This is my first posting despite having been here for a week, because the zaniness that was my first week did not allow for such silly things as introductions. Now I finally have some of the infrastructure things worked out, and can report on my findings.
Work has been progressing on a scraper for shapefiles for the Senate. I've been fairly successful in getting a large amount of data, (up to 7.6 GB of zip files!) so my task today was to clean up the script and make it readable to commit it back upstream. I had started by adding more loops to the script for special cases, but that meant repeating the core download code. Realizing this, I made a generalized downloader function which gets called by each loop, simplifying individual loops into a simple
for URL in $URL_LIST; download $URL $FILE; done
Well, I think it's simpler...
Each time I tweak away at this file, my bash skill gets better and better, but whether any of this is going to stick around is another question. I always forget the simple bashisms, like for loops and conditionals, and I can never remember quite how variables work. But as I work more with this file, I get more comfortable with these conventions. Though I still occasionally pine for the occasional pythonic statement (and perhaps also for the fjords).