Archive for December, 2008

2009 Technical Resolutions

I began putting my personal 2009 Resolutions/Goals to paper today and by the time I was done found out that a good chunk (> 50%) were technology related.  I figure that I should make them public so that if nothing else, I feel just a little more pressure to not sluff them off.

The main focus for 2009 is learning new languages.  It’s all the action that I’ve seen develop over the past 2-3 years, but haven’t made a priority to learn given that at work I’ve moved out of being a developer and now manage developers (boo…hiss…).  So here they are, in order (with completion* dates for each):

* – I’m defining “complete” in that I should be able to do all of the following:

  • Give a 15-30 minute presentation on it
  • Write a small-ish app
  • Be comfortable enough with the language that if I needed to start a project, I would be able to hit the ground running in the language
  • Be able to intelligently decide where/if a certain technology/language could fit in our current exclusively Java environment.

If anyone has good book, site, newsgroup, etc recommendation, please let me know.

Getting Started with Textmate (and Groovy)

After attending last week’s inaugural Lambda Lounge meeting, I’ve had a renewed determination to get my Groovy/Grails learning on.

I had previously bought Scott Davis’ Groovy Recipes, and while that book is pretty awesome, I often felt like I didn’t have a good enough base in the Groovy language to realize the full potential of the material presented.

So this weekend, I went back to the Pragmatic Programmers website and picked up (in PDF form) Venkat Subramaniam’s Programming Groovy.  I’m not too terribly far into it, but so far it feels like I’m getting eased into the language quite well.  The table of contents also gives me comfort that a solid treatment of the language is to be had.

One of the first topics covered after installation of the Groovy binaries is choice of text editor or IDE.  For OS X users, TextMate is mentioned, along with the optional TextMate Groovy Bundle, created by Graeme Rocher (Grails Lead).  I also happen to be fairly new to OS X and therefore TextMate…but it seems like everybody who’s anybody uses it, so it must be good.

I was told very early in my career to pick a editor and stick with it.  The amount of mental energy that must be expended to keep all the different keybindings/macros/shortcuts in your head will detract you from the job at hand.  So I try to pick a side and just stick with it (sorry emacs).  This is most likely the reason I won’t move off of Eclipse anytime soon.  Back in the day, I could cruise around Eclipse pretty well…not as good as this guy, but pretty well.

Now that I’m exclusively Mac at Danker HQ, I feel pretty confident immersing myself in TextMate.  So with my new direction charted, I set out to put my Groovy learnin’ on the back burner for the afternoon and get my feet wet with TextMate.

After downloading the Groovy Bundle, I was a bit confused by the directions on the site, so I took a look at a blog posting by Jason Rudolph (check out his excellent tutorial on beginning Grails development).  His take was pretty much the same…so I ended up just double-clicking the 2 bundle files and TextMate automagically installed them into the proper directory.

Next up was a small tweak that Venkat mentioned on his blog.  This allows the output of your program to be shown as a tooltip instead of a pop-up.  Nothing big…but a nice tweak nonetheless.

I’ve probably got the most mileage out of this article.  Does a nice job explaining what makes TextMate special.  For reference, I assume the TextMate manual will come in handy.

The one area I haven’t explored yet is the TextMate book on the Pragmatic Programmers website.  If anyone has bought this book and found that it offered value above what’s freely available, please let me know.

Now that I’ve got my head wrapped around this new editor and have expanded my text editing bag-of-tricks, hopefully I’ll be able to keep my mind focused on the new goal of grokking Groovy.