Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged programminglanguages in 2012

Filters: Type: entry × Year: 2012 × programminglanguages ×

Which language and framework would you use today?

Unless I had a very good reason to use something else (a pure websocket/real-time collaboration app perhaps) I’d go with stock Django on PostgreSQL and maybe a bit of Redis. Simple, powerful, stable and works reliably.

[... 50 words]

How can some really large services (like Dropbox) afford to use Python as a primary language, if it’s one to two orders of magnitude slower than other, compiled languages?

Because raw language speed often doesn’t matter that much. In the case if Dropbox the client software spends most of its time waiting for bits to load from the network or from disk. Most large websites spend their time waiting for the database. You can’t speed up network or disk performance by using a faster language.

[... 91 words]

How difficult is to to learn a language framework, like node.js?

The answer varies enormously depending on the language and the framework. Some frameworks are very easy to pick up, others are harder.

[... 162 words]

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.

[... 62 words]

What web programming framework best supports ’drag and drop’ actions?  Please give examples of sites and/or plug-ins that support the interaction.

Drag and drop is a client-side thing—it has nothing to do with the server-side technology being used.

[... 72 words]

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.

[... 87 words]

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:

[... 55 words]

Which web frameworks should I focus on to make myself the most well rounded and to be able to solve the most problems as a web application developer/architect?

Being an expert web developer isn’t about which framework you know, it’s about the fundamentals. It’s important that you know how the tools you are using work, so you can fix things when they break—Joel Spolsky’s law of leaky abstractions is a great essay about this:

[... 260 words]