An Excellent Collection of Node.js Links

Nodejs logoWant to learn more about Node.js, a topic I’ve frequently written about here? If so, a friend recently pointed me to an excellent collection of Node.js-related links compiled by Stanislav Stoyanov:

My Node.js Linksheet

(UPDATE 5 Mar 2013: It seems that the site may unfortunately no longer be available. In a quick search online I was unable to find any alternative sites hosting the document.)

It’s a great collection of companies, tools, games, platforms, frameworks and more all associated with Node.js. While Joyent also maintains a list of Node.js resources, this list from Stanislav Stoyanov contains many excellent pointers for those looking to learn more and get started with Node.js.

Great work!

O’Reilly Offers 50% Off On Git Ebook And Videos Through Feb 8th

Being a huge fan of the git version control system, I was pleased to see that O’Reilly is offering 50% off on their git-related videos and ebook. I haven’t seen the videos, but the “Version Control with Git” book is quite good. More info on O’Reilly’s site:

Oreilly git offer

P.S. I have no financial motivation to post this info, i.e. I am not being compensated through any kind of referral links or anything else. I just think this is an interesting offer to folks interested in learning more about git.

Node.js Project Leader Ryan Dahl Steps Down To Work On Research Projects

Node dot js logoCiting a desire to work on research projects after three years of focused work, Node.js creator and project leader Ryan Dahl sent out a message today that he will be “ceding
my position as gatekeeper to Isaac Schlueter”.
He stated:

I am still an employee at Joyent and will advise from the sidelines but I won’t be involved in the day-to-day bug fixes. Isaac has final say over what makes it into the releases. Appeals for new features, changes, and bug fixes should now be directed at him.

I’ve been a huge fan of Node.js and if you look at the tag cloud in the right sidebar you’ll see that “Node.js” stands out with the largest lettering and denoting the most posts written here. My post on “Node.js, Doctor’s Offices and Fast Food Restaurants – Understanding Event-driven Programming” remains one of the most visited posts on this blog. And I continue to routinely find new and interesting ways to work with node.js. I also learned a great bit from the various videos of Ryan’s presentations (such as this presentation).

Kudos to Ryan for creating Node.js and then taking it as far as he has. I can completely understand how after three years of rather intense work he wants and needs to pursue a different path. His departure is also a huge statement about the power of the Node.js community – and also of Joyent as a sponsor and employer of so many key Node.js developers – to continue the development of the language without the creator at the helm.

As just a random developer out there using Node.js, I certainly thank Ryan for all he’s done and wish him all the best in his new role!


UPDATE: Jolie O’Dell over at VentureBeat also has a nice post out about Ryan Dahl’s stepping down.

pythonlogo.jpg

Google’s Python Class Provides A Great Introduction

Want to learn python? It turns out that Google has put together a great series of lessons, videos and exercises that will help you get started quickly with using Python.  You can get to the courses at:

http://code.google.com/edu/languages/google-python-class/

Very cool to see. A hat tip to the Hacker News mention of a blog post from Hartley Brody where he pointed out Google’s site.

P.S. Google also has a C++ class and a range of other tutorials and presentations available from:

http://code.google.com/edu/languages/

New Github for Mac 1.1 Release Nov 23rd…

GitHubforMac

I just noticed yesterday that a new version of Github for Mac was released on November 23rd. The blog post about the 1.1 release highlights the major changes as:

  • The “Changes” view has been completely redesigned.
  • The ability from the GUI to commit individual lines of code.
  • A “Commit & Sync” feature so that you have just one step to get your code on Github (or wherever it is hosted).
  • Full screen support for Lion.
  • Tracking repositories if they are moved or renamed.

I’ve gone ahead and downloaded Mac for Github 1.1 and am looking forward to seeing how it works.

P.S. And yes, being perhaps old-skool, I mostly use the command line to work with git. But there are times when a GUI is nice, particularly when looking at changes between versions.

New version 0.1.3 of Tropo-webapi-python: Build Tropo voice/SMS/IM/Twitter apps using python

Tropo Logo

My former colleague Justin Dupree just posted a new version of the Tropo-webapi-python package to Pypi at:

http://pypi.python.org/pypi/tropo-webapi-python/

To install the package, assuming you have pip installed, you should be able to just type:

pip install tropo-webapi-python

and then you can get started building Tropo applications that use voice, SMS, IM or Twitter as channels to communicate with people. The documentation for the Tropo WebAPI provides a full explanation of the API and also sample applications. Samples are also provided in the distribution.

