- Good tech lead, bad tech lead.
- Can we please please stop telling people that coding is easy?
- Confessions of an Intermediate Programmer. The perception and psychology of competence.
- The Science of Making your Story Memorable Some interesting advice about presentations. The presentation itself used as example is interesting as well.
- Thirty percent feedback to iterate faster.
- The classic “your problem with Vim is that you don’t grok vi” response in Stack Overflow.
- A very nice list of Python articles. Best Python 2013
- Companies and startups are different. Not only in size, but qualitatively. An startup is based on the search for a business model, while a company is based on the execution of a business model.
- A typewriter to print water paints. Amazing.
- How much is time wrong around the world, actually meaning how places in the world are synchronised to “12 AM when sun is higher”.
- A reflection about how Internet is so full of strong emotions and is so judgmental.
- When It’s your job to give bad news, because we don’t live in an ideal world.
- Writing is hard.
- This is a wonderful comment (in Hacker News)
- A great initiative to clean up Vim code. Neovim. It includes a fundraiser to help in the initial phase.
As a way of collecting interesting reads across the Internet, I plan to keep a relatively regular posts with some articles and posts that I’ve read, mostly related to development, software and tech world in general.
Here it goes the first edition.
- Your Progress As A Programmer Is All Up To You
- Theory and practice Short and simple, but nice
- Every line of code is always documented Nice ways to use version control to our advantage when navigating through unknown code
- When random isn’t random enough or why randomness is a more complicated problem than it looks
- Interesting talk about different databases and distributed queries
- A 1986 Bill Gates interview about coding. It is interesting how some of the topics are still challenges today, but have been more refined, like team collaboration. Love this quote “We’re no longer in the days where every program is super well crafted.”
- Why indie developers go insane, about (but not limited) to all the Flappy Bird issue
- Nice graphic representation of version control history. Using airplanes!
- gn command for Vim. This is a very interesting new addition to my Vim lexicon
- Very good points about non-English speakers developers. Not sure if I totally buy it, at the end tech world is so predominantly english, that being able to use it is a huge win, but still interesting read.
- Being a noob programer at 38
Hope you enjoy it!
There are a lot of discussion about how to make Vim “an IDE”. Vim is a great text editor, but when we are developing, there are lots of extra tools that are very useful. Code completion. Easy navigation through files and classes. Source control integration. Syntax checking. Navigation that understand the semantics. Integrated debugger.
My problem with IDEs (and I have used a few over the years) is that they give you a lot of support, but at the cost of increasing the complexity. They are slow for a lot of common operations and they use a lot of resources. Code completion, the good kind that will allow you to get the types of a method, not just finish your words (which most of the time is trivial), is useful when developing on a static language, but since I program in Python is something that I can’t find good use of it. I just don’t use all that stuff, so I don’t feel I can justify to pay the price.
Another problem with IDEs is that they tend to be designed, by default, to the newbie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Vim is a pretty intimidating tool because is totally crazy for the rookie. But it generates a bloated environment to start with. If you open Eclipse, a popular IDE (and one I’ve used for some years), you’ll get a relatively small frame for the code, and a lot of extra stuff surrounding it. Logs, file navigation, class definition, a huge toolbar, maybe even a TO DO list…
For example, think about file navigation. Sure, it’s useful to move around. But it is used only at certain points in time. Most of the time, it’s just used as an entry point to code, and then the navigation can be achieved, either just moving around in the same file, by a referral from the code (like going to a method definition), or just searching on the whole project. In case you need to go to an specific file, you can then show the navigation window, or even better, search by filename. That only happens during small periods of time, so the rest of the time the window is just wasted space on screen. The same thing happen for a task list. It is useful to know the next step. But not while you’re working in one task.
Hey, it is possible to hide the navigation window, and display it only at the proper moment, to save space. I have done that. But it’s not there by default, so most of the people I know just keep it open “just in case, giving context”. They just get used to it, and don’t perceive it as a problem, But having half of your screen full of information that is irrelevant 95% of the time is a huge price to pay. And certainly not a good use of an IDE. The good parts of an IDE are things like automatic compilation and deployment, refactoring tools (not just renaming), debugging, help with the types in static languages, automatic generation of code, etc. Not showing everything, all the time.
Vim is a text editor, but it is also sort of a philosophy. It is not about showing stuff, but about having stuff available at the right moment, with a quick command. It is not just about using hjkl to move around and having an insert mode. It’s about being precise. It is difficult at first, because you can’t simply discover what are the available options, but it also pays off in terms of focus and clean environment. When programming, the most important part is to keep as few things into mind as possible. Keeping all relevant information, which is already enough, but nothing more than can distract you for the task. It is also about doing one thing, and not a hundred. I use other tools for things like source control and debugging. After all, we have the whole OS to work as our IDE.
I use a small number of plugins in Vim. When you learn a little about it, you find out that it’s amazing the number of features and stuff that can be achieved “out of the box”, and how little extra is actually needed to have a really productive environment. It’s just that we need to move from the usual “browse through menus” world that most of software uses, and devout some time to, well, study and learn. It’s really worth it.
I am a Vim user. And a Vim fan.
I was fiddling around for some time, you know, just knowing the basics, because it is convenient to do small changes on servers without having to worry about installing anything. Just the basics, insert mode, some search, save,
and a couple more things. Then, around two years ago, I decided to give it a try as my main editor, after watching a presentation of a co-worker (my boss, actually) about how to use Vim (he has been using Vim for around 20 years)
At the beginning, it is quite difficult, to be honest. You have to relearn everything about editors. But I was doing OK after one or two weeks, so I kept using it. I was also forcing myself into improving my usage, reading about it and learning tricks…
Then, after a while of using it and read a lot of instructional material (I cannot recommend “Practical Vim” by Drew Neil strongly enough. It’s a FANTASTIC book), everything started to make sense. Let’s be serious, the problem with Vim is not exactly that is “difficult” per se, it’s that it is so alien to any other text edition experience, that you have to forget everything that you know about how to edit text. That’s why I don’t agree that the Vim learning curve is a myth. Because, when we first heard of Vim, we already have 10+ years of using things like Word, NotePad or Gmail to write text. We need time to assimilate how to edit text “the Vim way”. And that takes time to assimilate, as your muscular memory works against you.
And, yes, the Vim way is awesome. But it is awesome not for the reason that usually someone will think at the start. There is the perception that Vim is awesome because is fast. It is not.
Continuando el post que escribí el otro día acerca de los cachivaches que uso para trabajar, voy a hablar también un poco de el software que utilizo.