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Converting QuickBasic to Perl at work

At work, most of our software programs run in Linux. We do use Windows XP workstations, however. We use PuTTY to access Linux. It works well, and the IT department as well as most of the data engineers. The only thing that is keeping us from making the switch is QuickBasic.

Several years ago, a former employee wrote a few batch files utilizing the QuickBasic language. At the time, it worked well, and it still is. However, the more we use Linux, the more we see the sheer power it offers, and getting rid of a lot of Windows and other licenses is optimal. So I decided to take it upon myself to make the conversion.

Fortunately, there isn't much in the QuickBasic realm at work that I need to deal with. All of them just read plain text files, make some adjustments, and spit out the result into a new text file. And luckily, there are only a handful of these programs to worry about.

The only drawback to making this switch is the macros that a few of the data engineers have grown accustomed to. Also, these employees have become familiar with the language, so altering the Basic program to fit their certain circumstances isn't too difficult. This could mean trouble when moving to a new language for a few reasons. First, the new language will need some tutoring and training before making the switch. Next, the macros everyone has grown to love will disappear, unless smaller Perl or Python scripts can be written to replace those macros. Finally, these programs would need to be bullet-proof. Due to the manipulation of extremely valuable data, bugs would have to be 100% worked out before implementation.

Weighing the benifits versus the drawbacks, however, seem to be clear. If the goal of the company is to move to everything Linux, even for workstations, then a new language will need to a replace the existing Windows-only QuickBasic programs. Perl has low overhead and utilized little processing power. It is an easy language to grasp, and an easy language to write "quickies".

While I have no code yet, I do plan on attempting the conversion this week, which means I'll have some code and tutorials up soon.

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