I seriously considered calling this “confessions of a lapsed professional software developer”. Back between 1995 and 2008 I was a professional developer, first with Nortel Networks and then Symbian and Nokia. I cut my teeth on Sinclair BASIC and then Modula-2 at university before 12 years of C and C++ for a living before being tempted away to the heady heights of change management and currently business analysis.
Back then, if you were developing a piece of software its highly likely that its interface to the outside world would be via one of four methods: complicated windowing system (X-Windows), the command line, writing to a file or via an API (not http APIs, think CORBA).
Skip another few years and, again, I have a nice list of projects that I’d like to code up. PHP seems to be significantly out of favour so I looked into what are the current most popular languages. Well, scripting language are still in vogue – especially Python and Ruby. Neither of them is drastically dissimilar to things I’ve learned before so I was pleased to find that I could learn each of them in no more than a few days.
As an aside – I run a code-club at my work where the folks taking part are currently learning Ruby. We’ve got past the bits on variables, arithmetic, loops and conditionals so now they know enough to write any program :-). I’m adding in some useful bits like file access, data structures, etc. Naturally, the students want to build websites. I don’t know what to say to them. For me, the step-up from Ruby to Rails feels so big that I’m not sure what to advise them.
So, perhaps all this is just because I’m old and stuck in my ways :-). I’m used to writing relatively stand-alone programs and not starting out by planning how I’m going to build my MVC structures. Probably what I need is someone with some experience of Rails to walk me through how to do the basics and then answer my future questions. Currently I’m left looking at the 5cm thick Rails book (compared to the <1 cm ‘K&R C’ book – my best ever purchase) or another impenetrable online tutorial.
Any volunteers will be very gratefully accepted.
But I’m still going to hate CSS.