One of the themes winding its way through this section is a text-file-oriented approach to managing semistructured data. I’m not wedded to this approach, and in later chapters we’ll see applications that use both object-oriented and relational data stores. But I’ve found text-oriented methods to be appropriate for many practical purposes. These are, after all, the methods used by Internet applications—mail, news, and the Web—that have connected more people to more information than anyone a few years ago dreamed possible.
Let’s explore this notion of appropriate technology. Later in
this chapter, we’ll see an example of a Perl function called
getSeqInfo( ) (part of the
Docbase::Navigate module in Example 7.16) that looks up a piece of an index by reading
in a small text file. Shouldn’t that be done, instead, as an
SQL query against a “real” database? Certainly it could
be done that way. Whether it should, though, is another matter. Often
we’re too easily swayed by a technological imperative that
urges us to use the biggest available hammer to drive every nail.
When a different tool is appropriate for a job, it makes sense to use
it. Perl’s unparalleled strengths in two key realms—text
processing and data structure wrangling—make it eminently
appropriate for many of the challenges that confront a groupware
Groupware applications rarely fail because their developers pick the wrong database engines. They fail, instead, because they ...