Keeping our perl code clean

Recently I have been refining and adding utilities to look after our Perl code.  You might be surprised to learn that as well as 1.3 million or so lines of C code, there are about 30,000 lines of Perl code in our sources. This a sizeable body of code, even if it’s dwarfed by our C code. What does it do? Well, lots of things. It runs some very critical code in building from source, so the code to set up our catalogs is created by some Perl code.  All the new data setup for catalogs is in fact Perl code. That’s another 20,000 lines or so of code on top of the 30,000 mentioned above. We also use Perl to run TAP tests, such as testing initdb and pg_dump. And it runs building and testing when we’re building with the Microsoft tool-sets on Windows.

So, what changes have been made? First, we’ve refined slightly the setup for pgperltidy, our utility for formatting perl code. This utility, based on a well known perl utility, does for perl code what pgindent does for C code.

Second, we’ve added a script and a profile to run a utility called perlcritic. This utility checks to see if perl code complies with a set of “best practises”.  Currently we’re only testing for the “worst” practices, but I hope in future to be able to check in a much stricter way. The infrastructure is now there to support it.

Finally, there have been some code adjustments to allow us to check all the perl files for compile time errors and warnings, and a utility to run those checks.

These changes mirror some changes I have made in the buildfarm client and server code.

It’s easy to forget about these things, so I’ve also added a Buildfarm module to run the check on perl. If it finds any policy violations or compiler time errors or warnings we’ll soon know about it.

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