Archive for June, 2007

I {Heart} Dynamic Languages

June 26th, 2007 5 comments

I’ve been meaning to blog this for a couple of weeks now but for some reason (oh, that’s right, the little rug rat) the only time I find to write is when I’m sitting in airport terminals. Today I find myself in the glorious C concourse at MSP even though I’m taking one of my shortest hops of the year – all the way to Milwaukee! It’s just a good thing I married one of the most understanding women on the planet; after leaving her to play man up on the little one for the weekend, I’ve increased the challenge by disappearing during the week. Thank god I can compare my travel to Venkat!

Anywho, two weeks ago I found myself fixing some JavaScript and I was reminded why I so love dynamic languages. We had a situation (two actually) where I had to add additional parameters to an existing method to clean up some issues that were showing up on one particular page. Since JavaScript isn’t too particular on method signatures, I was able to make the changes without impacting *any* existing calls to the method – they weren’t even aware I made the change. Now, I know that in static language land, I could have just overridden the method but then I’d be left with those little one line orphans that do nothing but call the new improved function. Oh, and I would have had that wonderful recompile stage! Small thing, but I was just ever so tickled that I could quickly and easily fix a specific problem without fear of disrupting other code.

Just last week I had another “dynamic languages rock” moment. One of the interns has been busy getting Groovy working on some simple scripts to help out with a couple of things. First, he wrote – in just a few hours – a Groovy script that combined a handful of JavaScript files into one (akin to what the Prototype folks do). Thanks to Scott‘s presentation, he was up and running in almost no time. His productivity was quite something – it seemed like he was asking for more constantly. I’ll be the first to admit that I had mostly written off Groovy what with JRuby and all, but after seeing what we were able to do in just a short amount of time, I’m definitely on the bandwagon. But then it’s not a zero sum game ;)

Now I’m sure some will call the tasks we accomplished in the last couple of weeks “trivial” or perhaps “academic” but I just don’t care. Groovy scratched an itch and JavaScript is one again reminding me that it’s a first class language; perhaps even the next big thing.

Categories: Agile, Development, Rants, Software Tags:

Wisconsin JUGs

June 26th, 2007 No comments

If you find yourself in Milwaukee or Madison in the next day or two, come see me speak! Courtesy of No Fluff Just Stuff, I’m heading across the boarder right into the heart of Badger country. Tonight I’ll be at the Wisconsin Java User Group and tomorrow I’ll be at the Madison JUG – or MadJUG as they say in these parts ;)

Categories: Agile, Software, Talks Tags:

That’s Interesting…

June 3rd, 2007 1 comment

OK, so maybe these observations are only interesting to me but what do you expect – it’s Friday night and I’m siting in the middle of good old A concourse (as I’ve said before, this traveling stuff is so very glamorous). That’s right, sometime early Saturday morning I should find myself in Oklahoma for the next No Fluff event…and since I breezed through security, I’ve got some time to kill. Anyway, couple of things caught my attention this week.

Now, as anyone that knows will attest, you won’t often find me at the gym blasting my quads. But occasionally guilt or some perverse sense of pride prods me into wandering in and breaking a sweat. Yesterday just happened to be one of those days and I couldn’t help but notice the promotion the club was running (posters were everywhere…you couldn’t avoid them). The idea was, refer 5 people and you get your name in a drawing. All right, that makes sense – drum up some leads from your current members. And the grand prize really was something though I suspect it might have a perverse affect on the member that won it, you see, they were giving away a Bow Flex, that king of infomercial hard bodies (something tells me they do a little more than 30 minutes 3 days a week – or perhaps they don’t eat.) Maybe it’s just me, but it seems somewhat counterintuitive for a health club to award a member something that, in theory, obviates the need for a membership. But I suppose you’d really just lose that one member…

Today at the airport something else stood out in my sleep deprived mind. If you’ve ever been as MSP, you know that A concourse is, well, nearly in Stillwater and the easiest way to get out there is on the tram. Like their weak cousins the moving walkway, trams area staple at airports big and small and most seem to be operated without a human driver. That makes sense, it couldn’t be *that* hard to program right? Anyway, it has been raining here in the big Minne and as I looked out the front of the car, I noticed a windshield wiper. Now, there’s no driver…but we’ve got a windshield wiper. I appreciate the clear view of the track ahead but I can’t help but wonder what purpose that serves. Do people somehow feel better knowing that the the window is free of precipitation? Could be.

Well, I suppose that’s enough random chatter for now. By the time I post this I’ll be begging for some espresso…and missing home.

Categories: Off Topic, Travel Tags: