webhosting with shells 
Author Message
 webhosting with shells

Do you guys know of any webhosters that allow a variety of CGI programs
such as bash, python, other shells(csh ksh), and other unix languages?
 No one at work knows a lot of perl and we don't want to go out and
learn it or get someone with perl knowledge.  Thanks.
Jason Toy



Thu, 16 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells

Quote:
> Andre> In the long run that might be a better way, as Perl programs can be
> Andre> difficult to read and modifications are hard to do.

> This is spreading FUD.  Put up or be quiet.  Replace "Perl" by "nearly
> any programming language known to man in the hands of rank amateurs",
> and the sentence is still true.

Every time I see this response I get curious.  If Perl itself isn't structured
in such a way that's *more likely* to lead to unreadable programs. . .where
did Perl's write-once/read-never reputation originate?

1)  Is the reputation wholly undeserved and perl programs really are
    generally as readable as any other high-level language?

2)  Is perl more likely to be used by inexperienced/incompetent/ill-socialized
    programmers who have trouble writing readable programs (or relish in
    writing incomprehensible ones)?

3)  Lotsa sumthin' elses I haven't come up with

Quote:
> Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777 0095

--Brad (who understands he's over-simplifying)


Thu, 16 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells
virtual-space.com is very reliable and gives you a shell with crontab
together with your Web site.
They have only Perl and bash (no other shells AFAIK), and python v1.4.
Then is there Tcl v8.0 and the Berkeley DB, and mSQL, IMHO.
But most CGI programs are written in these languages. A C compiler is
there, too.
They have a dozen of CGI programs, they put into your directory when they
create your account, but presumably you'll have a look at the thousands of
CGI programs floating around everywhere and upload them to your site.


Quote:
> Do you guys know of any webhosters that allow a variety of CGI programs
> such as bash, python, other shells(csh ksh), and other unix languages?
>  No one at work knows a lot of perl and we don't want to go out and
> learn it or get someone with perl knowledge.  Thanks.

In the long run that might be a better way, as Perl programs can be
difficult to read and modifications are hard to do.

CGI is very simple, but without this little knowledge, problems can be
very frustrating.

Often you can write your script which you understand and which you can
modify, in the same time your looking for the right script.

-- avs

Andre van Straaten
http://www.vanstraatensoft.com
______________________________________________



Fri, 17 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells


Quote:
>> Do you guys know of any webhosters that allow a variety of CGI programs
>> such as bash, python, other shells(csh ksh), and other unix languages?
>> No one at work knows a lot of perl and we don't want to go out and
>> learn it or get someone with perl knowledge.  Thanks.

Andre> In the long run that might be a better way, as Perl programs can be
Andre> difficult to read and modifications are hard to do.

This is spreading FUD.  Put up or be quiet.  Replace "Perl" by "nearly
any programming language known to man in the hands of rank amateurs",
and the sentence is still true.

--
Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777 0095

Perl/Unix/security consulting, Technical writing, Comedy, etc. etc.
See PerlTraining.Stonehenge.com for onsite and open-enrollment Perl training!



Fri, 17 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells
Having written this screed, I realize that it is fairly
off-topic for the newsgroups involved.  I'm going to violate
netiquette and post it anyway; if you're a purist in your
reading of c.u.s or c.l.a, I recommend you hit "next" now...


Quote:

>> Andre> In the long run that might be a better way, as Perl programs can be
>> Andre> difficult to read and modifications are hard to do.
>> This is spreading FUD.  Put up or be quiet.  Replace "Perl" by "nearly
>> any programming language known to man in the hands of rank amateurs",
>> and the sentence is still true.

>Every time I see this response I get curious.  If Perl itself isn't structured
>in such a way that's *more likely* to lead to unreadable programs. . .where
>did Perl's write-once/read-never reputation originate?

There are two aspects of perl that make it APL-ish(*) in this regard:
  * There is the generic problem that regular expression
    notation is very expressive, but also is easier to write
    complex REs than it is to read-and-understand them.
    Perl's syntax encourages heavy use of regular expressions,
    and to many people this makes the resulting perl scripts
    look like a bunch of line noise.
  * Perl's variable reference notation is very concise and
    powerful, but is also prone to obtuseness.  Also, the
    on-the-fly creation of complex data structures requires
    more discipline on the part of the author to document the
    data structures with comments than is the case with more
    formally structured, declare-all-datatypes-before-use languages.

