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    1. Is there a programming language that brings you joy?

      Just for a moment, forget all of the technical pros and cons, the static typing, just-in-time compilation, operator overloading, object orientation to the max... Is there a programming language...

      Just for a moment, forget all of the technical pros and cons, the static typing, just-in-time compilation, operator overloading, object orientation to the max...

      Is there a programming language that you've just found to be... fun?

      Is there one that you'd pick above all else for personal or company projects, if you had your druthers, because you would simply be so excited to use it?

      And then, is there something missing in that "fun" language that's preventing it from actually becoming a reality (i.e. small community, lack of libraries, maintenance ended in the 80s, etc.)?

      50 votes
    2. I want to learn Android (with Kotlin) ... should I focus on Jetpack or the old XML style?

      I am an experienced programmer (mostly M$ stack -- C#, etc). I started learning mobile Android development a few months ago, learning both Kotlin and the larger Android development environment at...

      I am an experienced programmer (mostly M$ stack -- C#, etc).

      I started learning mobile Android development a few months ago, learning both Kotlin and the larger Android development environment at the same time. I got bogged down in tutorials and guides, because half of them teach Jetpack Compose methodology and half teach XML layout ... and, often enough, don't bother to mention which method they're using.

      Which should I learn first? I am initially interested in learning Android dev for my own hobby/fun/side projects, but I would--ultimately--like to be able to put "Android developer" on my resume.

      Jetpack definitely looks better, more modern, more OO, and I expect it will eventually become the new standard ... but that could still be many years down the road. Also, while it might be "better"--especially for larger projects--it also smells more complicated.

      So, ultimately, I guess I should learn both if I actually intend to become an Android dev ... but I should definitely get comfortable with one, first ... so, which one?

      11 votes
    3. What is the most advanced or creative program you can create using the LOX programming language?

      Lox is a toy programming language that is designed in Java and C at craftinginterpreters.com. My challenge to you is: given the constraints of the Lox language, what are some creative or advanced...

      Lox is a toy programming language that is designed in Java and C at craftinginterpreters.com.

      My challenge to you is: given the constraints of the Lox language, what are some creative or advanced programs you can create?

      This page provides a rundown of the design of Lox.

      To kick it off, here's a simple function that estimates the value of pi:

      fun estimatePi(rounds) {
      	var pi = 0;
      	var alt = 1;
      	for (var i = 0; i < rounds; i = i + 1) {
      		pi = pi + alt * 4/(2 * i + 1);
      		alt = -alt;
      	}
      	return pi;
      }
      
      print "The value of pi is:";
      print getPi(100000);
      
      3 votes
    4. What was your first programming language, what languages do you know now, and what tips do you have for those trying to learn any of those?

      What was your first programming language, what other languages (if any) do you know now, and what tips do you have for those trying to learn any of those? Whether those tips are for beginners or...

      What was your first programming language, what other languages (if any) do you know now, and what tips do you have for those trying to learn any of those? Whether those tips are for beginners or even advanced, to do with APIs, or if you've got a good library to share.

      53 votes
    5. The ideal backend language to write web apps in 2023?

      I know quite a controversial and opinionated question, one that might easily get blasted with downvotes on a site like StackOverflow or even Reddit! Nevertheless, one which I believe is still...

      I know quite a controversial and opinionated question, one that might easily get blasted with downvotes on a site like StackOverflow or even Reddit! Nevertheless, one which I believe is still relevant to ask and useful one even in 2023.

      The problem with backend web technologies is that we are overwhelmed with choices. Whilst getting spoilt with choices seems like a useful thing sometimes, it might easily be an impediment in decision making too. Based on my experience, there are a bunch of useful stacks and I will work on any of them if you pay me to work as a freelance coder. Each has its own pros and cons but I'm yet to find the ideal one which according to me is something that should be easy to code and deploy while also better performing at the same time.

