GoLang, Qt, and Robert Frost

One of my most favorite poems is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Something I was working on tonight sparked my memory of a line from that poem.

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

It all started with my decision to start dabbling with Go, a newish language created by the folks at Google. I’m exploring it because it is lightening fast and can be a great solution for some of the intensive data manipulation stuff I am working on, where PHP really struggles to perform. As someone who spends a lot of time in scripting languages, I had to remember the old days when I used to dabble with C/C++ and get back to understanding compilation. Lucky for us, Go handles memory management for the most part, which really makes it much more enjoyable to code with!

Although I love my trusty Sublime Text 3, I felt compelled to find an IDE that would help out more with syntax completion and make it more difficult for me to make stupid mistakes. Alas, I came across an open source project called LiteIDE. Sweet! So I installed it on my Macbook without a hitch and started using it. As I started perusing the options and settings, I couldn’t help but notice there were some misspellings and incorrect grammar. This isn’t a big deal — I am acutely where that I do not live in an English speaking bubble and some of the best developers come from all around the world. So, I thought, hey why not give back and send them a PR with a few updates? I cloned the project and made some changes. Although they are just translation changes, I figured I should try to build the project and make sure I didn’t break anything.

Looking through the code, I find a build folder with a convenient bash script setup to build on OSX. Give it a go and quickly find out I need Qt. Ok, although I’ve heard of it, I’ve never used it. So, off I go to download it and install it. After some path configuration so it can find qmake, I try the build again — no dice. Lots of errors like unknown type nume QIODevice and things about not matching a ColorStyleScheme declaration. Oy! I’m way out of my element here.

I will probably still submit the PR since it is only translation changes, but the point of the post is something I often find myself doing when experimenting or learning new things. There is so much to learn and when I venture down an unfamiliar road, I often drift from subject to subject learning just enough to contribute to the original goal. I’ve found this experience to a rewarding way to learn and has attributed to my achievements as a developer. I guess, like Robert Frost, you could say I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.

Learning Ruby on Rails

completed-rails-for-zombies-redux-cb1011b0ed5f8bb98c97e8e97d7faa3eAs a PHP developer, I’ve always been fascinated with Ruby, specifically the Rails framework. I’ve always felt like I am missing out on something. Recently, I’ve started making a push in my limited spare time to get familiar with the language and idioms of Rails. I’m proud to say, thus far, I have completed the Rails For Zombies course over at Code School. In case you are curious, here is my CodeSchool “Report Card”.

Next steps? I’m going to work on building a rails app from the ground up and learn as I go. As a self-taught developer, I’ve found that spending hours readings the documentation and poring over questions in StackOverflow really helps me to grok the material.

Also, I’ve found a couple other options for learning Ruby.