Aaron Scott’s latest Two Leaf Clover script just happened to hit right at a time when I was dealing with a big blow-up, so I found this especially amusing today.
Often, we have the time to do things the right way, the clean way, the methodical way. I appreciate when I get those times and I try my best to leverage them appropriately. However, there are just some times where “ugly” has to do. I don’t mean “ugly” in the physical sense, I mean that there are just times where you don’t get the opportunity to put something together that would be elegant. Instead, you need to get results, you need them very fast, and you deal with the fact that the inelegant solution will get you over the finish line in just enough time with just what you need. Later on, you can refactor and make it pretty, but for right now, you just want something that works, makes the case, and gets you where you really need to be in a short amount of time.
Often, I find that I have a quick need to check and parse out if pages are displaying something. I could eyeball the pages myself, or I could use cURL to download and examine the pages automatically. There’s a lot of potential links, and while in a perfect world, I’d be able to important variables parse for values, split them out and then use them as looping criteria, sometimes you just say “look ten pages deep, go through 100 sources, and check 2000 links, and do it before lunch”. In those cases, the quick and dirty beauty of the command line shines through. It’s times like this where I look at UNIX/Linux, smile and say “my stars, how I’ve missed you!” It’s often not elegant, glamorous or even pretty, but when it gets the job done, I will not complain :).