Brain Food 5-26-2007

In the tradition of some other bloggers out there, I'm going to simply post a few links to things that influenced my thinking in the last few days, and write a sentence or two for each one.

So, without further ado:

  • Is SQL Manual Memory Management? - I've been thinking about ORM a lot lately, and this post by Ruby on Rails aficionado Giles Bowkett makes a very tantalizing point/prediction about the future of ORM. This sentence sort of sums it up: "Maybe one day the idea that database management should be part of the language will seem as obvious and basic as the idea that programmers shouldn't have to do memory management by hand." I also found one of the comments left on the post to be very insightful: "Having SQL in a language will most likely turn into the same type of feature as having regular expressions in a language."
  • Hanselminutes Podcast 65 with Martin Fowler and David Heinemeier Hansson - This is a mindblowingly good interview that addresses many of the things that have been on my brain lately, and does so with two of the greatest minds in the dev world.
  • Rob Conery on Subsonic - This is an excellent .NET Rocks! podcast featuring the creator of an awesome tool called SubSonic that brings many concepts from Rails into ASP.NET.
  • Meetuplex - Biting satire of Google from the people at I love Google, but this is just too funny. "At Google, you get your free Google-approved haircut at the Googleplex by a Googler with an IQ in the 99% percentile of all haircutters."

Moving from .NET to Ruby: The IDE Question

I've been thinking a lot about Ruby lately. From the limited experience I've had with it, it seems like a very cool language. But one thing has always been present in the back of my mind: what about the IDE?

After being severely spoiled by Visual Studio for the past couple years, I can't help but wonder how I could really ever become serious about Ruby (and Rails) development without something equivalent to Visual Studio. More specifically, how could I ever feel productive without IntelliSense and the wonders of ReSharper?

Keep in mind that I programmed for years without ever seeing an IDE. Throughout college, my toolbox consisted solely of Kate and a console. It wasn't until an internship that I undertook during my senior year that I first felt the sweet embrace of Visual Studio and the truly awesome productivity gains a nice IDE can grant you. But now that I've seen these wonders, I can't "unsee" them.

From what I've read, it appears the de facto standard editor for the Ruby hacker is TextMate for OS X. I've heard wonderful things about TextMate, but could it really replace Visual Studio?

If I were determined to get serious about Ruby/Rails, would it be silly of me to continue using Windows and Visual Studio with something like Ruby In Steel (which I just read a great review of on SDTimes)? Or should I abandon my comfort zone and dive in head first with a Mac and a TextMate license?

I would love to hear from other developers who have gotten heavily into Ruby/Rails after spending years in Visual Studio. Which IDE/editor did they end up using? If they eschewed Visual Studio, was it a traumatic experience?

Silverlight != Sugarlight

Why did Microsoft have to rename WPF/E to Silverlight after I'd been listening heavily to X for several months?

The following refrain has been running through my head for days:

"Silverlight! Silverlight! I can't believe..."

Stupid Microsoft! Stupid punk rock!

Dynamic Languages with Silverlight



After waiting patiently for nearly two months, SICP is finally here.

Pulling it from the box and seeing it "in the flesh" for the first time was a little magical. The cover is enchanting. A wizard appears to be casting a spell. There's a mysterious lambda floating in the air.

Who knew a computer programming book could be so seductive? The cover superbly captures the mystique of the contents.

I can't wait to dive in and begin casting spells in Scheme.