My Foray Into Ruby

Alright, alright.  I get it.  Ruby (on Rails specifically) is the hot thing.  Too many programmers I follow keep switching.  If they don’t fully switch, they give it a go, talk about how great it is and how they wish they could convince management to switch (yeah right).  I gave Ruby on Rails a go three – four years ago, but at that time I just didn’t know enough about programming to really appreciate it.  I decided to inhale a couple Codecademy tracks on it to get my feet wet again.

I have to say it’s not bad.  I like not having to indent, or use brackets/semi-colons all the time.  Some of the patterns didn’t really make sense to me, but hey with all new languages it’s that way in the beginning.  I remember starting out in C# thinking “What the hell does static mean?”  Knowing more now, it is a simple concept.  I know once I’m done with all of the ruby tracks and a few dummy projects I’ll be more up to speed.  So far though, there isn’t anything I don’t like.  Yeah it’s different, but different isn’t bad.

I wasn’t able to get my Rails app from my Ubuntu laptop to Heroku easily though.  First had problems with my SSH and creating a private key, then once I got there my ruby/rails was out of date and updating it fails.  Once I get it up and running I’ll publish a link to the demo app.

Universal Credit: government closer to recognising failure?

WOW! There could be a lot of factors involved in the pending “collapse”, but still. Makes you think twice about “agile”.

cartesian product

Universal Credit – the amalgamation of various welfare payments into one unified entitlement which will vary in “real time” as claimants’ circumstances change – is at the very heart of the British government‘s plans to reform the welfare state. The idea is that the welfare system will “make work pay”. Once that meant it would have a shallow taper – in other words, the loss of benefit as claimants got work would be reduced: today that aim seems less clearly expressed, but that is another issue I won’t go into here.

Universal Credit is also the world’s biggest ever “agile development” software project and a massive financial and social (and hence political) risk for the government. Unless delivered on time and on budget then the consequences are grave – some of the most vulnerable people in society could be left literally destitute, with all that entails…

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Commenting Your Code

A great article about commenting and code.  I can’t even begin to describe some of the odd comments I’ve seen in code.  Things like “// Loop through items to find the right one”.  Items?  What items?  What makes it a “right” item?  I would forgo those comments, for some above WHY an item is “right”.

I am all about “self documenting code”.  I feel code should flow, as if reading a story.  I often had talks with other programmers who said “I don’t ever need to use this code again, so why waste time wrapping it in a method/function?”.  Well that may be true for today’s code base, and your code may make sense to you, but think about the next guy coming in after you.  If you write great code, it can live for a long time, even after you’ve left a company.

“Always leave the code base, in a better state than you found it in”.