Friday, October 31, 2014

Pride and Shame: A simple code review format for developing developers

Gave this talk at BarCamp Omaha this September. Thanks to TechOmaha for recording!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Installing Dart and CoffeeScript

Giving a talk on Monday, June 18 on CoffeeScript and Dart that will mostly be a code-along.

For CoffeeScript, make sure you can run coffee from a command line:

  1. node, download here:
  2. npm, now included in node
  3. CoffeeScript, use the CoffeeScript with Node and npm instructions (basically one line, but...)
  4. Some kind of programmer's text editor. I'll be using jEdit, but I'd recommend VIM or TextMate as they both have great CoffeeScript integration.

For Dart, install the Dart editor, which is an IDE with a browser (Dartium).

  1. Dart editor, download here:
  2. Unpack the archive someplace and run the program from there.

Monday, April 30, 2012

JavaScript as Assembly – Exploring CoffeeScript & Dart

Just agreed to a talk on Monday, June 18 for UpFront KC. Here is a quick summary:

JavaScript as Assembly – Exploring CoffeeScript & Dart

JavaScript can be both awesome and terrible. We’ll talk about the history of generating JavaScript and then work through some quick exercises in two languages that can produce JavaScript as output: CoffeeScript and Dart. Then, we’ll compare the two and look where they are headed.

This is an interactive talk, so plan to bring a laptop and code along. At the end, you'll at least have run a bit of CoffeeScript and Dart. You don’t have to be an experienced developer, as we’ll keep it super-high level.

About your presenter:

By day, David Mitchell is a mild mannered Group Technical Director at VML, where he is more likely to review JavaScript code than write it. By night, David is a polygot programmer, exploring languages like JavaScript, Smalltalk, and Lisp. David has presented nationally and at regional conferences and has taught programming at Sprint, Centriq, and at workshops for kids through local schools and homeschool groups.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Apple Hater Converted? I want an iPad!

I've tweeted several times about my misgivings on the Apple iPad.
  • Still not getting an iPad (I'm a h8r), but Gruber's got a point against my main beef (the closed platform)
    Apr 02 2010
  • No scripting/coding on the iPhone was pad enough. But the iPad could have been great 4 kids to learn 2 code. Too bad.
    Jan 31st
  • if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today -- Alex Payne
    Jan 29th
I'd prefer an open platform. I think the changes to section 3.2.2 of the developer agreement are a small step in the right direction, and  I'd like to see more openness. From Boy Genius:
Apple has again tweaked section 3.2.2 of the agreement, adding in a loophole which will allow them to approve certain interpretive code tools. The old section 3.2.2 read like this: No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).
While the updated version looks like this: Unless otherwise approved by Apple in writing, no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s). Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apple’s prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.
And I particularly hope that Squeak and Scratch and other great programming environments for kids and otherwise make it onto the iPad or similar devices.

But, the iPad is just too good for me to not want one. Stefan Miller let me try his iPad a couple of times and I'm sold.

The main reason is that I want a great PDF reader. The iPad is significantly better than the Kindle or even the Kindle DX for reading PDFs. I also want to annotate, and that capability is available as well.

I read a lot of books on programming. These books tend to be heavy and expensive. The PDF versions can often be had for less than half the cost. But, that means carrying a laptop. (I've been known to hold my HP EliteBook sideways with the screen orientation on portrait.

Hopefully innovative programming environments like the Lively Kernel will make it possible to write some code on the device and do some programming with kids. Quoting an interview with Dan Ingalls:
The fact that the Lively Kernel is just a web page and you click on it and you're running this system, it's a system that can do graphics editing, can produce images, can do simple programs, like Squeak that you can save a page from, means that basically anywhere you have a network computer, you can have authoring.
That's one ingredient. Another is I noticed that there is a certain challenge you have before you can become a developer for say the iPhone and yet the iPhone has Safari in it and it runs Lively Kernel applications just fine. It seems to me there is an opportunity here for something much more open than the App Store in which everybody can contribute and produce and share active content.
And, I hold out hope that eToys, Squeak and Scratch will someday be approved as well.

But, for now, I am looking forward to compromising my principles! The iPad is on my birthday list! As are a number of apps, gift cards will be welcomed!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Iowa Code Camp 5 on May 1, 2010

The site is still showing ICC4 info, but the countdown clock has been updated to a new date! Looks like I need to free up a spring day for some hacking!

While browsing the site, found a picture of me presenting Seaside at ICC4. The book in the picture is Learning Programming with Robots. I think I was answering a question about Alice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nice and simple script to install rails on Ubuntu 9.10

Thanks to castilho:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Refactoring – Ruby Ed.

The original Refactoring book by Martin Fowler had a big impact on how I thought about writing software. I’d used the refactoring tools in Smalltalk, but the book changed the way I thought about refactoring and gave names to many new refactorings.

This Ruby edition of the book is highly anticipated. I received my copy at a drawing in our local Ruby user’s group. Part of the deal was you had to write a review (you are reading it) in exchange for the book. Nearly everyone at the meeting wanted a crack at the book.

The authors suggest that if you have the original work, you probably shouldn’t purchase this new edition. I don’t agree. There is plenty of new content with around 20 new refactorings and a few new code smells to make the difference worthwhile. There is a tremendous amount of thoughtful Ruby code snippets inserted throughout the text.

In fact, this is one of those books that is great for everyone on a team to have a copy. It is the kind of book that can be used to raise the quality of communication across the team.

You can see the respect the new authors had for the original work, as the new refactorings jibe with the old. Much of the text remains unchanged, which is good as things like the justification, most of the code smells, and background have aged well. Even the order of the refactorings has been largely preserved, which makes it easy to compare the two editions.

Jay Fields and Shane Harvey have updated the examples and step-by-step examples using idiomatic Ruby. Where the original book used Java for the code examples, the examples were pretty language-agnostic, not using anything from beyond the core SDK and even avoiding things like inner classes in examples. This book leverages Ruby’s strengths.