Which should you use for a distributed version control system (DVCS) – git or mercurial? That was the question taken up recently by two opposing blog posts on Atlassian’s blog:
Admittedly this is a bit of a “religious” issue with adherents on either side being extremely passionate about the topic. In my own case, my writing here (as well as my Github account) definitely show that I fall down on the side of git… but I’m also always interested to learning more about the various tools.
The two blog posts are written by passionate advocates for each tool and so naturally have that flavor. Regardless, they make for interesting reading. I don’t see myself switching to Mercurial any time soon… but it’s interesting to see the pros and cons of each. We still don’t have the “perfect” tool… but will we ever?
Given that I started working with version control systems back when RCS was the only option I had… and then CVS was a huge step forward… and then SVN was viewed as excellent… all I can say is that we’ve come a loooonnngg way and it’s greatto see both git and mercurial out there.
P.S. I should note that both of these articles are part of Atlassian’s “DVCS Guide” that has some other useful pieces about why distributed version control systems are worth investigating and using.
Interesting to see that the White House is sponsoring its first ever code sprint… from the announcement back on April 2nd:
Today we’re announcing the first ever White House Code Sprint. This is a call to developers around the country to use the Summer Jobs+ API to build job search apps for your favorite browsers, social networking platforms, smart phones and feature phones. Submit your apps using this form by Monday April 16th at 8 a.m. EST, and we’ll pick the most innovative ones to feature on WhiteHouse.gov.
The Code Sprint web page says a little bit more:
The White House and the Department of Labor have just released an API opening access to thousands of summer internships, training and mentorships opportunities through their Summer Jobs+ Bank. We’re challenging the developer community to build apps that reach kids throughout the nation on their browsers, Facebook, Android, iOS, SMS or any other platform.
This is the first ever White House Code Sprint and we’re excited to see what innovative apps you build over the next seven days. There is no ideal app, but keep in mind that our goal is to share opportunities in our job bank with as many youth as possible.
It’s good to see the White House seeking to tap into the energy and passion of the developer community… I don’t personally have the time to participate in this event, but I hope they do get some interesting application submissions. My one comment is that they didn’t allow much time… they issued the notice on April 2nd with a deadline, then, of April 9th. Not much time to publicize it and get interest… but we’ll see.
If you are interested, the deadline has been extended to this coming Monday, April 16th.
Want 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.
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:
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.
Citing 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.
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:
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:
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.
My former colleague Justin Dupree just posted a new version of the Tropo-webapi-python package to Pypi at:
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:
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!
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…
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…