Saturday, April 04, 2009

Random Thoughts

I haven't written in a while, but that doesn't mean that a lot hasn't been going on, just nothing I really felt the need to write about unfortunately. I do have some random thoughts about some things though, and so here they are.

Little Things

I've noticed in some of the comments on my posts that people like to point out that some of the things I mention are no big deal - like not having to put a dot in a method call:

p ! t


p.!(t) or in Ruby: p.! t

I'd like to point out that sure, they are little things. But, little things add up. The more and more of the little things that a language gets right, the more of a joy it is to program in. Scala seems to get a lot of these things right.

Java 7

I remember months ago (at least 4) I asked, "will Java 7 ever come out?" I did a brief google search and see no evidence that its any closer. Why is this? It's insane.

I think the main reason is (so many people have realized and stated this before) that programming language by committee is BS. There must be a dictator running the show. I hope this is a road that Scala doesn't go down.

There are plenty more reasons of course. Holding on for dear life to backwards compatibility is a bad idea IMO. If companies don't want to move forward to a new version because something has changed, then well, you aren't really at risk of losing them as users anyway. If they want to stay on the old version, let them. As a language designer you should not sacrifice the language. You should always do your best to put out the best language possible. If the language is the best, then when the company finally decides to move off the old version, they will move to the latest version. If your language isn't the best, they won't. No big deal.


I'm finally getting back into ScalaTest development. I'm really excited about it. It's been a while. I'll be giving a presentation at the next Scala meetup on testing in Scala. It won't be specifically to ScalaTest - I'll be including specs, matchers, mocking, ScalaCheck, lots of cool stuff.


Ruby is definitely rubbing off on me. I read an interesting quite by Matz that said something along the lines of, "It really comes down to just how you feel writing in a language that matters". I feel good writing Ruby. I feel even better writing Scala (though I do sometimes end up in fights with the type system and get angry). I feel HORRIBLE writing Java.

camelcase vs. underscores

I've decided that camelcase is much harder to read than underscores, and wish the Java and Scala communities would make the switch. WhenIReadCamelCaseAndEverythingIsBunchedUp, its_just_harder_to_read_than_underscores. I think this is especially true as the statement gets longer. TwoWords is not so_bad. ButAfterThat I think underscores_win_out.


I can't begin to explain how good it feels to have good management again. I had a great one a few years back by the name of Eric Golin. He was so incredibly smart and knew how to speak to me and how to get the best out of all times. This is how I feel at my current job. Management has worked extremely hard to get things running smoothly. It just feels great.

I've had so many terrible, terrible, terrible managers in the past - almost all of them. Its an absolute drag. I need to do better to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Here's one tip - if anyone in the management chain wears sunglasses indoors, run like hell.


I don't have much experience in C++ at all, but, in what little time that I've spent with it, I like it. And I like it a hell of a lot more than Java. Now, I know Java's appeal was that it fixed so many problems C++ developers had to face, but...for the most part I think it just appealed to the 90% of developers who aren't any good.

But, Java probably was a good step back in order to fix some of those problems, in order to allow really nice things like Scala to come along. You know, I used to really like Java, until Scala came along. Now seeing Java code makes me throw up in my mouth a little.


I need to get better at explaining fundamental algorithms. Its not that I don't understand the concepts, I just don't do a good job of explaining my understanding of them. I will improve this.


School is a perfect place for me. I have to go back. I change jobs often because I lose interest. I need to be challenged, always. I need new ideas. I need really smart people I can talk to all the time. Very few jobs can offer even half of what I need. I get all these things and more at school.

If I need a challenge, I just pick a challenging class. Almost everyone in my program will be really smart, and interested in exactly the same things as me. Fantastic. And, I wont have to deal with sunglasses indoors.


  1. I agree on the underscore versus camelCase thing. For tests or assertions, it's also nice to use backticks:

    require(`the properties are sound for`(foo))
    def `the properties are sound for`(x: Any) = ...

  2. I feel the same way about Java, coming from C++, .net I loved Java, but now after Scala (although I am just in the learning phase) I am beginning to lose interest in the way I HAVE to code in Java.
    btw I like came case better than under scores, perhaps the background still influences :)

  3. @Henrick - thanks for the backtick idea. I think it definitely cleans up the code so that its easier to look at. But, it does have an unfortunate, but serious flaw. The compiled method name is full of special characters, and so the reporting in most xUnit frameworks is very difficult to read.

    I think I'll stick with ScalaTest's FunSuite where I can say:

    test("the properties are sound for..."){
    // test code

    But, the IDE support isn't quite there for ScalaTest yet so, baahh.