Development

This Week in Programming: Do You Really Even Code, Though?

24 Feb 2018 6:00am, by

Alright, TGIF, amirite!? It’s the weekend and it’s time to get down to brass tacks and really let loose!

So, see you at the hackathon on Saturday, of course? What about the Kotlin meetup? Ooooh, and there’s that co-working thing on Sunday evening, you’ll be there right? Or maybe we can hang out at a coffee shop and work on this side project I got going on — you have some time to take a look at it? What new languages have you been learning lately, anyways?

Whaddaya mean, “no”?

Sure enough, the pressure to work long hours, to be part of the team, to have a real “passion” for your work, is nothing new — but perhaps it’s taken on a new, insidious form in recent years. You’re no longer just a “programmer,” you’re a “code ninja” and a “rock star” and you’re really “crushing it.” You’re expected to not just work long hours, but live and breathe your job — code is life.

Or maybe not. As Ben Halpern over at The Dev Community writes this week, it’s perfectly fine to only code at work, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

People “put a lot of pressure on one-another and there are a lot of competitive, unhealthy environments that cause us a lot of pain. We also each have different personal contexts which ultimately guide our lives a lot more than 1’s and 0’s,” Halpern writes. “If you want to code in your spare time, go for it, but this career is an absolute marathon and being able to take yourself away from your computer more often is a strength as far as I’m concerned.”

And as for all those questions above, they aren’t made up, per se, but rather examples of things I remember hearing on a constant basis during my brief stint being a tech writer living in the depths (or edges, even) of Silicon Valley. And all I really wanted was to take some time to gather my thoughts, go for a bike ride and stare at nature with friends.

I don’t know about you, but I’m with Halpern. Be a “code ninja” and a “rock star” on your own terms. You can “crush it” after you get done living life as you please and clock back in tomorrow.

This Week in Programming

  • Don’t Touch That npm v5.7.0 Update: Hopefully, you weren’t one of the unlucky who suffered at the hands of a botched npm update that crashed Linux systems, changing essential system file and folder permissions, and forcing you to reinstall from scratch. Node Package Manager (npm) is a widely-used JavaScript package manager and the bug was hiding in last week’s v5.7.0 release. For the full details and drama, be sure to check out the GitHub bug report. As quoted in the Bleeping Computer story, Jared Tiala writes that the bug occurs when running npm under sudo as a non-root user, changing crucial permissions — “It appears that the ownership is recursively changed to the user currently running npm.” npm v5.7.1 has now been released, addressing the issue, but now is a good time to make sure you’re up to date.
  • Go 1.1 Brings Automatic Caching & More: Version 1.10 of Go, your favorite Google-backed, compiled, statically-typed programming language, has been released, with the big news being “that the go tool now does automatic caching of build & test results.” Currently available for download, the full release notes detail the myriad changes, which are generally in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries. In summary, “this release improves caching of built packages, adds caching of successful test results, runs vet automatically during tests, and permits passing string values directly between Go and C using cgo.” And hey, if you are one of those people who really enjoys coding after hours (that’s quite okay, too!) you might be interested in finding out if one of the many release parties is nearby.
  • JupyterLab IDE Arrives in Beta: In recent times, we’ve seen a lot of collaborative interactivity coming into play in the integrated development environment (IDE) world – think of shared environments and collaborative coding with Visual Studio or Atom. And to that end, a beta version of JupyterLab is ready for users to use on the daily. JupyterLab is a web-based IDE for Jupyter Notebooks, a core focus of Project Jupyter, which “exists to develop open-source software, open standards, and services for interactive and reproducible computing.” First introduced in 2011, Jupyter Notebooks (formerly called iPython) enable users “to create and share documents that combine live code with narrative text, mathematical equations, visualizations, interactive controls, and other rich output.” These notebooks now support more than 100 programming languages and more than 1.7 million public Jupyter notebooks are hosted on GitHub. If you haven’t yet, take a gander at the JupyterLab documentation for installation instructions and a walk-through, or try JupyterLab with Binder. JupyterLab 1.0 is slated for later this year.
  • Atlassian’s Stride Opens API To All: This one is for all of you looking to get in on the chatbot gold rush. While Slack certainly still leads the overall pack, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to look to the big competitors, and Stride, Atlassian’s Slack competitor, has just opened its API to all developers. After all, Techcrunch calls Stride “probably the company’s biggest launch of 2017.” According to Techcrunch, more than 1,000 developers had signed up for early access to the API and “tens of thousands of teams” use the chat client, which is “not exactly at the same level of Slack, which has more than 6 million active users, or Microsoft Teams, which is now in use by more than 125,000 teams, but it shows that there’s some momentum behind the platform.”
  • GitHub Says Adios to Anonymous Gists: The gist of this news bite is this: as of March 19, 2018, Github will no longer allow anonymous gist creation. Gists are a simple way to share single files, parts of files, or full applications, “but as the only way to create anonymous content on GitHub, they also see a large volume of spam.” Thus, they will only be able to be created by those with an account, whether via the web or API.
  • Sign Up Now For F8: Facebook’s developer conference, F8, is now open for registration. The conference, held May 1 and 2 in San Jose, CA at the McEnery Convention Center, will host more than 5,000 members of the Facebook global community and include your standard fare of keynotes, sessions, and likely mega parties. As the post notes, space is limited, so apply today — or sign up to see the keynote livestreams.
  • On Using Unpopular Programming Languages: While we spend a decent amount of time here, and in the tech press in general, focusing on which languages, tools, frameworks, what have you, are popular, this particular blog post discusses the author’s journey leaving the beaten path and instead using an unpopular language instead. “I had a hard and fast rule: if I found two technologies that could solve a problem, I would choose the one more people were using,” they write. “I didn’t want to include an obscure graphics API and then discover that no one had ever called set_color() followed by resize_window() (resizing is hard) and somehow those two functions in sequence cause a segfault. I don’t want to be the guy that finds a bug in the compiler. I just need to ship the product.” In the end, however, using the Elm programming language changed their whole outlook on using unpopular languages. “For the first few weeks, I was skeptical. But then, about my third time running through the Elm guide, the architecture finally clicked in my head. I got it. Wow. This is way better than Javascript. I can look at the code and predict its behavior, edge cases and all, with certainty.”

Feature image via Pixabay.

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