      • ASP.NET: C# is the language I started coding web apps with in my last company and ASP.NET web forms was quite the rage back then. PHP was also gaining traction in the open source world and the webdev was mostly divided between the Enterprisey .NET aristocrats of Microsoft world and the poor PHP peasants of the FOSS world! One good thing about ASP.NET was performance. Since MS controlled the whole stack, they also put great efforts at making it work faster. The bad thing, of course, was dependence on a closed tech stack and a closed black box that generated JS functionality on its own.
      • PHP: When I resigned from that company and started freelancing, I came to know about open source, linux, XAMPP, etc. That was when I realized that my own attitudes and thinking was more attuned to the FOSS peasant mindset than the wealthy aristocrat's! I didn't earn quite as much in freelancing with WP, Drupal, SuiteCRM, CodeIgniter, etc. but I found great happiness and contentment in being part of the open source process. Till date, PHP remains my favorite language for backend development and most of my web projects involve CodeIgniter or even pure PHP.
      • Python: Flask is what got me interested in Python web development. The sheer minimalism and flexibility of that framework is what I found quite remarkable and quite a rarity in the frameworks world. And jinja2 template system was just fantastic. The other framework called django is more popular I think and I've worked on that too but Flask still remains my favorite. Flask is good in performance dept. too but I think it gets tricky once you start scaling with too many users.
      • Java: I've never really bothered with Java web development except a few tutorial experiments on the Apache TomEE server. The multi-layered approach that Java takes not only has very steep learning curve but unless you're a very gifted programmer, it's practically impossible to beat the performance of interpreted PHP/Flask!
      • NodeJS: Again, not much work here except brief hobby projects like http-live-simulator. The npm packaging system really turned me off initially with so many packages and issues with that system in the earlier days. Nowadays, I've heard that it's much usable but I've never gotten into it.

      And now, we also have the evolving languages like Golang, Rust, etc. taking their baby steps towards web development too! Are any of them worth giving a try? If someone were to ask you for a backend tech stack recommendation while giving equal weightage to performance, developer productivity and ease of deployment, which one will you suggest?

      23 votes
    6. Why store code as text files?

      Code is usually version controlled nowadays in git or some other VCS. These typically operate on text files and record the changes applied to the files over their history. One drawback from this...

      Code is usually version controlled nowadays in git or some other VCS. These typically operate on text files and record the changes applied to the files over their history. One drawback from this is that formatting of the code can introduce changesbto the files that make no semantic difference, e.g. newlines are added/removed, indentation is altered etc.

      Consistent formatting makes the code easier to read, but the style used is an aesthetic preference. There might be objective reasons for readability in at least the extreme cases, but in many cases the formatting is purely a preferred style.

      If we instead version controlled code in the form of an abstract syntax tree (AST) (possibly even as just a series of transformations on that tree), we could have any formatting we'd like! When editing the code we would just be changing a projection of the AST and when we've made our changes the transformations could be made to the stored AST. If two languages shared the same AST the choice of language even becomes a choice for the programmer. Sadly this has some limitations since ASTs are usually language specific... But we could possibly take this a step further.

      Could we take a compiled binary and use that as the basis for generating an AST? This is essentially what decompilers do. For heavily optimized code this is severely limited, but for debug builds a lot of extra information is retained in the binary that can be utilized to construct a sensible representation. This way of storing code the language used becomes a style preference! Code compiled from one language might become alien when viewed in another language (thinking of lazy Haskell code viewed in C), but maybe that is a corner case?

      There are issues when considering binaries for different platforms. A binary for the JVM isn't the same as one for ARM64 or one compiled to run on an x86. So there are some limitations there...

      One (very) good thing about storing code as text files is the ubiquity of software capable of viewing and editing text. It would however be cool if we could make programming language a stylistic preference that is compatible with other languages! At least the AST part should be perfectly achievable.

      16 votes
    7. Experience with Crystal programming language?

      I have heard just a little bit about the language Crystal every so often, probably since it was first mentioned on /r/programming. From what I know, it's Ruby-like syntax but with a static type...

      I have heard just a little bit about the language Crystal every so often, probably since it was first mentioned on /r/programming. From what I know, it's Ruby-like syntax but with a static type system, which seems like a big benefit to me.

      I written just a little bit of Ruby, so the syntax isn't very familiar to me, and I haven't bothered trying Crystal out, but I'm curious to know what kinds of things people do with it.

      So, my questions are: Do you have any experience with Crystal? If so, what have you used it for? Was it a professional or recreational project? How did you like it? What about it stood out to you compared to your experiences with other languages?

      Thanks!

      8 votes