vendredi 3 juin 2016

JavaScript for Perl lovers.

Article originally published on Hello.js

This time I feel really qualified to write this article, because believe me, I love Perl ! I think in Perl, I dream in Perl, and I really appreciate the whole Perl community. I’ve been in love with this language for more than a decade but I decided that I needed a change.

I’ve already said in a previous article why I chose to learn JavaScript this year (instead of getting involved in Perl 6 for example) but let me tell you why you might also enjoy learning JavaScript if you love Perl. Perl developers form a very unified community that all too often, resist outside influences, but learning a secondary language as JavaScript can really be a very enlightening experience.

It’s expressive 

JavaScript, like Perl, is an expressive language. You get your work done with just a few lines of code. When talking about programming languages, I really like the tent analogy:

In a tent you have functional things (tent fabrics) whose purpose is to provide a function to the user (protect the user) and structural things (tent pegs) whose purpose is only to provide a structure to make the functional things “work”.

The same goes for a programming language, one part of the syntax serves the function and another part of the syntax serves the structure.

Perl and JavaScript and the other expressive languages minimize the structural part, whereas some other languages require more structural code like Ada, Java for example.

It gets the job done 

With a gazillion of available modules, you can do everything from highly dynamic Web pages, networking code, command line tools, daemons, desktop to phone applications. JavaScript right now is on a roll, it’s both a front end and a back end language through node.js and with the existent frameworks and libraries it goes as far as robotics. It’s powerful and practical. You can do a lot of things with it, quite easily.

There is more than one way to do it 

Let’s state it, I love diversity, I love choice.
Of course I felt overwhelmed at first when I delved into the JavaScript tools, but that was more the discomfort of learning a whole new ecosystem than a real issue. I’m still a programmer at heart and in mind, I think like a programmer no matter the language that I’m using, it’s only a matter of adapting to syntax and structure.

If I wanted for the “one best way to do it”, I probably would have gone for Python.

You’re at home 

  • Like CPAN? get NPM.
  • Use closure, functional programming, asynchronous programming, OOP? JavaScript has it all!
  • You think that blessing is a bit curious but an efficient way to achieve Object Oriented Programming? You’ll love prototypal inheritance.
  • Want more? What about an open and heterogeneous community, an efficient interpreter, lot of tooling (tests, modules, frameworks)

You don’t blindly follow the pack 

Remember all the silly things you’ve heard about Perl?
Imagine, just for one moment, that the same goes for JavaScript:

  • What if the language isn’t that slow?
  • What if the language enables you to produce quality software?
  • What if the quirk of the syntax (callback hell, hoisting etc) can now be managed?
  • What if the language enables you to code everything and not just Web Page animations?

Why don’t you check by yourself, you might well be surprised.

Vitality 

I don’t subscribe to the Perl is dying trend (In fact I think the contrary), I believe in Perl as a powerful and important language in the developing world. I’m not abandoning my Perl roots by learning JavaScript, I’m just growing as a programmer.
But, I must there are advantages here, the JavaScript crowd is bigger, and although that’s by no means a criteria of quality to me, it is an opportunity to meet even more interesting people or discover new paradigms/tools/ideas.

Conclusion 

I hope I’ve presented plenty of reasons to at least make you take into consideration that you might love JavaScript as much as you love Perl. In any case don’t take my word for it, give JavaScript a try.
Next time, I’d like to get into the details and talk about code, if there are some area that you’d like to be covered, don’t hesitate to comment; Your feedback/suggestions are welcome.

dimanche 22 mai 2016

Why Javascript in 2016 ?

Many of my friends express their surprise when I say I chose to learn JavaScript in 2016.

With so many cool languages to learn, why using a "toy language" of the past instead of, let's say Haskell, Go, Nimrod, Rust (just to name some)?

First and foremost, for me it's not as much as learning JavaScript in 2016 as learning a new language in 2016. But whatever your reasons : not become fossilized, improve your efficiency with new tricks/paradigms/tools or just plain fun you'll probably feel the urge to learn a new language sooner or later.
This bring us back to the question why JavaScript in 2016?

