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Archive for April, 2007

Steve Yegge’s NBL

April 27, 2007 2 comments

Most readers of this blog would have read Steve Yegge’s prediction on the Next Big Language (NBL). In his post, Steve refused to actually name the language but he dropped hints on the language (languages?) he had in mind. Commenters on his blog tried guessing the language – JavaScript2, Erlang, Scala, Perl6 etc were mentioned. If I had to guess I would have guessed JavaScript2; but I am no expert in programing languages, so my strategy is to wait and watch.

But today, I was re-reading an old blog post and I was reminded of Steve’s prediction. Jarosaw “sztywny” Rzeszótko, a young Polish blogger, had send 10 questions to 8 famous programmers and he had posted their replies (I had written about it too). Here are some excerpts from that post:

Q. What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?

Steve Yegge:
I think web application programming is gradually going to become the most important client-side programming out there. I think it will mostly obsolete all other client-side toolkits: GTK, Java Swing/SWT, Qt, and of course all the platform-specific ones like Cocoa and Win32/MFC/etc.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very slowly been going that direction for ten years, and it could well be another ten years before web apps “win”. The tools, languages, APIs, protocols, and browser technology will all have to improve far beyond what you can accomplish with them today. But each year they get a little closer, and I’ve finally decided to switch all my own app development over to browser-based programming from now on.

Microsoft and Apple definitely don’t want this to happen, so a necessary first step will be for an open-source browser such as Firefox to achieve a dominant market position, which will in turn require some sort of Firefox-only killer app. (A killer app would be something like iTunes, something that everyone in the world wants to use, badly enough to download Firefox for it.)

Q. If you had three months to learn one relativly new technology, which one would You choose?

Steve Yegge:
I do happen to have 3 months (part-time), and I’m spending it learning Dojo (http://dojotoolkit.org) and advanced AJAX and DHTML. I’m learning it by writing a fairly ambitious web application. Dojo’s really cool, and I’m sure it will only improve with time.

sztywny made this post on Oct 16th 2006 and Steve made his NBL post on Feb 19th 2007. From the above snippet, I think Steve had JavaScript2 on his mind as the NBL.

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Categories: browser, javascript, software, tech

What if you don’t like JVM garbage collection?

April 25, 2007 7 comments

At a technical interview recently, I was asked:

What if you don’t like Java’s garbage collection, what would you do? How would you manage memory?

You can carve a large array of bytes on the JVM heap, implement your own memory on that array and manage it yourself, kind of a virtual-machine-over-virtual-machine system; but I don’t see very good reasons to do that. Well-informed engineers have worked over a decade to get the JVM garbage collection right – so if you have to dump all that work and cook up your own scheme, you better have very good reasons. I told as much to the interviewer – I would imagine that it can be done, but I don’t know of any situation where I would recommend it.

Dear readers, do you know a good answer to this question? Do you know any situation where you would recommend this? If you come across such a situation, what would your solution be?

Categories: tech

A List Apart: Web Design Survey

April 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Categories: tech

Oh boy, did you entertain?!

April 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Brain Charles Lara batted in an international cricket match for the last time yesterday.

With him goes the last of the classical batsmen. At the presentation ceremony at the end of the match, he asked “Did I entertain?” – he must have got his answer from the huge cheer from the crowd assembled.

Lara’s farewell was unlike any other. Despite being a dead rubber, the tournament got its first full attendance. When Lara got out, not only did he get a standing ovation from the whole crowd, but also from the press box (which I am told is a rare thing). And at the end of the match, even the umpires and the match referee had the grace to shed the starched formality and take pictures with the great batsman.

Here is wishing Lara a wonderful life ahead; and thanks to the great entertainment he provided over the 17 years.

Categories: cricket

BG quote on Lines of Code

April 19, 2007 Leave a comment

I was reading through the Wikipedia entry on source lines of code and noticed this quote from Bill Gates:

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.

Good one! 🙂

Categories: quote, software, tech

Liquid Coding

April 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Business World’s Great Places To Work 2006 survey places my employer, Tavant Technologies, at #17! Congrats to self! 😉

From their writeup on Tavant.

Who is a liquid coding champion? A crack coder at Tavant Technologies. For those who think coding is the stuff spy stories are made of, well, it is the backbone of a software programme. In any IT solutions business, when a client gives a specification for a certain programme, it seldom stays what it started out as. A good coder will keep this in mind and ensure his work is flexible from day one. That way, he doesn’t have to start all over again when the specifications change.

Liquid Coding was a programing competition held for programmers at Tavant Technologies. It is a 3-hour competition and one can pair up with another person. At the start of the first hour, you would get a set of requirements. At the end of the first hour, you get some more requirements and further some more at the end of the second hour too. Each requirement is specified as one or more executable unit tests, and they carry certain number of points based on their complexity.

The crux of the competition is to write code to match requirements under extreme time pressure, and write it in such a way that it is extensible enough when further requirements are to be implemented.

I paired with Vineeth for this competition, and we came first in the tech lead category. The experience was intense and real fun. It is one of the best prizes I have ever got; and definitely the one that I am most proud about. 🙂

Categories: software, tavant, tech

Web presence for small businesses

April 15, 2007 1 comment

Internet is getting popular in India. I don’t have any statistics about it, but my guess is that most people and businesses in India don’t have an internet presence yet. Putting information about a business on the internet is useful for both the internet community and the business themselves.

Seth Godin writes:

What should my local chiropractor do? Or the acupuncturist? Or the pet store? What about that small church or mosque?

The web has changed the game for a lot of organizations, but for the local business, it’s more of a threat and a quandary than an asset. My doctor went to a seminar yesterday ($100+) where the ‘expert’ was busy selling her on buying a domain name, hiring a designer, using web development software, understanding site maps and navigation and keywords and metatags and servers…

These are businesses that have trouble dealing with the Yellow Pages. Too much trouble, too much time, way too expensive. So, should local micro-businesses just ignore the web? Or should they become experts in the art of building and maintaining a website

I think there’s a third way, one that gets them just about everything they need, takes an hour or two a month and costs about $60 a year.

The advice Seth gives is brilliant for its simplicity! Highly recommended.

Most readers of this blog might not have any trouble managing a web server and a few web sites. But if you know someone running a small local business who likes to have a web presence but would not like to be bothered with the hassles, I recommend pitching Seth’s idea to them.

Categories: links, tech