Welcome to the Programming Thread, where people gather to share stories, lend a shoulder to cry on, and discuss whether or not they really would sell C shells by the sea shore.
Where the arguments cycle over and over again!What is PAdev.net?
It is a project started up by this thread to support PA developers. A discussion about shared hosting turns into an idea to have hosting and a community to support those working on hobby programs and web services and what not.
Some things require a dedicated VPS but the bar of entry isn't that low. The cost is not extravagant but the know-how required to manage one is daunting for many. PAdev.net provides a share of hosting and support, a $5 monthly fee nets you a shell account on the hub server and the expertise of your peers.
Community members looking to help out can request an account for the website, where all members can create and maintain guides and share project updates. There is no cost to have a community account, just contact an administrator. Also available are [email protected]
email accounts or forwarders.
Current administrators: @InfidelSome writeups on various languages from the pros and such:
Purpose: Developing web applications rapidly
Django was created by a couple of nerds working for the newspaper industry, and they needed to solve the problem of having two practically identical sites (representing two newspapers owned by the same company) that had the ability to share content and generally be controlled from a central location. Thus Django, a flexible web framework that is different enough from Rails to be worth talking about.
Django is a batteries included framework that spends a lot of time trying to solve little things that are typically left to the gem community with Rails. The end result is a uniformly styled and extremely well documented web framework that can get you rolling pretty fast and is still easy enough to extend.
I've been using it for my new job and I've had very few complaints overall.
Summary: C and its descendants (C++/Java/C#/etc.) are the most popular programming languages in the world. (As co-inventor Dennis Ritchie supposedly said, "C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success.") The web browser you're using, the OS, most of your applications, most embedded software, the software on your router, the software on your ISP's router, the software on your game console, etc., were all written in C (well, or in C++).
For my job, I write in straight C. No libraries, no frameworks, no C++, no nothin'. C is a programming language for Real Men (tm), which means that there's no memory management and you're free to crash your program in various horrific ways. The trade-off for this is speed and size, attributes which give C its staying power - though proper C is losing favor as an application development language to C++, C#, and the like, it has found a second life in embedded applications and other small devices. I also think there's a certain elegance to the syntax - it's a language from an era when you didn't have a lot of memory, so statements are terse and lack the cruft of some more modern languages (*cough*C++*cough*). And best of all, no right minded C programmer would use LongVariableNamesLikeThis.
There's no shortage of manuals and documentation for the various incarnations of C, but the best reference is still from the source: The C Programming Language
, by Kernighan and Ritchie. This book is so ubiquitous and standard that it's known simply as K&R in the field.
Framework: ASP.NET MVC 2 (soon to jump up to 3)
Purpose: Web Development
ASP.NET MVC is Microsoft's answer to the slew of MVC frameworks already available for a variety of open source languages - Rails for Ruby, Django (is that actually a MVC framework?) for Python, and Zend, Code Igniter, and Kohana for PHP. It's a nice addition because, well, web forms suck for the web, and it follows the same basic overall design methodology as everyone else. It's now in its 3rd version, with a completely new view engine - Razor - which is actually pretty cool. I like where Microsoft is going with MVC.
There are a ton of free resources and tutorials available to get started. Like everything else, MVC is fairly simple to learn but difficult to master. It can be as complex as you want it to be.
Personally, I'm having some growing pains getting myself up to the next level/tier in my own skill development. Learning TDD, IoC, Domain Driven Design, etc. I understand the basics, but I'm still learning OOP in general and both C# and ASP.NET, so piling the more advanced (to me) stuff on top of it has been slow going.
Still, I like it more than PHP.
Low level development
If you thought assembly language was low level, try Verilog or any of the other HDL
languages on for size. Verilog is designed to describe how bits
change every clock cycle. And not just one bit either, but potentially every bit available in the device that you are developing for.
This allows for massive parallelism - the sheer number of calculations per clock cycle can easily exceed both general purpose processors and DSPs.
It can also drive men insane.I see square waves everywhere.
Lua is a neat little language. It is a dynamic, prototype-based language with relatively simple syntax (LL(1) ho!). There are primitive types (bools, numbers, strings, functions, nil), but the only structure for composition is the table, an associative array. Primitive types (except functions) are coerced to other primitive types as needed for operations. Functions are first class objects and it has closures.
