stupid new module

On #perl today, Jesse was asking about a module to convert binary data into a string using only explicitly permitted characters. This was a problem I encountered a year or two ago when trying to use MD5 sums as worksheet names in Excel. Excel has some weird subset of Latin-1 as valid characters in worksheet names. Unfortunately, when I went to pull up the code, I found that the only revision I took with me from IQE was missing most of that code (which I had replaced with something simpler).

Anyway, I said something like, “It’s really trivial, it’s just a simple matter of programming,” to which Jesse replied, “I’d love to see it on the CPAN.” (Actually, I think he is part of the majority that doesn’t use the “the” in “the CPAN.”) It seemed like a fun little distraction, so I sat down after dinner and busted out Number::Nary. To be fair, it doesn’t work on arbitrary bitstrings. It wants a numeric value. It’s easy enough to get from a bistring to a number, though.

Wait, it is, right? I know this is one of those pack/unpack things, but I think that pack is the part of Perl that I have managed to avoid the most. I’ve done socket IO, I’ve done forking, and I’ve skirted around the edges of threading. I’ve just never touched pack, and I feel like learning how to use it would break my head. That’s fine, though. I wrote Number::Nary just for fun, not to get anything specific done. I’m sure not going to be generating Excel worksheet names again any time soon.

Written on October 2, 2005
🐪 perl
🧑🏽‍💻 programming