ILoggable

A place to keep my thoughts on programming

January 2, 2011 geek, mono

Happy New Year, part II

Now that I have last year's progress out of the way, let's examine what I'd like to accomplish outside my regular work and play development.

resolution: javascript, again

Since last year ended up being an academic exercise in learning javascript, that task is still outstanding. But it is no less important. I consider javascript to be the one language I cannot afford not being good at. It is truly the assembly language of the web and is rapidly gaining ground on the server as well. I may or may not warm up to going back to a dynamically typed language but that's really independent of the need represented by this gap in expertise.

In many ways, javascript provides a lot of the features I am aiming for with promise. It follows the same pattern of methods being lambda's attached to slots on objects. Although syntax-wise, CoffeeScript is an even better match — getting rid of the overly verbose function prefix for lambda's among many other cool changes. 

resolution: Use Scala/Akka for a real world project

I still doubt that javascript will become my new favorite language, simply because of my strongly-typed tendencies. But being a C# programmer i'm in kind of a weird space. I don't much care for windows as client and abhor it as a server. So almost everything I do in C# runs under mono. I admire Miguel DeIcaza's relentless drive for creating the best environment possible regardless of detractors and am continually amazed at the quality and completeness of mono. That said being a C# advocate in the linux world is asking for additional pain. Mono will always be trailing MS's implementation by a bit and for your troubles you do end up being a pariah in the linux world. Finding a language that is more at home and accepted on my favorite platform would be beneficial. For a long time, java and C# were just close enough that in the worst case scenario, I could always go java again. But now that i'm used to C#'s lambda syntax and linq, java just feels ancient and dead to me.

Of all the languages I've looked at Scala hits my personal feature bingo the best. I love the actor pattern and built it using Xmpp in C# for notify.me. From my sideline review Akka seems to be the actor implementation to beat, so picking a project and implementing it start to finish in Scala/Akka seems like the way to go. After that I should have enough of a feel for the language to see whether it's a contender for my C# affections

resolution: Release an App for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7

To stick with the common thread, I think that going forward in the mobile space, javascript once again is going to be the most important tool in the development toolkit. But at the same time, I am a sucker for native clients and am happy that the current crop of smartphones have revived writing client side software.

However, the last time I did mobile client programming was WM5, so I have some serious catching up to do. The goal here is to pick a useful app and write it for all three of the above platforms and release it. I'm going to stick somewhat to my comfort zone here by using C#, the default on Windows Phone 7 and enabled by MonoTouch and MonoDroid on the other two. The departure from my comfort zone is venturing back to the client after spending almost all my time on the server and figuring out that the re-use vs. platform specific stories are and what deployment looks like. I've not settled on an app, but most likely it will be a native notify.me client.

Those resolutions should keep me busy enough, especially since they are spare time activities for when I'm not busy working on MindTouch and Dream, extending notify.me or maintaining curdsandwine.com.

Leave a comment