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Huw Collingbourne
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« on: February 06, 2007, 03:25:07 PM »

Well, as it's a bit quiet in here, I thought I might as well start a conversation...  Smiley

I'm curious to know which other programming languages people here have used/are using in addition to Ruby? What are the things that have motivated you to start programming in Ruby and what are your feelings about the strengths and weaknesses of Ruby compared to other languages...?

Also, is it the Ruby language itself that interests you or is it the Rails framework? In other words, if Rails didn't exist, would you still want to program in Ruby?

all the best

Huw
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Barry Carr
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2007, 09:52:31 AM »

Hi Huw,

I Learnt pascal on the BBC micro. Got my first job using Dataflex on ICL kit (shudder) and quickly moved on to PCs and Clipper. I think Clipper gave my first taste of dynamic languages but it took me a while to realise the benefits. At this time I was also dabbling with C++, TopSpeed Modula-2 (what a great compiler that was) and Smalltalk (Digitalk). Like most Smalltalk beginners, I struggled with the syntax and left Smalltlak until Dolphin Smalltalk came out.

I was all set to move into Visual Object (Clipper on steroids for Windows) but CA made a mess of the product and it wasn't really fit for use. I avoided VB like the plague and moved in to Delphi at the first opportunity that presented itself (when I started out as a programmer I never thought I'd earn a living by coding in Pascal). I used Delphi from versions 1 right through to 7 and a little bit of 2005. In my view, Borland/Codegear have really screwed Delphi up. Delphi used to a leading edge language now its really starting to look old - Codegear has a lot of catching up todo (v2007 out this week and STILL no generics, very poor).

During this time I was doing more with Dolphin Smalltalk. Once the penny dropped I was hooked by Smalltalk and dynamic languages in general. I came to realise that types only get in the way of experienced programmers; esp. in Pascal where you sometimes have to circumvent the type system to get something done. This experience was backed up by an article I read in the now defunct JOOP magazine. Basically the article stated that types are only useful to intermeadiate level programmers. Types confuse beginners and, as  I said earlier, get in the way of the experienced.

Back to 2004(ish), by this point C# was looking like the place to be and for the past eighteen months or so I've been working with .NET and the Compact Framework. In my spare time I've been keeping my eye on Python and Ruby (incl Rails) doing a little in each. I'm also trying to learn more about D (as a replacement for Delphi on win32 and beacause its not C++), Chrome and F#/Ocaml.

So, although I've spent most of working life coding in static languages my experimentations and experiences with dynamic languages have shown me that they are very productive and a joy to use. My hope it that Ruby on Rails will sweep the web and push aside nonsense like PHP.

As for Ruby, I think its only real weakness is performance but I think Rubinius and JRuby will address this - hopefully without introducing incompatibilities with CRuby. The only other thing that niggles me with Ruby is having to use @ and @@ to access members and static members - its a bit close to PHP in my view. And yes, I would use Ruby if rails didn't exist.

My apologies for boring everyone rigid
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 10:14:30 AM by Barry Carr » Logged

Huw Collingbourne
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 10:38:16 AM »

TopSpeed Modula-2 (what a great compiler that was)
Eee, that takes me back. I got to know Neils Jensen (ex-Borland founder, who left and set up TopSpeed) quite well. A few of the old Turbo Pascal team were working on the TopSpeed products back in those days...

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and Smalltalk (Digitalk).
Smalltalk V. I still have a copy here on my shelf.

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Like most Smalltalk beginners, I struggled with the syntax and left Smalltlak until Dolphin Smalltalk came out.
Object Arts has done great things with Dolphin. It's my personal favourite.

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I avoided VB like the plague and moved in to Delphi at the first opportunity that presented itself (when I started out as a programmer I never thought I'd earn a living by coding in Pascal). I used Delphi from versions 1 right through to 7 and a little bit of 2005. In my view, Borland/Codegear have really screwed Delphi up. Delphi used to a leading edge language now its really starting to look old - Codegear has a lot of catching up todo (v2007 out this week and STILL no generics, very poor).
I have a long history with Delphi (I mean, the product/language formerly known as Delphi  Wink ) and know a few of the CodeGear people quite well, so I have mixed feelings about the whole CodeGear saga. I don't think Borland has dealt at all well with the 'spinoff' and I am surprised that, after a year in the wilderness, there is not more sign of exciting new products (the major one is just an existing PHP tool which they bought in from another company). However, speaking as a software developer struggling to make a living, I have sympathy with other software developers also struggling to make a living; and as someone who knows a few of the CodeGear chaps personally, I hope they succeed. But the affairs of the past 12 months or so haven't helped them..  Undecided

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Back to 2004(ish), by this point C# was looking like the place to be and for the past eighteen months or so I've been working with .NET and the Compact Framework. In my spare time I've been keeping my eye on Python and Ruby (incl Rails) doing a little in each. I'm also trying to learn more about D (as a replacement for Delphi on win32 and beacause its not C++), Chrome and F#/Ocaml.
I haven't used D much. I know Dermot is a big fan. Personally, even though I spend much of my time coding in C#, I have to admit to a slight allergy to the 'C-like syntax'. That said, D seems to have addressed a number of the same issues as Ruby, albeit in a very different way, and is certainly keeping a close eye on. Incidentally in the odd moments when not working on Ruby In Steel, I publish an online programming 'magazine' called Bitwise. You my be interested in the interview we did wiith Walter Bright, the man who created D: http://www.bitwisemag.com/copy/programming/d/interview/d_programming_language.html

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And yes, I would use Ruby if rails didn't exist.
More to the point, in my view, Rails does so much for you 'behind the scenes' that it takes away some of the fun of programming in Ruby. Ah, but that's probably a heretical thought...  Cheesy

best wishes

Huw
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Nigec
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 03:54:29 PM »

First off, hi all!

