Resuming Data::Tubes


I (re)used Data::Tubes to address an issue.

I’m helping a friend deal with an issue regarding some not-so-complicated data handling and one of the files that we had to parse has a 80-ish format with fixed fields in specific lines.

The entire format is according to an Italian specification about the so-called CBI format. The bottom line is that there are…

  • records that are formed by multiple lines, each with its own type and data
  • lines have a fixed 120-characters-long format, where characters means bytes.

It’s been an occasion for me to resume Data::Tubes and see if past me has been gentle with present me. As always, docs can be enhanced but overall I had a good experience with getting up to speed again after forgetting almost everything (apart from the underlying generic philosophy).

The main pipeline I came up with is the following:

my $p = pipeline(
   ['Reader::by_line', emit_eof => 1],
      key => 'type',
      factory => sub { return \&nop }, # ignore stuff by default
      handlers => {
         disposizione => \&aggregate_disposition,
   sub ($r) { $r->{info} }, # keep info field only for output
   {tap => 'array'},

This pipeline expects to receive a file name as an input and start processing it:

  • input files are opened;
  • each file is read by the line - this “explodes” each input record (an opened file) into multiple output records (one per line);
  • the line_tracker only serves the purpose of tracking the line number, should it be necessary (e.g. if nobody asked for it)
  • the cbi_aggregator takes multiple input records - corrisponding to the different pieces of information for a record - and coalesces them into a single record per operation (comprising multiple input parts)
  • the plumbing part is to make sure that we only keep what we’re really interested into (full records pertaining a specific operation, not every possible one) while ignoring the rest (the factory by default ignores the record)
  • the last tube gets rid of most of the “housekeeping stuff” and retains the interesting part of the record, that is whatever has been collected into info.
  • Last, weask the pipeline to return an array instead of throwing everything down the sink.

There are a few rough edges here and there in the docs - e.g. it would be good if I documented a bit better what comes in and out of some functions, and add more examples about their intended usage. All in all, anyway, I have to thank past me for making it easy for me to use Data::Tubes 😄

Stay safe and have fun, folks!

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