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Industry Specific Uses of Perl

by Anonymous Monk
on Oct 02, 2009 at 16:01 UTC ( #798890=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Anonymous Monk has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Where I can find the industry specific uses of Perl? For example.. Banking, Insurance, Finance, Bio informatics, Game programming etc.


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Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by CountZero (Bishop) on Oct 02, 2009 at 16:33 UTC
    Browsing through the various modules on CPAN will get you already a (non quantitative) idea of the areas where Perl is used.

    But many industries use the generally applicable basic elements of Perl, such as DBI/DBD, web-frameworks, (language) parsing techniques, regular expressions, text munging, glue, ....

    To give but one example: I work in insurance broking and I use Perl to maintain the database of the insurance claims of our clients; to parse the various data-formats in use by the insurers; to make automatic reports (through LaTeX, useing Perl as a glue language) and to run various kinds of statistics on the claims database for risk management purposes. And then I am forgetting about the countless little "one off" scripts to do all kind of things which would be tedious or difficult or error prone to do by hand.


    A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

      </Could you please explain clearly, where we use Perl in Insurance domain(I mean What kind of work you automate in insurance domain)>
        The two main applications I have written are the following:
        1. Our office works with many different insurance companies. All these companies produce lists of claims of our clients. Unfortunately all use a different file format, such as CSV, spreadsheets, RTF, ... As you can see, that makes analysing these claims lists quite difficult. Hence the scripts I have written will parse these lists and extract the data into a common database. Analysing the claims data then becomes a (relatively) easy job with DBI and some SQL. The data from this database is then transformed into a format that is easy to use with, for instance, R.
        2. Another project is to produce standard Insurance Certificates on basis of data which our commercial people maintain in (mainly) some excel-spreadsheets. "Standard documents" of course scream "template"! Indeed Template::Toolkit is the central pivot for this script. It is a rather straigth-forward "extract data from spreadsheet; put into a Perl-datastructure; run the template engine" application, but my colleagues think it is kind of magical. In goes a few spreadsheets and out comes a nicely formated PDF-file. The template produces a LaTeX-file which is passed to (La)TeX to make the finished pdf file. Of course, Perl drives this whole process from start to finish, leveraging disparate technologies into one seamless whole. Perl is the best glue ever!.


        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

        My blog: Imperial Deltronics
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by ikegami (Patriarch) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:02 UTC
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by Bloodnok (Vicar) on Oct 02, 2009 at 19:44 UTC
    In my many client engagements, aside from the many and varied utility libraries (I really ought to put my PAUSE id to good use for the better good:-)) and scripts, the more specific uses include:
    • Automate the system/soak testing of a SAN product - incl. test result gathering and publication
    • Provide the basis of a customer API Implementation for the aforementioned SAN product
    • Provide the glue for SMTP/X400 e-mail & LDAP/X500 systems
    • Implementing X500/LDAP data management (incl. importing/exporting/synchronisation) tools
    • Synchronise a multitude of disparate client problem databases with a central project problem database tool
    • Migrate data from (and then subsequently maintain synchronisation between) a SQL Server based software repository & configuration data into a proprietary CM system
    • Produce/generate intra-net MIS websites
    • Implement entirely platform neutral make rules (within a ClearCase environment)
    • Customise/supplement CM tools to better support/fit in with the defined CM process(es)
    • Automate the unit testing of both *NIX shell script & C utilities
    • Implement a self-configuring, extensible dirty word search tool for secure websites and e-mails
    • Implement a bespoke, UNIX ABI compliant packaging toolset
    There's undoubtedly more, but the thought of a nice cool pint, or several, ...


    A user level that continues to overstate my experience :-))
      How Perl Saved the Human Genome Project

      by Lincoln Stein

      THE PROBLEM: Although the two centers use almost identical laboratory techniques, almost identical databases, and almost identical data analysis tools, they still can't interchange data or meaningfully compare results.

      THE SOLUTION: Perl.

