Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged programming in Feb

Filters: Type: entry × Month: Feb × programming ×


Which web/software development conferences a student should attend and why?

Offer to volunteer at conferences. If accepted, you’ll get in for free and you’ll get to meet loads of people (including spending time with the speakers)—in exchange for a full days work manning desks, finding speakers in time for their talks, giving people directions and generally helping organise and clean things up.

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What are the most commonly used or most interesting open-source packages and software?

I’d say the open source browser engines, Gecko (Firefox) and WebKit (Safari, Chrome, iOS, Android) are probably some of the most important and widely used pieces of open source code these days.

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What’s the best way to learn how to scale web applications?

Read “Building Scalable Websites” by Cal Henderson. It’s a few years old now but still very relevant—it basically covers everything he learnt the hard way scaling Flickr. It’s a really fun read, too.

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Will I be able to make a decent eCommerce website just by learning coding from Codecademy?

I have more than ten years experience building dynamic sites, and I’d still personally much rather use a hosted service like http://www.shopify.com/ than build an eCommerce system myself.

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What are the best resources for learning regular expressions?

The O’Reilly book on Regular Expressions is absolutely superb. It will help you build a much deeper understanding if how they actually work than any online tutorial I’ve seen.

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Why are front end developers so high in demand at startups if front end development is relatively easier than other fields of engineering?

You’re starting with an invalid assumption. Front end development is absolutely not “easier” than other forms of engineering.

[... 333 words]

Which core programming principles apply to all languages?

YAGNI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You...

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Wouldn’t an ASCII cellular automaton in javascript be the simplest starting point to teach/learn programming?

Absolutely not. The first step in learning to program is understanding that a computer can be quickly made to do something useful by executing lines of code. Personally I’m a big fan of firing up something with an interactive prompt (like Python, or even Firebug or the Google Chrome JS console) and demonstrating that typing a line of code hitting return will get a useful response.

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Can Scala gain wider usage than Java any time soon?

No, because Scala is harder to master than Java.

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What is an intuitive explanation of Unicode and why a programmer needs to know it?

Check out “The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)” by Joel Spolsky: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ar...

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Tech Startups: What skills/technologies would the ideal technical co-founder possess?

The most important indicator is: can they ship? Can they prove that they know how to take a project from idea to running code deployed to a server somewhere with actual people interacting with it?

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Where does one start in programming?

Go to this site:

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