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Practical and theoretical aspects of software development

Archive for May 2012

Maintenance is no fun

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I had fun creating @py3k_update, a twitter account that would send tweets announcing new libraries that are python 3 compatible. More here:

But when the page that I was scraping changed format, there was no joy in figuring out what to change to get the updates working accurately. I’ve got other fun and worthwhile things to do, both in programming, and in real life.

So thanks much to the 200+ folks that found @py3k_update worth following, I hope that you appreciated what it did provide, and aren’t too disappointed to see its demise.

Written by Eric Wilson

May 28, 2012 at 11:38 am

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Code before Calculus

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Jeff Atwood posted a thought provoking post that I very much wanted to disagree with. He argues that most people will not benefit from learning to code, and that coding is not at all similar to those fundamental skills (reading, writing, mathematics) that everyone should know. He’s certainly correct. Most of my friends and relatives do not know how to program anything, and they don’t suffer for that ignorance.

But the post bothered me. I don’t just enjoy programming, I enjoy teaching young people to program, and I have often told technically minded young men that it is essential that they learn programming skills. I also enjoy advanced mathematics, and I have very much enjoyed teaching calculus, linear algebra, probability, abstract algebra, and topology. Math is more fun for me than programming, but somehow … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eric Wilson

May 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Next steps for Java development

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So you wanted to learn Java. Naturally, you did the hello world thing, then you learned about flow control. You became accustomed to the type system, declarations, initialization, and you learned about scoping issues. Then you learned about polymorphism, inheritance, and you’ve learned how to write object oriented Java code. You’re familiar with the collections API, and you are accustomed to using generics for type safety.

Of course, you want to get paid for programming in Java eventually, and the little console apps you have been building don’t exactly look production quality. Moreover, when you look at the job postings, you see a hodgepodge of terms that don’t mean anything to you, such as Struts, Spring, Hibernate, J2EE, Tomcat, WebSphere, Ant, Maven, etc. What to do? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eric Wilson

May 11, 2012 at 6:02 am

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