Professional Programmer Notes

or just call this my soapbox

Posts Tagged ‘programming

Not really a Fan, but still kind of Groovy

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Fan is a very young programming language with some promise.  The features of the language are more pragmatic than theoretical.  This means, Fan, like Python and Ruby, should allow you to be productive in a concise manner.  The syntax of Fan left a lot to be desired.  It is not the prettiest language, but hopefully, syntactic sugar will be added in the future to facilitate Fan’s adoption.The killer feature that Fan promises to deliver is the interoperability with both the Java Virtual Machine and the .NET Runtime.  Currently, one or the other are required to compile Fan source code.  However, Fan currently does not offer much in terms of interoperability with Java and/or any of the CLR languages.  That is disappointing for now, but the language is extremely young.  Powerful features like that take time.

While a more developed Fan will find its niche audience of developers, I wonder about the true utility of such a language.  The JVM already has the well-known scriptingly awesome language known as Groovy.  I do not qualify as a Java developer, but I hold Groovy in high regard because of its performance, language features, and *gulp* use of the JVM.  Java reservations aside, Groovy is a language I look forward to learning.

.NET is not absent of nice scripting languages either.  Boo is one such language, noted for its Python-like syntax. Oh, and did I mention IronPython?  It is also noted for its Python-like syntax, but .NET-like performance.  Perhaps, the most awaited .NET language is IronRuby, a dynamic language with the features of ruby and the power of the .NET Framework.  It is going to be great.

There is one other .NET language that I think deserves mention.  It is called Nemerle.  Nemerle is a static language, much like C#.  However, Nemerle implemented features like type inference long before the release of C# 3.0.  Since the latest release of C#, Nemerles advantages have become less pronounced.  But, it still differentiates itself from C# with features like Macros that allow you to customize the syntax of Nemerle (think domain specific language).

Nemerle is a pretty mature language.  It has some integration with Visual Studio 2005.  Also, the Nemerle compiler is written in Nemerle.  That could be a sign of a pretty usable language.

Nemerle is open-source.  I don’t know if it is actively developed today.  However, I recently came across a blog post that sums up some of the features of Nemerle.  That post was the inspiration for this post actually.  Onur went as far as to call Nemerle “C# glorified.”  I’m not sure I agree with that.

However, I believe Groovy is definitely “Java glorified.”   Maybe Nemerle is a little Groovy.

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Written by curtismitchell

August 3, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Developer vs. Coder

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Are you a developer or a coder?  Before you answer that question, I urge you to consider several characteristics about yourself that you may be taking for granted.

First, let me start by saying this:  If you do not write code of any sort, then you are neither developer or coder.  But, you’re still invited to read the rest of my rant and share your $.02 via comments.

Why do you do it?  Why do you write code?  Is it a lucrative career choice you made based on the short-term earning potential?  Or, do you simply like building things because it’s neat?  A developer leans more toward the money.   The diplomat in me wants to point out that developers may also feel rewarded by just building things.  But, the distinction I want to make is that developers give the financial reward priority over the alternative.  On the other hand, a coder does it for the “love of the game” and not JUST for the money.

When do you think about your code the most?  Writing code can be a very stressful job.  Many people that do it pride themselves on being able to leave work (and the subsequent stress) at the office and focus purely on their personal lives.  Those people are developers.  Developers work from eight to five, nine to six, or whatever time they are paid to work.  Alternatively, coders may be in the office for eight to nine hours, but they are very likely to come up with the next killer app while doing something recreational like sleeping or gaming.  Coders may change environments, but they never stop working.  They write code for fun.

How did you write your last great project?  Did you use Google to overcome your programming challenges?  Did you copy code from some coder’s blog, or from an open source project without FULLY understanding what it does and why it does it that way?  Or, did you reach out to friends that write code; or better yet, did you figure it out for yourself?  If you reached out to friends or figured it out for yourself (even if Google pointed you in the right direction), you are a coder.

It is important to distinguish yourself between developers and coders.  As coders continue churning out great tools that are intuitive and fun to use, and our general population continue to become more computer savvy, the number of developers will grow much faster than the number of coders.  Developers will be the commodity while the value of coders make a sharp upwards turn.

In fact, what I am describing is already the reality.  Developers are happy to collect seemingly generous salaries and contract rates that allow them to sustain the status quo.  Meanwhile, coders have automated the collection, sorting, distribution, and storage of their funds in the interest of minimizing distractions while they innovate (for fun).

Written by curtismitchell

October 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm