Twitter Engineering Weblog

The Twitter Engineering Blog: "Welcome! I'm Ben, and I'm an engineer at Twitter. We've started this blog to show some of the cool things we're creating and tough problems we're solving." - Besides having interesting content I love how clean the design is. Oh, if you're in the market for a job, check out the jobs listed in the right column, they have quite a few, and they're very interesting. If you're into Ruby, Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS you may be a nice fit!

Also, check out their photo stream on Flickr, it's nice to be spoiled.

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Posted by Rob at 9:46 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Great job opportunity

Ned Batchelder: "We need someone who can jump into a project with both feet. If you don't know the technologies needed, you can learn them quickly with a minimum of fuss. Good overall engineering skills are a must, as well as a passion for delivering polished software even in demanding circumstances. We build and maintain outstanding software and experiences, and would like your help to continue to do so." - Ned's an all around good fella, and a great software engineer. The Tabblo team is doing some nifty stuff and if you're looking for a job this could be a great place to land.

The position is on site, but I'm not sure if the Tabblo team is still in Boston or if they've migrated to California? I'm going to guess they're still in Boston.

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Posted by Rob at 12:52 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

How to kill a product

Ned Batchelder: "Tabblo is written on the Django framework, and therefore, in Python. Ever since we were acquired by Hewlett-Packard two and a half years ago, there's been a debate about whether we should start working in Java, a far more common implementation language within HP. These debates come and go, with varying degrees of seriousness." - Ned may be talking more about the debate they continuously have within HP but the bigger nastiness is how easy it would be for Tabblo to fail by doing a rewrite. Where's the benefit to the user? There's nothing wrong with Python and there are plenty of successful projects in Java. If HP needs to interop with Tabblo, they have web services, communicate with Tabblo using whatever makes sense to you. End of story.

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Posted by Rob at 10:05 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

View from a C++ noob

Armin Ronacher: "I just recently started using C++ for university (about two months ago) and still have a hard time accepting some of the weird syntax rules and semantics. For someone that mainly does Python development C++ feels very unnatural. In Python the syntax is clean and there are no ambiguities. C++ is drastically different in that regard. I know there are tons of resources on the net about C++ pitfalls already, but I thought I have to add my own for people switching to C++ with a background in Python and/or C." - I forgot how daunting C++ can be coming from another language. I struggled with C pointers for the longest time after coming from BASIC, then a dear friend said these words to me.

* means contents of
& means address of

That's all it took. From that day forward I could deal with pointers.

Python looks weird to me, especially the whole indentation thing.

Python is one of those languages high on my list of languages to learn, which also includes Ruby and Smalltalk. Objective-C wasn't on there, but I'm knee deep in it now. I believe Objective will be a good sprintboard to learning Smalltalk, either that or a hinderance.

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Posted by Rob at 10:30 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Weird Dream

Duct Tape, fixer of all things!I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, Adam Corolla, Core Intuition, and my latest find, Developer Lives. Monday, on the drive into work, I listened to the latest Core Intuition, great discussion guys, and on the way home I grabbed the latest Developer Lives. Both podcasts featured Daniel Jalkut, Daniel is the co-host of Core Intuition, and was the featured developer on Developer Lives. The stage is now set...

In my dream I'm working on my Mac only drawing and diagraming desktop application, think Visio. In the dream I'm doing the thing I like to do above all other development jobs, I'm adding scripting capabilities. Mind you, I'm not coding yet, I'm working through what to expose to the outside, and trying to make a scripting environment/language choice. My two choices were AppleScript and Python, because you can embed it in you application, great example Acorn.

I pick up the phone and call Daniel. We're having a nice discussion about the plusses and minuses of both approaches, and the idea of supporting both, then my wife's alarm clock goes off; it's 5:30AM, my dream of a Mac only, highly extensible, drawing and diagramming engine is just that, a dream.

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Posted by Rob at 6:39 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Plugging C into Python

Ned Batchelder: "Python can be extended with extensions written in C. It's a complex topic, this will be a quick 45 minute introduction." - If you've ever wanted to hookup some good old fashioned C code to your Python application, this is a great starting point. Thanks Ned.

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Posted by Rob at 5:37 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Hosting IronPython and IronRuby

Michael Foord: "An exploration of how to embed Dynamic Language Runtime engines into .NET applications (C# or VB.NET). It addresses topics like presenting an API from your application to user code, handling errors and how to interact with dynamic objects from a statically typed language." - This is pretty intriguing. I wondered aloud the other day about why you'd want to host things in a shell, but hosting the DLR interactively inside an application, hmmm sounds like SmallTalk, would be extremely cool.

