Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged softwareengineering, quora in 2010

Filters: Type: entry × Year: 2010 × softwareengineering × quora ×

What are the main weaknesses of Ruby as a programming language?

Ruby still has a cultural tendency towards monkey-patching, aka action-at-a-distance. There are plenty of gems which modify existing classes—sometimes in ways that can break working code.

[... 45 words]

Why is software effort estimation still based on thumb rules and gut feels? How come no one has come up with an accurate estimation model?

For a truly accurate estimation, you need to have built the software before. If you’ve built it before, why are you building it again?

[... 55 words]

What is a painless way for a non-Unix programmer to get started learning Unix or GNU/Linux?

I’d suggest getting yourself an Ubuntu virtual machine running on your own laptop—VirtualBox is free, so that’s a good starting point. That way you can play with Linux all you like without fear of breaking anything, since you can always delete the image or roll back to a snapshot.

[... 73 words]

Is it important for modern programmers to know how to use Unix? Why?

I’d say yes. If you do any kind of server-side development, Linux/Unix etc UNIX (links to: /topic/Unix), etc., is where most of the exciting innovation is happening. Tools like HadoopApache Hadoop (links to: /topic/Apache-Hadoop), RedisRedis (links to: /topic/Redis), MongoDBMongoDB (links to: /topic/MongoDB), nginxnginx (links to: /topic/nginx), git etc Git (links to: /topic/Git-version-control-1), etc., all come from a Unix UNIX culture, and not knowing your way around a command line makes it much harder to get to grips with them.

[... 110 words]

Will Redis support per-database persistence configuration?

I don’t know if that’s on the roadmap (you’d need to ask antirez on the mailing list or Twitter), but it should be easy enough to run multiple Redis instances with different settings—especially on a multi core machine.

[... 52 words]