I'm not a coder, most of the little bits I know come from TRYING to do games..my trade is an auto electrican

My first encounter was way back when leg warmers where cool, and the world was graced with the ZX81  Roll Eyes I bought one in kit form and built it.. awesome bit of kit .. so my first game  was moonlander on the ZX81 lol.. about a day to program a few days to debug, and a fly farts and the 8k pack falls out
then it was a string of various things like Armstrads, Amiga, a really bad Sharpe laptop to a p100 which I did a TADS adventure on, it was also around this time I discovered the 3D app, Truespace which I've used ever since

2002 to 2003 I used the AGS game engine but 3D art didn't suit the community or the engine, I moved on to 3D gamestudio but never got far

2006 I started using the Lassie game engine which is when I started using Flash, the original engine was a Director app, my biggest claim to fame is I built the first ever game with Lassie , looking back it was really bad, but I tryed Smiley
An AS2 version of the engine was built and I did 5 other games, but the engine had major issues so the developer set to work on a CS3 version,  I set about doing work arounds to compensate for the engines short comings and as a result got a lot better at AS2

I had a spell doing panoramic games and discovered LUA , panos are very tedious lol and I moved on to Awakening 3D which started life as presentation software, with a bit of help scripting  from the main Awakening guy we made an adventure game system, the first was for panoramic, then we moved on to a 3rd person view small game which I'm very proud of

Something clicked from then and I got a lot better with AS2, recently I made my own adventure system and a short game, I'm adapting it now for something bigger Smiley

The main reason I ended up here is because a lot of my friends can't afford Flash and would like to use Flex, I personally found the SDK confusing, all I know is game engines with editors or working in Flash8 more recent cs3, but from the short time I've had using Amethyst I think I might have a chance and maybe able to help my friends on the way, I would really like to be able to do an adventure game  tutorial in Flex.. right now I don't have a clue where to start lol

anyway thats my coding life on the back of a postage stamp Wink
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 04:51:59 PM by Nigec » Logged
Huw Collingbourne
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 04:28:44 AM »

Adventure games in Flex? I happen to be writing some tutorials on just that subject:  Grin
http://www.bitwisemag.com/2/Adventures-in-ActionScript-part
http://www.bitwisemag.com/2/Adventures-in-ActionScript-part,215
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Nigec
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 06:10:58 AM »

Cool, I'll have a go at the tutorials tonight Smiley

If your interested here's my current attempt with Flash cs3 but AS2
http://www.nigecstudios.co.uk/games/hwm2/HWMK2.html
It has drag and drop inventory etc, I'm doing it line art until I'm happy its going to work, I could imagine a AS programmer would roll around laughing if they saw the code, but its great fun even if its done all the wrong ways  Cheesy


Something similar in Flex would be awesome, as I mentioned before I know quite a lot of people wanting to do browser based games, but for the average hobbiest CS4 is way out of their reach
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Huw Collingbourne
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 06:32:08 AM »

Looks good. My tutorial is text based - the good old Zork style! But there is no reason why you couldn't use the same essential techniques to handle the programming logic - the maps, locations, characters, objects etc but instead of showing a text description for each new location, display artwork or animations. I don't cliam to be a great Flash artist so I'm happy to leave the visual stuff to someone more competent at it!  Wink
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Nigec
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 06:51:19 AM »

Text games are getting quite popular again, people are getting bored of the escape the room games that are flooding the net and are looking for something that makes them think.. most scream for help as soon as the get stuck , but then you know you've done a good job lol

I guess something like the BBC's HitchHickers Guide to the Galaxy would be a fairly easy to achieve from the tutorials?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game_nolan.shtml
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Huw Collingbourne
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 10:49:16 AM »

I played that game when it first came out! Happy days...

Yes, that is exactly the sort of game that my tutorial is all about. I'm a bit of a text adventure geek at heart. When I decided to learn programming (in the mid '80s) I began with 'Hello world' then moved straight onto adventure games. I still text think adventures are a terrific programming exercise - they require using almost every type of programming technique from string handling to data storage. They are also so 'natural' for object orientation.

Glad to see that text games (um, I mean "interactive fiction"   Wink ) are coming back into fashion...
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Nigec
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 11:09:36 AM »

THe game I'm on with, is a remake of a game I did a few years ago for the HP lovecraft Commonplace book project, mine was graphical but most of the others where IF, you picked a idea from his book and built a game around it.
I used TADS back in the 90's but the best I did was a rework of their Ditch Day
I'm not much of a story tellerl, so I need to rely on images, text in my games tends to be very short lol

I'm off to give the tutorials a try Smiley

take care
Nige
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