The “tropo-webapi-python” package lives on Github at:

https://github.com/tropo/tropo-webapi-python

and those of you wanting to live on the edge can simply clone the repository from Github and use it there.

I’ll also mention that at this point I’ve completely stepped away from the maintenance of this ‘tropo-webapi-python’ package (as I’m no longer with Voxeo) and Justin and the Voxeo Labs team are now maintaining the package.

Have fun with it! I definitely enjoy creating Tropo apps using python!

Unix Turns 40 – And IEEE Provides a Historical Look Back

Ieee spectrum

As the Unix operating system turns 40 this year, writer Warren Toomey published an excellent historical piece in this month’s IEEE spectrum:

The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix: The classic operating system turns 40, and its progeny abound

I’ve been using Unix myself in various forms since the mid-1980′s. Much of my time was, of course, spent in the land of Linux… but even now I’m writing this post on an operating system that evolved out of that early Unix work (Mac OS X).

It is very hard to understate the role that Unix has played in our technology history… and this post provides some nice stories from those early days.

Well worth a read… (I say while stroking my beard that is now definitely grey… :-)

The Google vs Amazon Platform Rant – A Must-Read From Steve Yegge

Google logo

What does Amazon.com do so much better than Google? And why does Amazon do everything “wrong” while Google does everything “right”… yet offer a better platform? How should you construct a “platform” so that everyone can use it?

If you are a developer, IT manager, product manager, system architect, product marketer, CTO or even a CEO, you really need to take a bit to read this “Mother of all Reply-All failures” that was written by Googler Steve Yegge and accidentally posted publicly back on October 12th. Steve pulled down his own posting of the rant, but it was re-posted to Google+ by Rip Rowan and also posted over to Hacker News. The long rant – and the comments on both sites – are worth a read:

It’s a LONG piece that gives some fascinating insight into both Amazon and Google as companies, but also into what it takes to be a “platform”.

A bit later, on October 21st, Steve Yegge posted an update indicating that he did not get fired and in fact people actually listened within Google. He also dove a bit more into Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos. And just this week he wrote a lengthy piece describing how amazing it is to work at Google, explaining a bit more about what he meant in his rant about how Google “does everything right”.

The original platform rant, though, should definitely be on a “must-read” list for people thinking about how their services could really be a “platform”…

P.S. Are we connected on Google+? If not, you can find my Google+ profile and add me to a circle…

Vim is 20 Years Old Today!

Amazing to read via Ars Technica that Vim is 20 years old today! In the proverbial “vi vs emacs” religious war, I’ve always come down firmly on the side of vi/vim…. but mainly because I started using vi 25+ years ago back in the mid-1980s when vi represented a quantum leap forward from “ed” and “ex”! :-)

I climbed the steep learning curve for vi/vim many years ago, wrote my .vimrc macros and continue to use it extensively even today. Of course, today on my Mac and Linux systems I’m using vim vs. actual “vi”.

The Ars Technica article has a great history of Vim and is well worth a read for those who use vim as their editor-of-choice. (And even for those who don’t…)

Vim

All Mobile Apps Developers (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, etc.) Need To Read Troy Hunt’s Post

As I mentioned on my Disruptive Telephony blog today, this post by Troy Hunt really should be mandatory reading for anyone developing applications for mobile platforms:

Secret iOS business; what you don’t know about your apps

Yes, his post is about Apple’s iOS, but I’m unfortunately rather confident that the results would be similar if someone were to do a similar analysis with a proxy server on apps on Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, WebOS and any other mobile platform.

These are application design problems.

As programmers, we all take “short cuts” from time to time… I’m as guilty of that as anyone… but sometimes those shortcuts have grave consequences.

Mobile developers need to read Troy’s piece… and then look at their own apps and see how they can change. Actions like:

  1. Securing the transport of login credentials! (DUH!!!)
  2. Not stuffing giant images down onto mobile devices when those images are going to be restyled in HTML to be tiny.
  3. Being wary about what info is gathered by apps – and also disclosing that to customers (and perhaps offering a way to opt out).

The list can go on… Troy’s article has other ideas in it, too… but the point is that in the rush to get a mobile app out there, some of these security and privacy issues (and bandwidth costs!) really do need some attention!