Java, C#, Groovy, Ruby, Python

Is the question "which" or "which ones"?

I am a member of a local user group that exclusively pitches Ruby as the savior of all things linguistic. I had made a strategic decision to learn Groovy instead because it integrates better into my primary language, Java.

This has worked pretty well for me up to now with a couple of jobs getting groovyized nicely.

Well, Chris Nelson, mentioned something to me a few user groups ago that just sunk in today. An extension to the logic of why I chose Groovy.

If we assume the future is a combination of the best of today. Perhaps a tenuous bet but I am an optimist. Then we have to assume that a VM is the correct runtime environment for future systems. This knocks out c-Ruby from the running.

If we think that dynamically typed languages win over statically typed languages then we have to choose Python, Ruby or Groovy as the most blogged about at the moment. I am completely sold on dynamic languages and have been for years.

I asked Chris why he choose JRuby/Rails over Groovy/Grails since he is a Java developer from long back (Trails). He answered, "It's a different language".

My first impression was that Ruby was a different language as well so what's your point. Then today, while reading Charles Nutter's response to Ola's IronRuby post it occurred to me that the language Ruby is key for the simple reason that it is likely to be the first multi-vm language and already represents the best of what a dynamic language can offer.

Based on this there is one choice, quit groovy, learn Ruby in what ever form and the runtime environment will follow.

Did anyone notice how I dropped python so fast? Dynamically typed and runs on JVM (Jython) and CLR (IronPython) today but I hate tabs :-)

Unfortunately, the question is "which ones". Things move to fast to play just one pipe.


Standup Meetings, for Accountability not Communication

We Agile folks like out stand-up meetings but when asked why we do it we usually start talking about communication being a core principle.

A recent project involved a customer that was tentatively interested in Agile so started doing stand-ups. When it came to a month or so before my departure I stopped leading to help encourage the team to take ownership of the new processes that they had been learning.

The first thing that went was the stand-up meetings and the result of this lead me to the decision that we don't stand-up for communication. The best reason for stand-up meetings is to force every programmer to prove that they are working to the plan instead of just working.

This forces plan driven work which is prioritized and focused. My customer quickly descended back into panic driven work with programmers being approached by QA reps telling them of the latest problem and urging them into action. The plan was forgotten.

The chatter and sharing is nice and there are certainly other benefits to stand-ups but from a management perspective we do this to ensure that we are driving accountability for everything that we do each day.

The shorter iterations of Agile drive accountability to the customer. The daily discussion on what we are focusing on drives programmers accountability to themselves and their team.


Star Wars ! What really happened after the Deathstar blew up

This is really funny.

[snipped old dead version]

The moral of this story that before long everything will be a copy. Thanks for the comment Mr Anonymous.

The yahoo version is still active.


TIP: Dos Sleep

I needed a batch file to sleep between starting up a couple of processes but dos doesn't support sleep. Google found me this result which gave me the idea but their solution is wrong.

The actual answer is this:

ping -n 1 -w 10000 > nul
In this case we are pinging a non-existent IP address, once, and timing out in 10000 milliseconds.

Of coarse you could pop this into a sleep.bat to centralize it
cd c:\windows\system32
copy con sleep.bat
@echo off
ping -n 1 -w %1% > nul
Now you can just type "sleep 5000" to sleep for 5 seconds.

The actual resolution of this timer is one second or more. Any number less than one second is going to end up with a 1 second'ish delay.

The cost of this is one network ping with a standard 32 byte payload. The total message is 74 bytes on a Windows XP machine. This is low cost for a couple of sleeps in your program. If you want to do this all the time then you may want a less hackey solution.

The better solution might be to use the Windows Resource Kit which includes a sleep.exe command.


Speed of Time

If you could set the speed of time,
how long would it take you to change it.