Sunday, August 7, 2011

Everything But The Blender

Weeks that include interviews mean less work on projects. This was especially true last week where the interview was with a New York City startup. Just the same, there are a few interesting things worth talking about.

Apache Configuration
For the longest time, Blender Addons and Game PD shared a common folder which made version control difficult. Now, both projects have their own folders. Setup meant making separate sites-available files and writing a BASH script to automate Apache reloads.  Once done, switching between web site projects became a simple one-line command.

Python Is Awesome
I like doing small experiments in Python enough to write up quick scripts here and there for fun. One project used operating system utilities to examine different aspects of my /etc/ directory. Another project on the topic of continuations taught me a functional programming trick for passing in what courses of action the target function should take next. Give “python continuations” a Google search. You'll be glad you did.

Learning continuations got me thinking about the relationship between programming languages and paradigms. With Java, I felt pushed to think in object-oriented terms. Haskell is a functional programming language and, as such, pushes that style of development.

Python never made me feel pressured to adopt one style over another. I learned its style of classes and inheritance when I was ready for it and picked up functional programming tricks when I decided it was time for that. To pull that off while keeping the language simple is impressive.

PHP with Cookies, Sessions, and JSON
I finished a session and cookie manager that I did for myself as a challenge and came away from it pretty satisfied. This project mattered because sessions were the only major web programming area from my JSP days that I didn't have a handle on in PHP. It was a big win. There is still a lot to be learned though.

Take JSON for example.  I just finished off some work on a project where I was feeding JSON data from the server to client-side Javascript. Parsing it via JQuery was a little weird at first but, overall, it wasn't a difficult learning curve. Compared to XML parsing, JSON is easy.

In Conclusion 
After all is said and done, only Blender scripting fell to the wayside. That's something I hope to remedy during the coming week.  I look forward to talking about that and more in the near future. 

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