Like a lot of people in technology a portion of my time is spent wondering what will be the next programming language, framework or whatever to take off and become popular. Of greater personal importance is the matter of which one of them will get added to my toolboox next and press-ganged into productive use. For years now Ruby has been my goto for a lot things and I’ve been doing more and more OS X and iOS development but it had been some time since I last picked up something new and I had a hankering for some shinyness.
Since I last wrote about my experience working outside of Northern Ireland I’ve returned to the UK, turned down prospects of contract work in Belfast and have set up shop in London. Serendipity A good while back Rob and myself had discussed the possibility of London. He’d been working remotely with a company based here and due to changes in his circumstances leaving N. Ireland was a valid option. Lines of communication between the two of us dropped off for a while as a result of travel, work and such like and when I finally got caught up with him I discovered he’d already bitten the bullet and was moving over.
I can be an awfully indecisive person at times. Often I’ve been in the grips of analysis paralysis unable to pick a course of action to take, crippled with choice. When I was a student I read The Dice Man and was sorely tempted to make all my decisions by rolling a die or tossing a coin. Needless to say this is maybe not the best way for a person to navigate through life.
I’m currently sitting in Melbourne enjoying the Australian summer and a well deserved break from work. I can barely remember the northern hemisphere winter I left behind a few weeks ago. I’ve only briefly mentioned working away from home before but January past marked two years since I last worked in Belfast. The pace has been hectic at times and I’ve spent more nights in hotels than I care to recall but from my first contract in Dublin to my last in the south of England I’ve found a consistant theme: being treated with more respect, working on more interesting problems and for higher pay.
Last week I gave a short talk at BelfastJS outlining WebSockets: what they are, how you use them, examples, warnings and alternatives. That should cover the basics I think. A few months ago I spoke at BelfastRuby and it was good again to be sharing some knowledge with a bunch of people enthusiastic about technology and the local community. Hopefully we can keep things going and help make Belfast a supportive environment for those involved in the knowledge economy.
It has become common practice these days to use tools like RVM and Bundler to manage a project’s dependencies. When these pacakages are in place, getting up to speed with another project is a breeze. The Pain But how about installing these tools themselves? How about other dependant pieces of software such as databases and the like? What if they have to be compiled from source? What if they have to be installed with a package manager?
About 9 hours ago I dandered down the road to see what was happening at the FlackNite event being hosted in Farset Labs. When I finally got myself settled down with network access and a cup of coffee and said hello to everyone it seemed I was the only one without a project to work on. Nightmare. Decisions, Decisions I couldn’t think of what to focus on but Rob and Pete were sitting next to me and tinkering with some Objective-C and Cocoa.
Tonight I gave an introductory talk about Sinatra at the second meetup of BelfastRuby. The Converser platform I’ve been building this last while uses a lot of Sinatra so when I was asked to give a talk about using Ruby to develop web apps without Rails it wasn’t hard to think of a subject. This was my first technical talk and apart from a touch of nerves and forgetting some of the jokes I had in mind I think things went well.
I’ve often joked about putting together an app to track my coffee consumption, such is my reputation for consuming the black goodness. Like a lot of my other personal projects, the idea had a prolonged gestation period and was finally born through a welcome spark of motivation. Crafting fine web APIs Over the past 6 months the bulk of what I’ve been doing day to day with Vigill has involved building web APIs for consumption by mobile clients.
I was on-site with Vigill one day before Christmas and I mentioned to Oisin an idea I had for an app. I was sick of having endless tabs open in Chrome, hogging memory, each one some seeming important enough at the time that I read it but now just a contextless enigma. If I at least knew how many tabs I had open, it would be a step in the right direction I thought.