For instance, I did $record =~ s/\s+/,/g; to search and replace all spaces with commas so I could parse the data out. But some fields were not separated by spaces, no! It finally took me doing a character-by-character comparison to find out that not all the spaces were chr(32), like the normal world, but some were chr(160). One sixty? WTF? (In fact, I called the variable $wtf) Who uses chr(160) as an "alternate space?" Jesus. So I had to parse down all the spaces, then tabs, THEN chr(160), which I learned was called a "no-break space" way back when. Of course.
This HP3000 is only one step better than terminal line printers and punch cards.
Anyway, that was the breakthrough that I needed. A majority of my work for this group is to take stuff they have been doing by hand for the last half a dozen years and automate it. Every day, I find out some new thing they have been doing by hand.
Perl has been a godsend with parsing data.