Objects are created through special tables known as metatables, which define common operations and allow tables to take on characteristics of a class of objects, in effect allowing single inheritance.
The language is implemented in C and is designed to integrate easily with a host application. The API allows the host application to perform any operation the language can (and more). Lua can freely call functions provided by the host identically to native Lua functions and the host can create special object types that act as any other Lua object.
I mostly use it as a way to get scripting support into C, not as a standalone language, so I don't really know of any frameworks. I use a custom one to provide limited visibility of C++ classes to the scripts.
Oh and someone wrote a JIT compiler
Video game tools/graphics
If you want to make AAA games on a console. You're probably going to end up working with C++, if you like it or not. With 512 megs of shared memory, multiple fiddly "special processing units", people clamoring over sending 64 players' worth of data over a network at an even pace and other wonderful things, performance down to the bit really does matter. Not to mention that the API (and compiler) is written for C++, so you're not getting away from it if you want to work on console games unless you're using XNA. C++ is the tacticool gun
of programming languages. If you can do it, you can probably find a way to do it in C++, then you can probably find a way to hack it so that it only uses 10 bits at a time to do it.
Honestly, I don't spend the entirety of my time in this nether realm of pure data as I'm a tools programmer by trade. In a day I'll go between C++, C#, python and back again. Each language has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages, of the three I'd honestly say C# is the most "fun" to work with. C++ still wins out for me, just for being extremely versatile, while keeping performance high. I think the other thing I like about C++ is that the performance cost of anything is laid bare much more in the other languages I work with. Because you are tasked with moving around the bits other languages abstract away, I always feel the performance cost of code I write is much more impressed upon me when I write it in C++. When looking at performance in other langages, I often consider how it would effect performance had I tried the same trick, as underneath the hood the process is most likely similar.
Purpose: Web development
Although slightly outshone by the relatively new Ruby on Rails, PHP is still a solid choice for Web development. An engine is available for pretty much every web server (Apache and IIS being the major ones of course), it's easy to learn if you come from any kind of c type background and it offers some really neat features if you dig deep enough. Recent releases (5.3 I think) offer true namespacing to add to the plethora of object orientated features already present (if you like that kind of thing). One of the best things about PHP though is that, because it's so widely adopted there's literally tons of tutorials, documentation and samples out there to get you going.
Language: VB (classic)
Framework: Ha, I wish
Purpose: Legacy application development
Yeah I know. I use VB in my day job since I have to maintain a ton of applications written in it. It's slow as hell, the IDE sucks and I really have nothing good to say about it. For all its flaws .Net is a massive improvement on Microsoft's legacy development environments. I did manage to find a plugin for the VB IDE that allows tabbed documents, full screen editing and some other nifty features. I'll see if I can find it if anyone is interested.
Framework: jQuery (and jQuery mobile)
Purpose: Web application front end development
I also do C# and Android development, but can't really think of anything interesting to say about them right now.
Framework: .Net 4.0 Runtime
Purpose: HFT/Non-HFT systems
With Visual Studio 2010, F#, an ML-variant functional language, is now part of the .Net language family. It has full interop capabilities with any existing .Net assemblies and any other .Net languages are capable of loading .Net assemblies written in F# (with a couple of minor issues to watch out for). It's a full functional language and is best when you program it like a functional language and not ML with classes. There's some good resources out there on F#. I've done a couple of larger scale server applications with it and starting to move on to version 2.0 on a few of them. I also mix in C# when needed for things like COM-interop and certain client APIs.
Purpose: Large-scale data spelunking
Clojure is a neat little functional language that runs in the JVM. Very LISPy, with a heavy emphasis on macros. I mainly use it with Cascading/Hadoop to slam through the massive data sets and extract the various data of interest.
I also putter around with the CUDA/CULA stuff and data parallel Haskell when I have time.