      The human genome project was inaugurated at the beginning of the decade as an ambitious international effort to determine the complete DNA sequence of human beings and several experimental animals. The justification for this undertaking is both scientific and medical. By understanding the genetic makeup of an organism in excruciating detail, it is hoped that we will be better able to understand how organisms develop from single eggs into complex multicellular beings, how food is metabolized and transformed into the constituents of the body, how the nervous system assembles itself into a smoothly functioning ensemble. ..... Altogether, people estimate that some 1 to 10 terabytes of information will need to be stored in order to see the human genome project to its conclusion.

      So what's Perl got to do with it? From the beginning researchers realized that informatics would have to play a large role in the genome project. An informatics core formed an integral part of every genome center that was created. The mission of these cores was two-fold: to provide computer support and databasing services for their affiliated laboratories, and to develop data analysis and management software for use by the genome community as a whole. .....

      Perl has been the solution of choice for genome centers whenever they need to exchange data, or to retrofit one center's software module to work with another center's system.

      So Perl has become the software mainstay for computation within genome centers as well as the glue that binds them together. Although genome informatics groups are constantly tinkering with other "high level" languages such as Python, Tcl and recently Java, nothing comes close to Perl's popularity.

Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by ramlight (Friar) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:01 UTC
    Perl is far too flexible a tool to allow a reasonable answer to this question.

    I use it to make complex tests of the videoserver equipment that I work with both automated and repeatable. I also use it to generate patches for systems that are in the field. Both of these applications are far removed from web or database applications, but they would be more difficult to do without Perl.

Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by almut (Canon) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:15 UTC

    In the automotive industry (where the majority of my clients come from at work), Perl is being used quite a lot for automating all kinds of tasks, such as glueing together other domain-specific applications (Catia, Nastran, ANSA,...) to allow a coherent data- and workflow.  Data format conversions, automatic document generation (of test/simulation results, etc.), and scriptable interfaces to various databases are other typical usages.

    With any application that's primarily meant to be used interactively, people sooner or later get tired of babysitting their computers with repetitive tasks, so some scriptable interface is wanted, and that's where Perl often comes in... I think in part because engineers often want to understand and/or make minor modifications to their tools, and somehow - in my experience - Perl seems to be the scripting language most compatible with a typical engineer's mind set :)

Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by jakobi (Pilgrim) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:17 UTC

    Well it's a bit more specific this time, and there _are_ some, I'd say distinct, usage domains, that you could associate with certain fields:

    • number crunching (engineering, insurance math; e.g. PDL as module example),
    • bio informatics (see e.g. ISBN 9780596000806),
    • hosting & web (e.g. embperl, mod_perl) and
    • data center/sysadm things (swatch to more modern stuff like puppet, mon and rt. DBI of course).
    • core computer science (e.g. parsers, PDQ)
    And I think I've also seen one book about perl for some of the classic engineering sciences (sorry, couldn't find it again).
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by marto (Cardinal) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:17 UTC
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by ctilmes (Vicar) on Oct 02, 2009 at 17:10 UTC
    And also, what industries use computers and how do they use them?
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by leocharre (Priest) on Oct 02, 2009 at 16:26 UTC
    Yes.. keep going...
      Well, I am not looking for extended list of industries. ( BTW: Extending list: Telecommunication, Media, Mining, Music etc) What I am looking for that how it is being used. ie.. What is the purpose of the use in. So I am looking for the task that Perl is targeted with. Mainly it's all data processing, but some are of interest to some people compared to others.
Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by leocharre (Priest) on Oct 02, 2009 at 16:28 UTC
    Might be easier to find where it's *not*.. But .. I bet some MS monkey uses it all low key n' sh1+..

    Bill: Wow monkey, how did you do that?

    Monkey: Uhm... VBScript? Yeah, that's it.

    Bill: Wow, I had no idea VB Script could do that..

Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by QM (Parson) on Oct 03, 2009 at 03:19 UTC
    That's like asking for the industry specific uses of a pencil. It's quite a long and diverse list. Why?

    Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

Re: Industry Specific Uses of Perl
by FloydATC (Deacon) on Oct 03, 2009 at 14:09 UTC
    I'd mention NASA, but perhaps that goes without saying?

    -- Time flies when you don't know what you're doing

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