Then there are the lesser issues of things like having six
idiomatic ways of doing a simple conditional (**) (which tends
to irk certain types of formal language afficionados to no end).

On the one hand, I strongly disagree with Andre in the sense
that I'd much rather have to maintain a halfway decently written
perl script than a complex mishmash of sh+awk+sed+expr+test+...
cobbled together to accomplish a task that does not neatly fit
the shell's pipeline-style processing model.

On the other hand, I mildly disagree with Randal, in that some
languages are better suited to maintenance than others.  While
one can write bad code in any language, some languages have
features (e.g., perl's "local") which are big headaches when one
has to maintain legacy code, and some languages lack features
(e.g., the ability to have strong type checking) which can catch
a large class of bugs at compile time.

Now I need to soften what I said in the previous paragraph by
pointing out that I hate fascist languages that _force_ you to
follow the language designers' idea of "The One True Way".  This
applies both to lexical matters like python's indentation-based
parsing, and to semantic matters such as being forced to use
control variables (because "goto"s are prohibited and no
adequate replacement (especially: labeled loops and some form of
"try/catch" mechanism) is provided) or enforcing a type checking
system with no mechanism to tell the compiler "I know this looks
dodgy, but I'm telling you that I know what I'm doing".

I love perl.  I think it is a great language.  But I wouldn't
want to use it for controlling a defibrillator or other safety-
critical device.  I'd very much prefer to maintain a perl
program than a BASIC program, but I'd also prefer to maintain a
large and complex Turing (***) program than a large and complex
perl program.

                --Ken Pizzini

(*) for those of you who are unfamiliar with the refence: APL
    (Kenneth Iverson's "A Programming Language") was/is a very
    powerful language (with a bent which makes it particularly
    attractive to those who need to do matrix arithmetic, though
    it is good at other things) that uses an idiosyncratic
    character set and a very simple grammar.  It had/has a very
    "one-liner" subculture associated with it, and it has a
    strong reputation of being a "write-once" language.

(**) viz:
   if (cond) { foo; }
   unless (!cond) { foo; }
   foo if cond;
   foo unless !cond;
   cond and foo;
   not cond or foo;
(And this list is not by any means exhaustive of the ways to
effect a simple conditional expression-statement in perl,
but merely the more common forms.)

(***) I'm referring to the HLL "Turing", by Holt et al. of the
      U. of Toronto, not the putative machine language of a
      "Turing machine".



Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells

Quote:
> Having written this screed, I realize that it is fairly
> off-topic for the newsgroups involved.  I'm going to violate
> netiquette and post it anyway; if you're a purist in your
> reading of c.u.s or c.l.a, I recommend you hit "next" now...

[...]

Quote:
> On the one hand, I strongly disagree with Andre in the sense
> that I'd much rather have to maintain a halfway decently written
> perl script than a complex mishmash of sh+awk+sed+expr+test+...
> cobbled together to accomplish a task that does not neatly fit
> the shell's pipeline-style processing model.

[...]

# Do you guys know of any webhosters that allow a variety of CGI programs
# such as bash, python, other shells(csh ksh), and other unix languages?
# No one at work knows a lot of perl and we don't want to go out and
# learn it or get someone with perl knowledge.  Thanks.

Presumably, I didn't read well this posting. Reading the last sentence
without context, I meant the author would like to use lots of Perl scripts
without a basic knowledge.
(Sorry for giving an unwanted advice to the wrong people.)

But rather than that, he was looking for a Webhoster which allows also
other scripting languages, because no one had Perl knowledge.
(That's the reason why this article is croos-posted to comp.unix.awk)

I understand all the furhter authors in their concerns and further
explanations, but generally I try to avoid this kind of discussions.

Sorry about any side-effects ;-)
They weren't thought as side-kicks.

-- avs

Andre van Straaten
http://www.vanstraatensoft.com
______________________________________________



Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells

Brad> 1)  Is the reputation wholly undeserved and perl programs really are
Brad>     generally as readable as any other high-level language?

