Perl Does IT Again! subject logo: UNIX
2008-05-03
Posted by: badanov

Back in the bad old days of the first half of this decade, while I was learning to use Perl and about databases, one of the most vexing tasks I had was trying to integrate dBase database tables to PostgreSQL database tables.

The importance of this was that I was trying to take a particular company's data from an obsolete database standard to a modern more robust one, such as PostgreSQL.

dBAse was for its day a very robust database system, a standard which had been written to a wide variety of platforms, but the coming of age of the internet and the improvement on database technology, rendered dBase obsolete. While dBase could be used in a network setting, sorta, but it had several drawbacks, one of the biggest was security in a networked environment to say nothing of the ad hoc net capability.

No question, however a number of companies are still using the dBase format out of fear from changing over to a better system, and losing years of data.

At the time I was struggling with my own ignorance using a number of tools which were supposed to enable the task of data interchange between what was then an unknown but better database product and dBAse, I made several stabs at trying to make the interchange as seamless as possble, but alas, my basic lack of knowledge and education rendered that task nearly impossible.

What I was able to do was to create a number of automated tasks but was ultimately unable to use the Perl DBI to interface between the two systems.

Searching the internet, trying to figure a way to do that very transition to my tiny company I was re-introduced to the perl DBD:Xbase interface.

What I found was an amazing work of very intense quality, enough so that the task of integrating, not just moving data from one format to another could be made incredibly easier. The quality of the work is so good I can seamlessly read a dBase customer file and use that data to create new invoices written to a PostgreSQL database system, and then back again for printing.

This is no news to those who have been over the intervening year struggling with these issues, but it certainly is pleasant news to me. It eases the task of trying to sell such services to a company afraid to make such a jump in database technologies.

Just wanted to share the good news.

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