Monday, July 9, 2012

Objective-C Overtakes C++

I was pretty harsh on C++ in my entry on that language. I even called it "crap," before saying "beginners should avoid the horror."

At one time that would have been heresy, but it seems to be trending toward conventional wisdom. As this I Programmer page shows, C++ has been overtaken by Objective-C.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cheap Notebook Computers

I designed my study plan (in the sidebar) around cheap computers. At the time I wrote it, I thought good Linux-ready desktops were going for around $50. That wasn't much to spend if you couldn't find one in your closet.

I'm browsing Craigslist right now, and I'm kind of amazed. There are some good notebooks for less than $100. As an example:

IBM Thinkpad T43, Wi-Fi, 1.86Ghz, 1GB, Fantastic Condition - $80

I think we might be about to ubiquitous computing. From this point on computing power is approximately free. Of course, you can still drop a thousand on a new Mac notebook ... for however long that lasts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The PHP Singularity

Coding Horror does a long piece on the awfulness of PHP. It surprised me, frankly. I saw PHP as a good low level tool. I don't see it as a high-powered or high-level computer language. And maybe that's the key. There are a lot of computer languages in the world. You can either learn one really well, and use it as your tool to attack every problem, or you can learn a few and select one for the job.

I see PHP as a simple tool for creating the simple websites that make up 80 or 90 percent of our web universe. You certainly can create a restaurant's website, complete with menu, map, and daily specials, without taxing the language. You can do an auto dealer's site, list current inventory, and take service reservations.

At some point though, PHP will top out. It will be when the things you are trying to do become a bit too data intensive and computationally demanding. If you want your auto site to have a "build your car" page, first showing a wirefrime, and then showing it in your color, etc., that could be a bit much. You probably could do it in PHP, but then you'd run into the kind of frustrations Coding Horror shares with us.

That's my perspective as a former Java programmer, coming from a world where we were carrying around a lot MORE language and complexity than we needed for simple jobs.