Posts from 22 December 2014
Today's partner: Max
We spent the day implementing a lot of the things that are now standard on the modern web. Notably, modifying webpages while they're open without executing a page reload… and sending and receiving data in the background asynchronously by calling on the Homeric hero Ajax to carry our data.
One thing, as an aside, that I can see is that there's virtue to practicing the things you're learning, but there's only so much to be gained. If the pet project you want to do is mostly nitpicking and trying to accomplish something the world has really moved past in the meantime, and all details of implementation… I can't necessarily see the virtue. There's always something to learn that will be maximally useful (of all the things you could be doing, and given your learning style) and it's not necessarily the obvious thing, or tying off the previous lesson.
Learning relies on practice and scaffolding, but I'm getting the feeling that a lot of technologies require total comprehension of the basics (what's a closure? what's the difference between a proc and a lambda?), some understanding of the intermediate ideas, and total ownership of the thing that makes you money. To get to that point, you have to jump to the next thing while you still have the previous thing fresh in your mind, and have everything gel as a collection of "correct practices" and good habits, … and eventually you can make progress, actually breaking new ground after reaching the top of the (first) cliff. (The rest of the cliffs, of course, are "real" problems to be solved.)
Learning all the nuance about everything is just pointless, though. There are just too many libraries and frameworks to learn back to front, and generally (successful) people build on what came before, and so the new thing is more or less like the old thing in structure and/or syntax.
I can foresee, or imagine, programming always tickling the dopamine receptors in my brain because there's always some new framework… in the 50s, academic languages were the forefront; in the 60s it was all about business-specific languages; the 70s saw C gain popularity, with its general purpose systems programming capabilities… but there's not so much that's new in the history of computing. And there's never a point where you can sit still, content with what you know. Maybe that's a good thing.