Not Invented Here comic strip for 11/30/2010
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Owen: What are you working on?
Desmond: You wouldn't understand.

Owen: What do you mean?
Desmond: Well, it's pretty technical.

Owen: Come on. I make software for a living, remember?
Desmond: Fine. See, I was thinking about the web and...

Owen (holding his hands like Spiderman): Ha ha, "web"! THWIP!

Geeking Out

Not long ago I was a professional programmer with a cartooning hobby. Now, in a dramatic and pleasurable turn of events, I am a professional cartoonist with a programming hobby.

I spent most of my professional life programming on the Microsoft stack (in which this website is written) but lately I've been stepping off of the (for me) beaten path. I've spent the last few weeks writing a Rails 3 app, enjoying how far Rails has come since I first played with it, shortly after its first release. The ecosystem is now incredibly mature, the highlight definitely being Heroku, which looks to accomplish my stated life goal of never again having to configure, administer, or maintain a server again.

Then, as I started playing with JQuery, I realized again how much I hate JavaScript's syntax. CoffeeScript to the rescue! Now I'm teaching my ten-year-old son to program using this very sweet language so that he can (eventually) write browser-based games in HTML5.

CoffeeScript then led me down the path to Node.js. Node has some real appeal for its raw efficiency, not to mention the prospect of using the same language on the server as on the client. This morning I toyed with the Node ecosystem, namely Express, HAML-successor Jade and the whimsical Zappa, which probably should win a prize for concise website expression. It doesn't hurt that Heroku is working on hosting Node sites.

I've been at this long enough to know that there is no "best" language or framework, and so right now I'm just enjoying climbing about twelve different learning curves at once, and delighting in the fertile universe that is open source software development. Sharey was right!