Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Old Archives


Thu, 12 Jun 2008

Look Ma, No Server-Side!

When I launched the sexy page, I decided that it would only serve static HTML and JavaScript. I thought it would be an interesting constraint that would help me break out of my server-side tendencies. So I mashed in a Google Calendar and a badge that shows the latest posts from our Google Group. I was happy with how easy this was.

And then we launched Polyglot Programmers of Chicago and had our first meeting. Being the lazy organizer that I am, I didn't ask anyone to RSVP and we ended up ordering too much pizza and stocked too much beer. I pondered aloud at a recent Obtiva geekfest about my need for an RSVP system without any server-side dependency and Renzo suggested we use Twitter. Coming off of a couple weeks of obsessive Twitter hacking, I was keen to try it. (The Twitter API is a programmer's playground, add a <canvas> tag, and it's a programmer's amusement park.) So I hacked together our RSVP system in 10 lines of client-side code. First, I provided the link to submit the RSVP:

<a target="_blank" href="">RSVP to this meeting via Twitter</a>
Then, I read the RSVP's:
<script type="text/javascript">
function rsvp(json) {
	var confirmed = document.getElementById("rsvp")
	for (var i = 0; i < json.results.length; i++) {
		confirmed.innerHTML += '<img src="' + json.results[i].profile_image_url + '" /> <a href="' + json.results[i].from_user +  '">' + json.results[i].from_user + "</a><br />"
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
You'll notice I used Summize, which sits on top of Twitter and provides an excellent service for searching through Tweets in real-time. It's funny, when I code stuff like this I feel like I'm cheating. It's freeing to only need to think about the client-side and let the service providers worry about the rest.

[/polyglot] permanent link

Tue, 03 Jun 2008

Polyglot Programming as opposed to Polyglot Programmers

I've needed to clarify something about this polyglot meme to people a few times and I thought it would be a good idea to state it publicly. There's really not much to it, but I think it's important.

There is a difference between polyglot programming and a polyglot programmer.

Ola just wrote another great layers of languages post, and I want to make it clear that he's talking about polyglot programming. I also want to make it clear that I am excited about what he's proposing, and after watching Dean's talk last month, it's also clear to me that this sort of thing is not some hot new trend, it has been going on for decades. But we should understand that polyglot programming could potentially be done by a team of single-language specialists working together to create a multi-language system.

A polyglot programmer is someone who could single-handedly create a multi-language system. A polyglot programmer is someone who might choose a single language for an entire system, and they will be more likely than a specialist to pick a language that suits the problem domain. They might program in a single language for a whole year, and then easily set aside that language and pick up a previous one. I believe that polyglot programming is best accomplished with polyglot programmers. I also believe that it's important for more of us programmers to become polyglot programmers, which is why I helped start the polyglot programmers user groups.

Like I said, there's not much to this, but I think it's an important distinction to make as the meme continues to spread.

[/polyglot] permanent link

Sat, 05 Apr 2008

Polyglot Programmers User Groups

I'm excited to announce the birth of a user group focused on exposing programmers to many different languages and providing a place for programmers to learn how to fit different languages together. Inspired by Neal Ford, Ola Bini, and our own experiences as language-agnostic programmers, Fredrick Polgardy, Tyler Jennings, and I are launching the Polyglot Programmers User Groups. Have a look!

[/polyglot] permanent link

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