Not wholly.  :) Perl is dense, probably doing more per keystroke than
Java, but less than APL. :) The density sometimes makes it forboding
to the uninitiated.

Brad> 2) Is perl more likely to be used by
Brad> inexperienced/incompetent/ill-socialized programmers who have
Brad> trouble writing readable programs (or relish in writing
Brad> incomprehensible ones)?

Bingo.  With the rapid spread of the web, and Perl's apparent utility
as "the duct-tape of the Internet", many many newbies came to Perl,
started hacking it for Kook CGI Sitez, and we ended up with dozens of
shared examples of badly written and badly insecure programs. Then
they in turn became "state of the art" to spawn a further cloning.
And like a copy of a copy of a copy from a copy machine, each copy
further down looked less and less like reasonable Perl, and more and
more like line noise.  I'm usually aghast at the self-professed "Perl
tutorial sites" that are out there.  Some truly scary misconceptions
on so many of them that I no longer stomach it.

Brad> 3)  Lotsa sumthin' elses I haven't come up with

I blame myself a bit.  During the "let's get everyone aware of Perl"
phase in the early 90's, I kept rewriting every answer in
comp.unix.{questions,shell} to use one or two lines of Perl (instead
of the 10-15 lines of shell that usually resulted).  Yeah, these were
cryptic.  I kick myself for having done that.  Yes, it brought many
new people to Perl, but it also convinced the rest that Perl *was*
line-noise.  And then I had the audacity to create my "Just another
Perl hacker," obfuscated Perl signoffs, which only furthered the
trend.

So, Perl isn't necessarily a good language for casual programmers, but
it doesn't deserve about half of the bad reputation people keep
seeming to put on it.  That's where I step in. :)

--
Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777 0095

Perl/Unix/security consulting, Technical writing, Comedy, etc. etc.
See PerlTraining.Stonehenge.com for onsite and open-enrollment Perl training!



Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells

Quote:

>> On the one hand, I strongly disagree with Andre in the sense
> I meant the author would like to use lots of Perl scripts
>without a basic knowledge.
>I understand all the furhter authors in their concerns and further
>explanations, but generally I try to avoid this kind of discussions.

The main thing in your response to the OP which triggered the
language-wars reactions was this sentence:
  >>>In the long run that might be a better way, as Perl programs can be
  >>>difficult to read and modifications are hard to do.

If all you meant was "..., as scripts written in a language for
which you lack basic knowledge can be difficult to read and
modifications hard to do", then I think we are all in agreement.

                --Ken Pizzini



Sun, 19 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 webhosting with shells

Quote:

> Do you guys know of any webhosters that allow a variety of CGI
> programs such as bash, python, other shells(csh ksh), and other unix
> languages?  No one at work knows a lot of perl and we don't want to
> go out and learn it or get someone with perl knowledge.

If you use something like the UNCGI program at
http://www.midwinter.com/~koreth/uncgi.html , then you can run pretty
much any Unix language that understands environment variables to
handle HTML forms processing.  At the "pemberley.com" domain, we run
search scripts in which UNCGI calls Unix sh, which then calls on gawk
to process the input form variables into egrep-style search patterns,
then calls on egrep to do the the actual searching, and then calls on
gawk again to process the egrep results into HTML.  This ends up being
a whole lot faster than the freebie Perl scripts downloaded from
various places on the net that we were trying to use before.  No doubt
the Perl scripts could have been optimized in various ways, and sped
up by incorporating an always running Perl as part of the web-server,
etc., but we're a volunteer organization, and like you don't really
have the money to hire a top-flight Perl wizard, nor do we wish to
turn ourselves into single-minded Perl wizards; therefore the "mixed"
solution that I mentioned is more practical for us (and might be
practical for you, depending on what you need to do, and the general
Unix expertise you have available).

--%!PS
10 10 scale/M{rmoveto}def/R{rlineto}def 12 45 moveto 0 5 R 4 -1 M 5.5 0 R
currentpoint 3 sub 3 90 0 arcn 0 -6 R 7.54 10.28 M 2.7067 -9.28 R -5.6333
2 setlinewidth 0 R 9.8867 8 M 7 0 R 0 -9 R -6 4 M 0 -4 R stroke showpage



Wed, 22 Jan 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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