Posts in which I hoped to teach and/or learn something, usually computer-related.
Oct 2, 2009 (Updated Apr 12, 2011)
This is part 6 of Parrot Babysteps, my ongoing Parrot PIR tutorial.
This one’s a bit more bloggy than the earlier steps, but that’s just the mood I was in when writing it. You can ignore the commentary and focus on the code if that’s your preference.
Sep 17, 2009 (Updated Jul 21, 2010)
This is part 4 of Parrot Babysteps, my ongoing Parrot PIR tutorial.
Jul 11, 2009 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
Nice work! You have begun to learn Perl by writing a complete program which gets input from a user and prints output including a modified version of their input. Yes, there is much more to learn, but you have dipped your toes into the pool. Now you can go out there and start learning about the huge and wild world of Perl programming!
May 5, 2009 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
Having a program that displays the exact same message every time you run is nice when it comes to being consistent, but not so entertaining as a program. “What does it do?” “It prints out my name.” “Oh.” Let’s make things a little more interesting. We could change the value of
$namein the code, but it might be a little tiresome to do this before showing it to each new person. How about making the program ask for a name? User interaction - a neat idea.
Jun 14, 2007 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
This is Part 3 of an ongoing series about writing interactive fiction games in Python. By the end of Part 2 we had created a text-based user interface and explored one way of storing multiple scenes. This part will finally bring the needed glue for the player to move between all of the scenes in the story. In other words, we’ll have a game!
Apr 20, 2007 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
This is the second part of an ongoing series about using Python to create interactive fiction. I hope to show you one fun use of Python while teaching you more about the basics of this language. We started by defining how our game was going to work and creating a set of scenes for play. Next we wrote the code to handle a single round of the game. Today we are going to tie all of our scenes together to make a complete, playable game of interactive fiction. We are going to approach it from an experimental view, playing with different approaches until we find one that makes us happy. Well, one that makes me happy.
Apr 19, 2007 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
I think the next step is to write the code for a single round of the game. We’ll limit ourselves to Scene 1 to stay focussed.
Mar 17, 2006 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
A mountain of standards and specifications have piled on top of XML over the years, but the core language is still pretty easy to get started in. Because it is a markup language rather than a programming language, there aren’t as many new concepts to learn. If you’ve learned HTML in the past, then XML will be familiar.
Mar 7, 2005 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
Now we know how to do things, and we know how to choose whether or not we will do something. We’re getting close to having some real skills. We just need to get the understanding of one more concept before we reach the first little plateau of programming knowledge. We need to learn how to do a task more than once. Well, besides just running the script again, but that doesn’t really count.
Feb 28, 2005 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
One thing you like to keep track of on your laptop is how much juice is left in your battery. There’s nothing quite like being in the middle of some insane hacking session and watching as the computer suddenly gets tired and blacks out on you. Of course, I’ve already got a handy battery monitor in my KDE panel, but what if I’m not in KDE? Okay, okay, there are handy battery monitors for nearly every desktop environment out there. That’s not my point, though. My point is that I’d like to explore some basic system stuff using REBOL on an Ubuntu 8.10 system. Got it? Okay, good. Now that we’ve settled this little detail, let’s move on.
Feb 27, 2005 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
In part 1 I gave you a first cautious glance at the REBOL programming language. In part 2 I extended that glance to a peek at the excellent REBOL/View GUI library. Let’s continue learning how to program with Rebol. Today I want to get you started with some structured programming by introducing you to selection structures. Selection structures make it possible to decide whether or not to do something based on a test. Here are a few uses for a simple selection structure.
Jan 4, 2005 (Updated Aug 25, 2011)
Let’s admit it. Perl is everywhere. It powers most of the Internet, in one form or another. What? Your site doesn’t use Perl and CGI? Well, what about the administrative scripts that keep it running smoothly when everyone is snug in their beds? Even a fair chunk of Microsoft IIS servers rely on Perl for administrative tasks. I’m not saying that Perl is being used on every site on the Internet, including yours. I’m saying that Perl is probably being used on any random site you happen to look at on the Internet, including yours.
Dec 26, 2004 (Updated Apr 9, 2017)
REBOL is the “Relative Expression-Based Object Language”, and it was developed by Carl Sassenrath. Who is Carl Sassenrath? Why, he’s one of the people responsible for the amazing operating system which powered the Amiga computer. What’s the Amiga? Why, the Amiga was only the incredibly robust and cool computer released by the same company that brought the world’s first personal computer, Commodore. What’s Commodore? Stop bothering me, kid. Just take it from a relative old-timer: the Amiga put a whole heck of a lot of power into a consumer-affordable personal computer, and it wasn’t really matched by other computers for a good five or ten years. Nowadays, I look at REBOL and it feels like the first language I’ve come across to take lessons from past languages and apply them in a new context, rather than just reimplement them with different syntax.
Dec 26, 2004 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
I’m sure you thought that getting started was fun, but it really didn’t do anything to show off REBOL. I’d like to go through almost exactly the same process, but this time focussing my attention on REBOL/View. So let’s give it a try!
Oct 1, 2004 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
Thanks to everybody for the positive feedback on the first MIRE. I still have your attention, so I’ll move on to my next exercise. This one is a little more involved than the first, but bear with me - the results should be worth it.
Jul 11, 2004 (Updated Jul 11, 2004)
There are several different approaches to programming, but the one that is easiest for me to grasp is imperative programming. The imperative approach allows you to tell the computer exactly what you want it to do and how you want it done. The best analogy I can think of is a cooking recipe. You have a list of ingredients and a specific set of instructions to follow. Veer from the recipe and you may not be happy with the results. Veer too far from the recipe and your house could burn down.
Mar 10, 2004 (Updated Jul 11, 2009)
This article is intended to provide a casual introduction the CGI programming with the Ruby language. You won’t be an expert when you are done, but you will certainly be ready to explore more on your own, and maybe delve into becoming a Ruby/CGI expert.
Jun 23, 2003 (Updated Apr 9, 2017)
Ruby is an exciting language with a huge number of features that appeal to advanced programmers. You should not let that intimidate you, though. The language is very easy to get started with, and you can work your way into the more arcane corners.