Language: OCaml / C++ / Fortran
Framework: Lisp converted to Ocaml handed To grad students
Purpose: Combinatorial Optimization, Automated Planning, Robot Path finding, other research topics
OCaml is, like F#, an ML-variant with objects. It's particularly nice because it isn't terribly pedantic and lets you mix imperative programming with functional code wherever you feel it's expedient to do so. It's got a full object system which I've never extensively used, but I hear it's nice. You can run the code in an interactive interpreter, or you can compile native binaries which are relatively quick for a language which manages your memory for you.
The big drawback is that we don't have a concurrent garbage collector yet, so while we have threads, they don't behave the way you would want them to. You can work around it by doing any concurrency you'd like at the process level with pipes or something like MPI.
Developing web applicationsRuby on Rails
(RoR or often just called 'Rails') is a web application framework with a practical slant. While most frameworks present themselves as a sort of toolbox, Rails goes a step further by favoring convention over configuration. Instead of configuring how the tools interact with each other yourself, Rails infers what you mean to do from a few naming conventions in your class, method, table and path names. If it gets in the way, you can always define what name it should look for instead yourself.
Rails uses the model-view-controller (MVC
) architectural pattern to separate the concerns in your code. On the controller side, it favors RESTful
style url method coupling. On the model side, it provides an object oriented representation of your database tables. For the views, it provides a templating engine called ERB (I prefer HAML
One of the best things of Rails is the developer community. A lot of Rails developers blog about their experiences or post their problems on Stack Overflow
. There also is a sort of package manager/repository for Ruby libraries called RubyGems that helps you install, update and resolve dependencies. For configuring what gems you use in your Rails project, you should use Bundler
(which is baked into Rails 3). Most gems can be found on github
for easy forking.
I can heartily recommend Rails to everyone looking for an easy to use web application framework. It's as easy as "sudo apt-get install rails && rails new ~/myproject".
Manipulating your datasSQL
is ubiquitous and often taken for granted. Whether you're a Java or C or Access or PHP or what-have-you developer, you'll often be dealing with another language, being SQL. Some might have frameworks that abstract and/or obscure the SQL, but it's almost always there. The complexity required of your SQL can vary, and for a lot of projects it is relatively simple. Understanding SQL at a non-trivial level however will help you understand
how computers work with large datasets, which will aid you in how you design and interact with your data even if you don't actually write any SQL directly.
Relational algebra and key theory is useful stuff for "thinking about it right" when it comes to schemas and queries. Also keep in mind that while SQL is a standard, every database system has a point where it diverges from the standard. When you start dealing with very complex queries or procedural code and triggers etc., you'll see very different syntax and often different approaches altogether due to vendor support of features available. For example, Microsoft SQL Server uses Transact-SQL
(T-SQL), Oracle uses PL/SQL
, and while both are the common system found in the business world and accomplishing the same objectives they are very different beasts to the developer. Methods and tricks for one are not always the best or feasible for the other, and you often rely on tricks to attain the performance demanded by the project.
In a rather different scope, web sites and services tend to use other systems, such as MySQL
. The focus here is usually less on procedural code and more on efficient SQL-standard queries. The scale of the project might be trivially small where any design works to massive commerce sites that sell a hojillion products and track customer trends. Most people here will not be dealing with that, but many of us will have some sort of SQL database backend which we need to write queries for. Non-standard SQL is avoided as much as possible typically, in order to avoid vendor lock-in. This is the dangerous realm of SQL injection attacks
which are one of the most common mistakes made by novice developers who need to use a database for persisting their data on their web site but don't have much experience or exposure. Sanitize your inputs and use parameterized queries!
Purpose: Desktop app with included DB
Visual FoxPro is old and end of life, but does have some interesting features. It came out of the xBase/Clipper world and is a Swiss army knife that packs a relational database and programming language into a tightly coupled package. The language is dynamic and very weakly typed. Along with the usual primitive data types and arrays of them, VFP has one real data structure - the table. SQL is supported as is VFP's own brand of table manipulation which is really easy to use. GUI design is like the VB style of drag-and-drop though larger applications tend to use a code-generated interface. There is OOP though it feels tacked on. The included report writer is fairly capable. It even goes as far as having COM support and I have a few heavily used web services running VFP DLLs under IIS.
