Roads Less Taken

A blend of programming, boats and life.

Oak

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In a customer project right now I need to be able to work and evolve code fast, with a relatively complex model. And by fast I mean that I want to cut away as much as possible of the efforts related to persistence. Generally this is what OODBs excel at.

In the Squeak world we have GemStone (commercial), GOODS and Magma as “full fledged” OODBs. Last century :) I worked with GemStone (both Gemstone/S and /J) and its a great product - but I want something lightweight and open source. And simple. And hackable. And new. :)

I also used Magma in the Gjallar project, and while I respect it highly - this time I want to try something with an “externally supported backend”. I also had a mixed performance experience, but this was “pre Cog” and Magma has also surely evolved lots since then, and I am not sure we did everything the way we should have either.

SandstoneDB could also be interesting to look more closely at, but since I have been working with Nicolas Petton on improving Phriak (Riak interface for Pharo) it was natural to take a look at one of his “under the radar” projects - Oak, an “OODBish” solution on top of Riak. At this point I have been doing much more than looking, in fact I am hacking on it! And oh, yeah, of course there are lots more persistence options available too.

Moved From Wordpress to Octopress

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So… I kinda got tired of Wordpress. A bit too much for me, I want something more lightweight that “just works”. I also stumbled over some blog that had just moved over to Octopress and made it sound like “da shit” for coders. So be it! And so far so good.

In short I did an XML export from inside Wordpress admin, created an account on Disqus, added the disqus plugin for Wordpress, exported over all comments, then “git cloned” Octopress onto my laptop, used exitwp (from github) to migrate my XML file from Wordpress, used rsync deploy over to my server and adjusted config in Octopress to use disqus (and thus pick up all old comments).

Yeah, that’s about it. :)

Literal Arrays vs JSON vs STON vs Tirade

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Recently there were a range of threads on the pharo-dev mailinglist discussing the textual format to use for Smalltalk source code metadata. The discussion veered off from the specific use case but basically four different formats were discussed and compared, of which one I am the author. And oh, sorry for the formatting of this article - I need to change theme on this blog for better readability.

Going Lenovo…

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When I started my own company about a year ago I ended up buying an ASUS G73JW gaming laptop - I took a deliberate decision to focus on raw power for decent money and totally ignoring portability. Generally it has served me well, although it does tend to make a lot of fan noise, at least under Ubuntu. It might work smoother in Windows, but I seldom boot into Windows.

Needless to say though it is a real ton of bricks (8.8 lbs = 4 kg) and including the truly fat power supply it simply weared my back down during 2011. I have been carrying this beast in a backpack every day - and my body eventually said “enough dammit!”. :)

Current Smalltalk Obsessions…

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These days I am, as usual, torn between several interesting technical projects.

Amber

The new Smalltalk called Amber (by Nicolas Petton) that compiles to javascript is pretty awesome and there are tons of interesting things one can do with it. My contributions so far include the beginning of a package model, a faster simpler chunk format exporter/importer, a command line compiler, a Makefile system so that Amber can be built fully from the command line and a bunch of examples running on top of Nodejs and webOS, and a few other odds and ends.