Noel Rappin Writes Here

2007/05

Text Auditor

I hate Microsoft Word. I feel that I came by this rightfully, after a whole book’s worth of numbered lists that refused to line up, images that refused to stay put, and the truly irritating indexing interface. For a long time I’d sort of rant about how word processing was this core user task and we still couldn’t figure out the right UI for it. I’m not totally backing off that, although I’ve also read people ranting that text editing was solved 20 years ago by Emacs and Vi, and there’s no point in looking at anything new, which achieves a level of crankiness that makes me look calm.

A Program Note

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An Agile Musing

Of course, since I muse in an agile way, I reserve the right to change my mind based on future developments… Software development usually takes place in a complex environment where your goal can change quickly. In general, there are two ways to deal with a complex environment. One is to try to anticipate, in advance, every possible permutation you might need to deal with, and the other is to manage your environment with the flexibility to respond to new challenges with minimum effort.

State of the Art

O’Reilly Radar has been analyzing the state of the computer book market on a quarterly basis for a couple of years now. This link is to a drill-down into the Q1 2007 results for programming languages. The information is of some passing interest to me, both as an author and as language geek. Things that jumped out at me. Ruby is up a ton, and is now selling more than Perl and Python combined.

from internet import *

Three posts that caught my eye today. Ruby School Gregory Brown over on O’Reilly net has an article about using Ruby in Computer Science courses, at least in later algorithm classes. It’s not a bad argument, but I think it’d be more convincing if the Ruby example was a little cleaner and easier to read compared to the pseudo-code. Let’s see… The last time I had to care about this issue was about eight years ago when my grad institution was going through a somewhat controversial revamp of the CS curriculum.

Comment On This

So the other day I’m looking over some code, and I see this… (slightly paraphrased to protect the innocent – in the original, the declaration and the getter were, of course, separated.) /\*\* \* The name of the user \*/ private String m\_userName; /\*\* \* @return The name of the user \*/ public String getUserName() { return m\_userName; } And I thought, “I really hope some of that was generated by the editor”

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