Week 4, Weekend

April 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm (Week 4) (, , , )

I got a lot of reading done over the weekend: finished up Clean Code by Robert Martin (with chapters by other Object Mentors as well), which I’d been working on for a couple months or so now. Great book; I highly recommend it. I ended up finishing it late Saturday night, and then felt a strong urge to do some coding. So I took a look through some open-source project I’d contributed to in the past, mostly just playing around, and finally ended up spending a few hours doing some bug fixes on the Rails app Eric and I are working on. Bug fixes are so much more satisfying when you write tests to accompany them. This way, you feel confident that you’re not going to see that bug again, and you also get a chance to go back into the code and refactor if needed. Refactoring wasn’t much needed in this case, but I looked!

And speaking of Refactoring, I started reading that book (by Martin Fowler) last night as well. I’d been putting it off since I felt better about my abilities “in the small” than with larger-scale design decisions, but the introduction makes me realize that small improvements are going to lead to larger design improvements over time, so I’m excited about that. I certainly have a lot of room for improvement and learning on a small scale as well!

After hearing Eric Smith and Corey Haines tweet back and forth a little bit about SICP, I had to investigate. Turns out “SICP” is Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, a computer science textbook using Scheme (a LISP dialect), which I’d looked into when I first started getting interested in programming but which went way over my head at the time. Inspired, I watched the first course lecture (by Hal Abelson) on Google Video, read the first section of SICP, and played around with Scheme on my laptop (re-learning Emacs navigation along the way).

I’ve learned a lot this weekend, and I’m looking forward to getting back into Java a bit this week, along with Rails and whatever else is in store!

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