E-Scribe News : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Backstory: In the 1990s I did graphic design for newspapers and magazines. Then I wrote technology commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon.com, Chicago Tribune, and lots of little places you've never heard of. Then I taught photographers how to create good websites. I co-wrote a book (see below) along the way. Current story: I am helping turn a giant media corporation into a digital enterprise. Feel free to email me.

Book

I'm co-author of "Python Web Development with Django", an excellent guide to my favorite web framework. Published by Addison-Wesley, it is available from Amazon and your favorite technical bookstore as well.

Colophon

Built using Django, served by Apache and mod_wsgi. The database is SQLite. The operating system is FreeBSD, on a VPS hosted at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet. Vintage topo imagery from the Maptech archive. The markup engine is Markdown.

Pile o'Tags

Stuff I Use

bitbucket, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, Markdown, Mercurial, OS X, Python, Review Board, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, Ubuntu Linux

Spam Report

At least 220673 pieces of comment spam killed since January 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Required reading: Steve Yegge

If you frequent any online programmer haunts you may have already been exposed to the writings of Steve Yegge, a former Amazon.com software developer and a technical ranter par excellence. Yegge has re-published his rants, most of which were originally written for an internal audience of developers at Amazon, to the web at large. He urges people not to take them too seriously, but there's a lot of truth in them. Oh, and they're wickedly funny.

Update: I just came across a multi-language comparison Yegge did last year, sort of like my recent "Reverse" project except that 1) the languages all run on the JVM and 2) the game is a much more substantial program (500 lines or so).

Yesterday I nominated one of Yegge's essays for inclusion in the next volume of Joel Spolsky's The Best Software Writing, and saw that Spolsky himself had picked one out too -- so it's a pretty sure bet that you'll be reading Steve Yegge in the book when it comes out.

Here's just a taste, from "Tour de Babel":

Familiarity breeds contempt in most cases, but not with computer languages. You have to become an expert with a better language before you can start to have contempt for the one you're most familiar with.

So if you disagree with me about C++, go become an expert at a better language (I recommend Lisp), and then you'll be armed to disagree with me. You won't, though. I'll have tricked you. You won't like C++ anymore, and you might be irked that I tricked you into disliking your ex-favorite language. So maybe you'd better just forget about all this. C++ is great. Really. It's just ducky. Forget what I said about it. It's fine.

Monday, March 6th, 2006
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