by Chris Douce
This edition of loosely collected links relating to the discipline of programming is truly eclectic. Here we begin with a link back to last years newsletter book review ofDreaming in Code , with an interview with Scott Rosenberg.
When working in the trenches, the tools can make a huge difference, and knowing your tools well helps you to get a productivity boost. There is an interesting piece on The Register that gives some information about the origins of the VI editor. I haven't used it for a couple of years now, but when faced with a command prompt on a random Unix box that doesn't have a gui, you know that you have power at your fingertips.
When faced with having to battle with toolsets and the inherent complexities of software development, the vibrancy of open source communities always astonish me. It's a full time job keeping up with the development of the packages that you run on your laptop. Here's an interesting question:why do people get involved with open source? (a survey study that also explored this point was linked to on in an earlier issue of this newsletter). Here's a blog posting that wonders if: Boredom drives open source developers?
But what are the factors that influence the success of an open source project. One question is: How can open source projects survive poisonous people?. This Google video is truly interesting and worth a watch. I haven't heard the phrase 'lowering the bus-factor' before, but I like it!
An underlying issue is the need to hire the right people: a topic that is of continual interest: A Guide to Hiring Programmers: The High Cost of Low Quality
Increasingly I find on-line videos useful resource to get to grips with new languages. Not so long ago I started to look at different PHP development frameworks. I didn't get very far (there were way too many of them!) but what I did find made me chuckle: Maintaining PHP code
Days after viewing this video, I received notification of another related development: Perl on Rails.
On the topic of Perl, I recently discovered an article called: Programming is Hard, Let's Go Scripting... otherwise known as the Perl 'state of the onion'.
As a programmer, I like Perl, but as a maintainer, I don't! Still, it's always fun to go Code Scavenging no matter what language you're using (or learning)
Earlier on this year, I stumbled across a fantastic headline: Free tool offers 'easy' coding. How could I resist?
The resulting story had strong parallels with an earlier discussions on the PPIG mail forum which began with the question Have any of you tried to teach your young kids to program?
Which tied in nice with the anniversary of the Logo programming language
Finally, I conclude with a programming related headline that featured in the New York Times: Faster Chips Are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust which lead onto a corresponding discussion on Slashdot entitled Is Parallel Programming Just Too Hard?. This reminded me of another news announcement: the 80 core processor. I can see that some of us who work within the craft of programming will have to write some try beautiful code to get the best from this beast!
Many thanks go to the effors of the reviewers of this edition of the newsletter. All your comments and words of wisdom are always appreciated. Special thanks must also go to Johanna Hunt: your contributions have made this edition something special.