Friday, February 3, 2012

How do I Buffer? Also doing a haml tutorial

So tonight I've been working through this tutorial on haml, working on converting Chorenivore from .erb to .haml view files. Everything's going pretty well so far, but I'm having more trouble than I thought since I'm still learning Emacs.

I've been pretty sorely tempted to just install Textmate or Sublime Text, in order to reduce the number of things that are giving me difficulty, but I did promise Gordon and the other Expected Behavior guys that I'd give Emacs a shot. Four days does not qualify as giving Emacs a shot, you lazy programmer!

I'm going to do some more work with haml tomorrow (kind of funny to think that learning how to use it won't be nearly as difficult as learning how to effectively use the buffer in Emacs is proving to be) and I'd like to take a look at the new version of Twitter Bootstrap that came out this week.

So far I'm enjoying CODETOBER. If nothing else, the guilt of not coding and blogging is prompting me to code and blog more. It's also not as structured as I'd imagined it at first. It hasn't been DAY 1: HAML, DAY 2: CUCUMBER by any means, but as long as I'm doing new things, learning how things work and blogging about it, I think I'm on the right track. And it's definitely a good idea to work on things I use for Expected Behavior work, such as Emacs, haml, sass and Twitter Bootstrap.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Work with Emacs, Plus HAML and Sass

Today I began to get more comfortable using Emacs, and while it still feels foreign, it no longer feels completely foreign. I also appreciate that a lot of Emacs shortcuts are used in many other programs, so something like C-E is applicable outside of Emacs.

We do a lot of pair programming at Expected Behavior, and my buddy today was Joel. We did some design work, which introduced me to haml and sass. These are both things I've been wanting to look into for a while, and I think today was pretty productive.

Honestly, haml and sass aren't that difficult for me to grasp. haml's way pickier about how things are indented than most other languages I've used, but it's easy enough to pick up. Sass is very similar, and messing around with any kind of design always makes me want to do more design.

It feels a bit overwhelming to be learning so many new things at once (Emacs, mostly, but also haml, sass and using Git for source control) but it's also really gratifying and a ton of fun. It's not about being the best programmer in the world. It's about being the best programmer you can be, and getting better every day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Beginner's View on Emacs

So first off, I was hired by Expected Behavior this week. I'd been doing some SEO and marketing consulting work with these guys for a while, and this is a fantastic opportunity. I'm excited about working with such a talented group of guys.

A great deal of my first week has been getting this computer set up and doing right. It's already been named Pazuzu, continuing my trend of naming my computers after famous demons, and also a delicious reference to the Exorcist.

That said, Expected Behavior is an Emacs shop. So I thought a great first post for CODETOBER would be about how I got my feet wet with Emacs.

For a long time, I really didn't understand why programmers preferred one text editor over another. But now I'm getting it. My understanding of Emacs so far is it's a text editor (as well as virtual machine, compiler, debugger, and so on and so forth) with a fanatical insistence on efficiency. If you ever leave home row, you're doing it wrong.

My initial impression? I was intimidated by Emacs, not only by the learning curve (which I understand is steep) but also by its reputation. But I don't want to be put off just because Emacs is 40 years old and doesn't work the way text editors I'm more familiar with do. If I can get past this steep ass learning curve, think of how POWERFUL I will become!

I haven't done much with Emacs so far, but my goal for this week is to get a few basic commands memorized: opening files, saving files, going to a certain line, etc. I estimate there are probably around 10 to 15 command I'll definitely use a lot of the time. Then I plan to expand the commands I've memorized, and we'll take it from there.

I also understand my friend Miles is using Emacs this month, even though he's a Vim guy. Let's all use Emacs, all the time!