VFPs tables don't handle really big data efficiently. Field names in a table are limited to 10 characters when not in a database container and 255 fields in a table regardless. Line lengths can't exceed 255 characters. While VFP can deal with ODBC data, these limitations can make it unwieldy. The IDE is terrible. It's not .NET comparable. Recursion, lambdas, decorators, and closures are foreign words. Even with all that, we can still use it for a cloud-integrated, multi-user desktop app that looks like it might have been designed last year.
Penny Arcade Developers at PADev.net
Switch: SW-3515-0057-3813 FF XIV: Q'vehn Tia
Was working on that Stream class, and it felt ugly to have a bunch of case statements for different stream services when I can subclass the differences instead. So I did this:
...and then I can just do "poopypants = Stream::Twitch.new(foo, bar)". Is it really that easy? Feels like I'm breaking some Ruby idiom here.
By the way it's been like a week, I'd just call Lockheed and check up on your offer. See if they're almost done. Don't be pushy, just ask if they have any information or need anything more from you to expedite it.
"Hi this is (urahonky) I'm just checking to see if my application was still going through or if you need more information from me to complete it. Is there anyway I can get a time frame so I can prepare and familiarize myself with my new work environment?"
I found out that we hired a new sales-person last year at a higher salary than I'd been making after 7.5 years here. He just so happens to be the our new President's bestest church-buddy. I understand he's in a different position (sales v development), but he's not very good at what he does. He's attempting to sell corporate financial software, and I had to explain to him what a goddamned virtual-machine is. Sigh.
I'm of the opinion that people designing your business products are worth more than the people selling them. Anyone can make a sale, that's just training, granted you have to be somewhat charismatic, but the skills are basically "don't fuck up." Instead of "train for 2+ years and use a very special way of thinking."
Not anyone can do research or development, it takes a special skillset.
Would be an incentive to making good, robust software.
That's how it should be. That's how it was with our last sales guy. But since church-buddies, everyone around here gets fucked while we waste money paying this guy to (basically) make cold-calls and be passive-aggressive about his Jesusy-ness and how much Obama sucks because <I honestly quit listening to him; I assume the reasons have to do with not enough blowing of the Holy Trinity or Israel>.
(seriously, though, I hate the attitude that seems to be commonplace in business where if you aren't directly bringing in money you aren't that important/valuable. Especially seeing how little our sales people seem to know about our products. Or seeing them sell things that we can't support, without talking to us or engineering)
I'd also allow developers to refer customers and give them a referral bonus. We're all in this shit together man, why not encourage everyone to love to work there?
Yup. I wouldn't doubt that devs couldn't do a better sales job than some sales people. They know the product better. I'd probably pool all the sales bonuses by 25%, and distribute it equally to devs. Maybe take performance into consideration and shift it slightly. But if your devs were taking in $5k bonuses each year man that would boost morale.
I took a Verilog class in college. That was a pretty awesome class.
And he's coming over tomorrow.
Switch: SW-3515-0057-3813 FF XIV: Q'vehn Tia
Gotta love the Midwest right?
Nintendo ID: Incindium
My brother in law is like this.
My father shuts him down. On the downside my father asks me for tech advice all the time instead of anyone else.
I tend to just humor him, mostly because of my mother. She hates it when any of us argues. It still sucks, though. Dude's making a pretty decent chunk of cash mostly because he's charismatic, while I'm here doing what freelancing I can and being in that shitty "Make too much $$ and the government takes away all the programs you need in order to live" zone.
And yeah, I'm the family's go-to tech guy, too. Even for dumb stuff like installing programs (autostart has existed for how long, now?).
Switch: SW-3515-0057-3813 FF XIV: Q'vehn Tia
As a computer engineer in college I saw square waves and VHDL more than C++ code. Too bad all the code I write these days is in C++.
On a related note, this talks about why programmers should plan out wtf they're doing. Apparently not a given?
Indiana is just a treasure-trove of awesome. Awesome and corn and ... yeah, we suck.
Guy I talk to a lot says any given eight-hour workday has about four hours of actual programming. The rest is planning and documenting.
It's about a half hour. Mostly because I get interrupted a lot and it takes me a good 30-60 minutes to get going again.
They do MVC, and typically you only work with one of those letters. Database dudes doing the M, designers doing the V, coders doing the C. So there's a fair bit of planning to get the M & C working together.