This is the sort of thing guys like Adam Stone, or Chris Roth, would come to love in Visio. Heck, this is something I'd love to have time to work on myself.

I had begun to put a grammar together for a Visio specific language, for shape building, but haven't pursued it any further. It would've been hosted inside the DLR, which could then be hosted using these techniques. I'd still like to do it.

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Posted by Rob at 5:57 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

From the shell, why?

IronPython URLs: "He's posted before on this project, for example his hello world in C#, F# and IronPython article. This entry provides lots more examples (with huge screenshots), this time on using the Powershell and IronPython interactive interpreters to drive Visio" - It caught my eye because Visio was in the title. It's so funny to see guys driving things from the command line, awkward is a better word, but I can see a useful side to this, sort of. It would be a bit nicer if you hosted the shell inside of Visio and could script it interactively from there, in fact, I think that would be an extremely useful developer tool. You could try junk on the fly, fine tune, then write the real code to do the actual job. I like the idea, I really do.

Can you host the PowerShell inside of other applications, or maybe just the IronPython interactive shell would suffice? Hmmmmm, makes one wonder.

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Posted by Rob at 5:03 PM | 4 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

What to live in South Dakota? "Rather than looking for experience with a specific technology, we're looking for people with the proven ability to learn what they need to accomplish the task at hand. Right now we use Python, PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, Django, Javascript, C++, Qt, and .NET (C#), among other things, but this is always changing."

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IPy 2.0

Harry Pierson: "This is a very pretty sight. Itís a screenshot from the IronPython CodePlex home page showing that 2.0 is the 'current release'. Yes thatís right, dear reader, IronPython 2.0 has officially been released!" - The dynamic language guys have been doing a great job, we have IronPython, IronRuby, and the DLR thanks to them. Well done, and congratulations.

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Posted by Rob at 8:17 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

IronPython and Visual Studio

Harry Pierson: "We've hired a few people around here recently (including me obviously). However, if you have a burning desire to work on IronPython (or IronRuby) and Visual Studio, we're still hiring" - This is exactly what's needed to make IronPython and IronRuby really slick! Complete integration into the Visual Studio IDE. Make them first class citizens.

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Posted by Rob at 5:49 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Silverlight, IronRuby resources "There are other people that have blogged about silverlight and IronRuby before, it might be a good idea to check them out as well." - Tagged for later.

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Posted by Rob at 9:43 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

What the heck is a Vorby?

Vorby is a Google AppEngine Movie Quote site! How cool is that? Now I can link to it for Movie Line of the Week answers and you can hear the spoken word.

Very nice!

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Posted by Rob at 9:24 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


For some strange reason I started thinking about the Chandler Project this week and then I discover it's in a bit of trouble. That's too bad. Some folks are blaming it on Python? That's weird. I don't really think the choice of language would be a factor. I'd tend to agree with James Robertson, it comes down to Management allowing it to get out of control. You have to ship product, and I don't mean ship something riddled with bugs. I mean you have to sometimes pull back on your desired feature set and put that on the list for the next go 'round.

Ned Batchelder: "This is too bad, it was an ambitious and idealistic project, perhaps too much so. I don't really know what was going on over there."

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Posted by Rob at 11:30 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Django on Windows

Import This: "Back in April 2006, I wrote a HOWTO for installing Django on Windows (link). Since that time, that guide has become quite popular and linked from various places. Unfortunately some of the information in it has become outdated and so it was time to update it." - Ya know, I'm a bit surprised Django doesn't support MS-SQL Server? Anywho, this is something worth reading if you plan on working in a Windows environment.

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Posted by Rob at 8:42 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Windows losing ground with developers?

The Server Side.NET: "Microsoft is not dead, and it is not dying. Rather, the company's decline in market share is a runny nose." - I can definitely see this happening with the focus clearly on web based stuff. If you're doing client side applications Windows is pretty hard to beat, unless you're doing Mac applications, but the server side has a ton of dynamic language support with frameworks that allow folks to be highly productive and it's all free; Ruby + Rails, Python + Django, etc... On Windows we have those two plus we have ASP.NET and [insert your favorite .NET language here], but is that really an advantage? In short No. The real answer is Yes and No. For me it would be easier to use ASP.NET and C# because I already have experience with ASP.NET and C# is super easy to transition to because of my C/C++ background. Sure I could pickup Ruby and/or Python, but I'd need a bit of time to become as proficient with it as I am with C/C++. Who knows in the end it may be well worth my time to be a Ruby/Python dude, only time will tell.

Hey, have you looked at C#'s upcoming LINQ implementation? Check out Scott Guthrie's series on LINQ; Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. It's going to make life more productive for the C# developer, that for sure.

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Posted by Rob at 8:22 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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