$je_date = `date +%m%d`;
chop ($je_date);
$je_file = "cscb$je_date.jep";
open (JE_FILE, ">$je_file");
select JE_FILE; $| = 1;

# generate batch header
&sql("connect printbill"); # connect to the CA-Ingres database
@batch_total = &sql_eval_row1 ("select sum(money(u.pages_printed * r.page_rate)) * 100
from income_map i, usage u, resource_rate r, account_list a
where a.account_code = u.account_code
and right(a.debit_center, 4) = i.expense_code
and u.resource_code = r.resource_code
and a.account_code not like 'R%'");
printf JE_FILE "BH01010116%12.12d%6s12\n", @batch_total, $today;
close (JE_FILE);
&sql ("commit");
&sql("disconnect");

# generate JE records
system "report -s printbill je";
system "cat je.out >> $je_file";
system "rm je.out";

# Library function to execute a select and return first row
sub sql_eval_row1{
&sql(@_);
return undef if $sql_error;
local(@row) = &sql_fetch; # fetch one row
&sql_close; # close the cursor
@row;
}

#!./ingperl
# Function: load_users
# Purpose: Parse fixed-width user data file & insert user info into database table
# Input: (Flat file) vax.users fixed-width data file
# Process: 1) Open the file
# 2) For each record:
# 2a) Extract the necessary data
# 2b) if any data is missing
# 2b1) Log error record to error file
# 2b2) Count error
# else
# 2c) if users's account is not in database
# 2c1) Log error record to error file
# 2c2) Count error
# 2d) if data is OK
# Save the record to a temp table
# 3) if there weren't "too many" errors
# 3a) install processed data as live data
# else
# 3b) write warnings to error and log files
# 4) Clean up & close files and database
# Output: (Flat file) load_users.log - log of process run
# (Flat file) load_users.err - detail of errors
# Author: L. McGinnis
# Date: March, 1995
# Changes: (none)
#
$MAX_ERRORS = 10; # if there are more than 10 errors, don't save the data
open (LOG_FILE, ">>load_users.log");
open (ERR_FILE, ">>load_users.err");
$today = `date`;
chop ($today);
&sql("connect printbill"); # connect to the CA-Ingres database
open (USER_FILE, "vax.user"); # open the Vax users data file
print LOG_FILE "$today::\tProcessing vax.user\n";
print ERR_FILE "$today::\tProcessing vax.user\n";
$record_count = 0;
$error_count = 0;
while ($users = ) # process each record in the file
{
$ok_flag = 1;
$record_count++;
chop ($users);
$user_name = substr ($users, 0, 21);
$user_id = substr ($users, 21, 8);
$account_code = substr ($users, 50, 4);

if ((!$account_code) || (!$user_id) || (!$user_name))
{
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\t$users -- Data misaligned\n";
$error_count++;
$ok_flag = 0;
}
else
{
# Check the Account Code
&sql ("select account_code from account_list where account_code = '$account_code'");
$junk = &sql_fetch;
if (($sql_sqlcode < 0) || ($sql_sqlcode == 100))
{
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\t$users -- Account code not found\n";
$error_count++;
$ok_flag = 0;
}
}

# If all necessary data is OK, save the record
if ($ok_flag)
{
&sql_exec ("insert into tmp_user_list (account_code, user_id, user_name)
values ('$account_code', '$user_id', '$user_name')");
if ($sql_sqlcode)
{
$error_count++;
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\t$users -- Insert into temp table failed\n";
}
}
}
# if everything's OK, copy clean data to production table
if ($error_count < $MAX_ERRORS)
{
&sql_exec ("modify user_list to truncated");
&sql_exec ("insert into user_list (account_code, user_id, user_name)
select account_code, user_id, user_name from tmp_user_list");
if ($sql_sqlcode)
{
$error_count++;
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\t$users -- Insert into user_list failed\n";
}
else
{
&sql_exec ("modify tmp_user_list to truncated"); # clear out temp data
}
else
{
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\Too many errors; data not saved.\n";
print LOG_FILE "$today::\t\Too many errors; data not saved.\n";
print LOG_FILE "$today::\t\Check error log.\n";
}
&sql_exec ('commit'); # close all cursors, commit all transactions, clear all locks
print LOG_FILE "$today::\t\t$record_count records processed; $error_count errors found\n";
if ($error_count)
{
print LOG_FILE "$today::\t\tCHECK ERROR FILE FOR PROBLEMS!!!\n";
}
else
{
print ERR_FILE "$today::\t\t(No errors found)\n";
}
close (LOG_FILE);
close (ERR_FILE);
&sql("disconnect");

Ingperl Support


GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE

Version 1, February 1989

Copyright (C) 1989
Free Software Foundation, Inc.
675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Preamble

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When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Specifically, the General Public License is designed to make sure that you have the freedom to give away or sell copies of free software, that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

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The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.

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1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this General Public License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this General Public License along with the Program. You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy.

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Definitions:

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The End


Perl Meta-FAQ

Version 1.4 - December 28 1994
neilb@khoros.unm.edu

The meta-FAQ is available as:

html:
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postscript:
ftp://ftp.khoros.unm.edu/pub/perl/metaFAQ.ps
ascii:
ftp://ftp.khoros.unm.edu/pub/perl/metaFAQ.txt

1. Where can I get the Perl FAQ?
North America:
[] ftp://ftp.cis.ufl.edu/pub/perl/doc/FAQ
[] ftp://ftp.khoros.unm.edu/pub/perl/faq.gz
[] ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/news.answers/perl-faq/
[] ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/perl-faq/
Europe:
[] ftp://ftp.cs.ruu.nl/pub/NEWS.ANSWERS/perl-faq/
[] ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/doc/faq
[] ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/packages/perl/FAQ

{Stuff deleted }

7. Perl on the World Wide Web (WWW)

Perl All-Sorts
[] http://www.khoros.unm.edu/staff/neilb/perl/
[] http://www.metronet.com/1h/perlinfo
[] http://www.cis.ufl.edu/perl
[] http://web.nexor.co.uk/perl/perl.html
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[] http://www.oac.uci.edu/indiv/ehood/perlWWW/
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[] http://web.nexor.co.uk/perlman
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