Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Monday, April 19, 2010

ToDo After jsconf

jsconf was even better this year than last. A good part of that is because JavaScript and the JavaScript industry is better than last year. Missed most of the Track B talks and I hope to get caught up by watching videos. But most of my spare time may be taken up by the ToDos I wrote myself during the talks. Thought I'd share those.
  1. node.js Wow - it has simply changed everything. Even if the API is constantly changing, I've got to get it installed and start using it. Needs screencasts.
  2. (fab) - Mindblowing - fab:: more twitter than blogging. Just a completely new way of thinking of things and I have to try it. Also, it shows the impact of node.
  3. Google Chrome Framework - Had not thought about it enough until jsconf. This will be so important to my work project. But everyone should add the meta tag to their JS pages. I have to install it at work asap and on a few other desktops.
  4. yayQuery - Been following on tweeter, now I've got to listen to the podcasts. Clearly the next generation of javascript and funny.
  5. Raphael - Years ago I wanted a visual, historical, problem solving site base on timelines (timeography.com). Now this is the js library to make it happen. Usable for for ANY type of vector graphics and I can not wait to push it. Reminds me of RIP for BBSs.
  6. Progressive Enhancements - Jenn made the most convincing case of any presentation. I will be reading up.
  7. Interface Builders - Ares and Greenhouse demos were good. Of course there is the Mac tool. I need to more take time and look at all of these -- another skill I need.
  8. SproutCore - More than a year ago I was a real fan of SproutCore. I had previously argued at a Ruby meetup that MVC was broken in Rails because of the mix of data with code in the view and that the server should only produce JSON. Now that SproutCore is at 1.0 and gives me MVC on the client - will time allow a deep try? Looks so good too.
  9. CVC - Client View Controller by Kyle Simpson pushes the same anti-MVC argument that I was making but puts the same JavaScript on the client and server. Again an incluence of node. Love the concept and certain that is is how the future will go, but it looks like handlebar.js and bikechain.js need to be more battle tested. Have to test to tell
  10. Couchdb - The talk was on evently, but it is really Couchdb that stills interests me. Two tier solution with JavaScript and JSON. Think this will be the solution for one current project. jquery.couch.js here I come.
  11. xui - prior to jsconf I went to phonegap training and heard about xui again. It would be great if jqtouch could be build on xui.
  12. yql - definitely in my toolbox now
Other sessions were also great and I learned lots. For example, Facebook really showed the importance of refactoring in the browser platform. And see previous post on Socratic. And who can forget Gordon. The above are my ToDo list and possible suggestions for your exploration.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Socratic and Verbalization: Documenting on both sides

Francisco Tolmasky gave a talk at #jsconf on Socratic: Documentation Done Right. He asked for feedback and he got me thinking about the problem that coders documentation does not even help them when they go back to it. Ever have that happen with your documentation? Go back to your source comments three months later and they don't make much sense?
The process of coding involves variable and method names which are suppose to be meaningful. A convention has evolved where methods should be verbs because they do something and variables are nouns. Roughly.
So I suggested to Francisco that perhaps Socratic could use Verbalization to verify that methods are verbs. Think of Verbalization as a spell check of only verbs. Maybe it could check that "is" methods are boolean and perhaps more. I suppose the Nounization could be done on variables.
One theme at JSCONF is running JavaScript on client and the server. For example, same validation method on both. This got me thinking about the documentation divide. So why not run Verbalization on both Socratic and Textmate or your IDE. As you build out your code check that your method names are verbs. And this gets you a glossary? So a common plug system for both Socratic and IDEs would be good.
Just a thought or two with a lot more to think about.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Ed Roberts Passed Away

A true pioneer of the personal computer, Ed Roberts, passed away yesterday. Bill Gates and Paul Allen released a statement about the creator of the MITS Altair.

I bought one of the first Altair computers, soldered it together and after several tries got it working. Entered many programs using the front panel switches and later built my own keyboard. As soon as it was available I ordered the computer language BASIC on cassette from an unknown company in Albuquerque, NM, called MicroSoft.

Many happy hours were spent at my Altair and it became the platform for my first business venture: CableGames. Though not successful, it lead me into the retail software business and starting the first software store in the world in 1979. That was my career for 15 years.

The world and my life would not been the same without Ed Roberts. I still own my Altair - my first computer.