Reason to choose JavaScript

Ubiquity

It could be handy to be able to do everything in one unique language (from command line tools, front-end Web dev,  server coding, phone applications to robots programming) and JavaScript now allows that. That wasn't the case before but with node/express/commander/ionic/cylon.js (to name few) you'll have all your needs covered.
Data mining, 3D display, efficient network agents, whatever the task, you can do it efficiently in JavaScript.

Marketability

Every study will tell the same story: Javascript developers are on high demand, and the demand is growing.
  • CodingDojo list Javascript as the 3rd top requested language.
  • Bloc.io give interesting figures on the growth.
  • ...
This makes JavaScript an excellent skill to possess.

Community

When learning, the community is as much important as the technology studied.
I find in the Javascript community the same things I've learnt to love in the Perl community : efficient tools, diversity, an unorthodox/innovative/open/somewhat messy but pragmatic approach.
This community is easily reachable through the numerous quality blog and sites :

Ecosystem

You could evaluate a language ecosystem by many ways but let's consider the JavaScript ecosystem by it's users base and by its language central repository.

The site modulecounts lists NPM as the first module repository whatever the language (be it for total modules count or average growth) and even if some things are to be improved, npm offer a really easy way to manage/reuse the impressive JavaScript's modules list.

Concerning the users base, a github study on languages (2015)  place Javascript as the top language.

That is just numbers of course, but whatever the criterion you choose, chances are that the Javascript's community will score well against all the other languages.

Innovation

Although not as disruptive for your coding habits as another language (like Haskell) could be.
JavaScript brings many things to play with and extend your confort zone.
Want to play with asynchronicity (would be a good Idea if you still haven't done so in 2016 ;-) )? What about trying promises?
Want to try functionnal programming? Check Ramda or Immutable.
Love to explore new Web paradigm? I suppose things like React / Flux or Koa might interest you.
With the language itself being in constant improvement and the use of transpilers, even the syntax evolves regularly.

Tools

That's another area where JavaScript shines. As a developer, having  many configurable linters (JSHint, ESLint...), transpilers (Babel), test libraries/frameworks (Jasmine, Mocha, Chai, PhantomJS...), task runners (Grunt, Gulp) enable you to enforce good practices, better code quality/consistency and globally speed up langage learning.

Vitality

For some the abundance of choice and constant change may be daunting.
But if you're not among them, be prepared, with JavaScript, to explore a world where there are always plenty of new options and no consensus on the "best" tools to use.
New tools/projects pop up faster than you can list them and issues tend to be solved in no time.

Conclusion

If you're embracing change, 2016 could be the perfect time to learn JavaScript.
I hope this article gave you enough information to convince you. In all cases, don't hesitate to comment and give your feedback.





mercredi 18 mai 2016

Migration dans la simplicité.

Après une mise à jour de mon système je me suis retrouvé avec un postgresql 9.5 flambant neuf (et vide) ! et une version 9.3 encore en place avec toutes mes bases dedans.

Mais moi je veux toutes mes bases dans la 9.5 et pas de 9.3.

Modification du Port à 5433 dans /etc/postgresql/9.3/main/postgresql.conf et 5432 dans /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/postgresql.conf

Un petit redémarrage en tant que root

root@vault:~# pg_ctlcluster 9.3 main restart
Redirecting restart request to systemctl
root@vault:~# pg_ctlcluster 9.5 main restart
Redirecting restart request to systemctl

Une copie simplissime en tant qu'utilisateur 'postgres' :

postgres@vault:~$ pg_dumpall -p 5433 | psql -d postgres -p 5432

Un peu de nettoyage

root@vault:~# pg_ctlcluster 9.3 main stop
Redirecting stop request to systemctl
root@vault:~# pg_dropcluster 9.3 main

Et voila toutes mes bases migrées...

J'adore PostgreSQL !