Thursday, August 03, 2006


To-Learn List Update

Several weeks ago, I posted my To-Learn List. Here's an update on where I am:


I read Developing Applications with Objective Caml, and I am currently working on a chess program in OCaml.

I really like OCaml, but I don't think I will never get to use it for real work. Even so, I think learning it makes me a better programmer.


I've made it through the first few chapters of The Haskell School of Expression, by Paul Hudak. I like what I've seen, but I don't really know much about Haskell yet.


I've gone through a couple of the tutorials in Eclipse. So far, I'm not impressed. I suspect Eclipse is wonderful if you do Java, but that's not what I do. I'd rather use XEmacs. People at work are trying to find a 'good IDE" for Linux, but I don't think Eclipse will be it.


I read Pragmatic Ajax. That book was really just an introduction to a bunch of Ajax libraries. I don't think I really know much. I'd rather know more about the low-level stuff—any idiot can use a library.

MySQL Internals

Not much going on with this. It's more likely that I'll be delving into SQL Server internals. Maybe I'll take the test that I need to become a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator, which might look good on the resumé.


I've started reading Game Programming in C++: Start to Finish by Erik Yuzwa, which covers an SDL-based library, which in turn uses OpenGL.

Other Learning and Habit-Changing

Changes at work mean that I might get to use .NET, so I've been re-familiarizing myself with that. I bought the Visual Studio 2005 upgrade, and spent an hour installing that on my Windows box tonight. But I also reactivated my World of Warcraft account, so I don't know how much VS I'll be doing in my spare time while sitting in front of my Windows machine.

I'm using Vim exclusively as my programming editor at home, on Mac OS X, Ubuntu, and Windows. I'm finding that I prefer it to XEmacs when using a laptop computer. I use it a little at work, but the VS editor is second-nature to me, so I usually just use that while I'm being paid.

All of my for-fun hacking is on Ubuntu. Right now, that consists of OCaml hacking, which is well-supported by Ubuntu and Debian.

I'm reading Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists by Benjamin C. Pierce. It makes me feel stupid, but after reading each chapter two or three times, I'm starting to understand it. At least, I think I know what a "monoid homomorphism" is.

If you're hot for AJAX programming, learn it by it's unsexy name JavaScript.

AJAX is a fancy new name for some old Dynamic HTML. It sounds like the libraries are just collections of JS tricks with an API slapped on it.

It's sort of predictable. Now that most browsers have figured out CSS formatting, webapp developers are going to wring as much out of JS as they can.

I guess it's just a matter of time before someone says "We need a successor to JavaScript". The current AJAX obsession will just hasten the inevitable.
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