Coding in Lieu of Scripting

Since I "mostly" moved to support about 8 years ago now I have parsed a LOT of logs, and I enjoy it. I like to search for unknown problems before they become known at 3am, or figure out what happened exactly at a given point in time, especially when no one else seems to know. The discovery is fun and I get to tell a story with the data. At first I used the shell at lot and I rediscovered lost skills from my early days in ISP land. However, I found it very difficult to share that knowledge. Scripts were never quite portable enough, and the Windows users would just stare at me in bewilderment when I handed them a bash script Note this is before WSL was really a thing, and while I enjoy powershell support is unix centric.

I tried a few different strategies to knowledge share: central script repos, documents teaching all the commands I used (complete with copy pastable examples use cases) and none of it really took off. Worse, as my scripts needed to get more advanced they got harder to grasp, I mean for myself let alone for others. So I began to write a lot of Go and Python code instead. Go was easy to teach, Python even easier and a lot of people knew it, and for things where performance or deployment ease wasn't the primary driver Python worked out super well for knowledge sharing.

The best example of this was sperf which had a lot more than the 93 commits listed as it started as a close source product. In sperf, I found my way to solve tickets with readable reports that found an answer to a delicate problem, and then I could immediately deploy and share it with everyone, if it had any bugs or had issues, and I was too busy, someone else could fix it right then and there. This may not have happened exactly as often I would like, but I appreciated every bug fix I got as one less thing I had to do in the middle of an escalation, and the unit tests gave me a log more confidence in the result. I do something like this everywhere I go, I take whatever code I used to solve an issue, and then put it into a central tool for everyone else to use, this has been hugely popular and uplifted my career in a large number of ways, plus the customers have really appreciated the reports.

For those of you less into CLI I have also done several python notebooks that were hugely useful and for a time I did all my reports this way, but the coworkers by and large trended towards cli/unix tools. In another organization though I would happily write python notebooks like this, but the principle is the same, make your problem solving reusable and easily shareable, and write tests.