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Coding question

Since my recent brief toe in the SQL waters, I have been pondering the odd hour of coding. I may be kidding myself as to what I am up to but this keeps mulling over in my mind.

The question is, what language to use? In the past I have used quite a list of languages but, judging by my SQL re-learning episode, re-learning anything I used to know twelve years ago is going to be tough going.

So, I need something:
• easy to (re-)learn
• that I can do on my mac and will run on the mac, maybe as some kind of chron job
• that will be free to use
• that will hopefully, eventually, be able to read data from an RSS feed and be able to interface to the LJ API or send an email to an email address that I know is valid but that cannot click a link to confirm that it is a human (e.g. my LJ's email posting address), i.e. have language capabilities and interfaces that will let me maybe write code to do that.

I may be overreaching myself, my current abilities, my memory and learning capability and the spears/spoons available to me but I do still really enjoy learning and I keep having these coding bunnies (like plot bunnies) - ideas of apps that would be really useful that I cannot find via google.

Those of you that write code, what would you suggest? Am I mad given the multiple sclerosis to even contemplate this? Does something already exist?

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
alexmc
Jun. 30th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
I wonder what you want to do. Do you want to learn about databases to be a professional techie? My opinion is that you ought to be able to get freelance work now and then looking after databases for periods when you are well enough... but don't quote me on that.

If you are more interested in the data science aspect of it (for doing analytics and data mining) then there are some really cool things happening in the BigData arena.

The definition of BigData changes depending on who you talk to but essentially it means more data than you can comfortably fit on one machine - or thus one RDBMS database.

There are programmatic ways of accessing such data - but also SQL-like systems such as Hive for data warehousing.

PS You can take a course to teach you SQL but there is nothing like actually having a project to work on at the same time.

Goodluck
alexmc
Jun. 30th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
Sorry if my previous comment seemed unhelpful. I thought you were focussing on SQL.

> that will hopefully, eventually, be able to read data from an RSS feed and be able to interface to the LJ API or send an email to an email address that I know is valid but that cannot click a link to confirm that it is a human (e.g. my LJ's email posting address), i.e. have language capabilities and interfaces that will let me maybe write code to do that.

I am not sure I follow this but...

I am going to suggest two languages which I don't actually know myself: Python and Ruby. They are both pretty clean and simple languages, are often taught to students. Learning them wont be as hard as something like Java or C++ and you should be productive pretty soon.

They both come with libraries for interfacing to other things - like email servers or RSS feeds.
natf
Jun. 30th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks Alex. I am trying to remember what the OSX developer tools provide on the mac (it is installed but I cannot remember any app names). I used to know Perl and C++ so maybe those will be worth a look.
alexmc
Jun. 30th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
C++ and perl consisted of over half my coding career! If you were halfway competant at those then frankly you are an above average programmer. (I think we met once at a London Perl Mongers meeting, right?)

Of course I realise that I don't know how health affects you.

I wouldn't limit myself to just the OSX developer tools. There are other systems out there which work fine on OSX. In fact I get the impression that Apple Macbooks are becoming the platform of choice for many developers!

Well, goodluck anyway
natf
Jul. 2nd, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
Another more helpful reply.

We have met, BTW. At london.pm and I came to the books/publishing/editing conference one year when you got me a ticket. I edited and website-tested for a while on Diverse Books.

As for doing this to earn cash? No. I doubt I would win any contracts when I tell potential clients that my brain is mush all the time and the fatigue means I have to sleep whenever my body tells me to NOW!! and that I can probably manage 4 or 5 hours "work" per week on a good week.

For example, helping Neil/hubby/neilf with SQL (which I relearned/looked-up/remembered on the fly at the same time) for more than an hour at one stint gave me a screaming headache and I had to sleep for a few hours.

So, When I stopped working in 2000 apart from a few failed and short stints at freelancing, I gave up for good. This is because I want to do *something* with my brain, have a problem that needs solving and a few other ideas for tiny projects like this and have always loved to learn new stuff which explains why I love knitting - there is always another technique to learn and a pattern is very much like a computer program - knit and purl is similar to 0 and 1 as well.

It turns out that hubby has some books (eBooks of course - I find paper books difficult/painful to hold / work with these days) on learning both Ruby and Python. I am starting with Ruby and the most "for dummies" book of the bunch and managing to do an hour at a time. There is no rush, anyway.
neilf
Jul. 1st, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
Your mac will have Ruby, Python and PERL installed as well as Objective C. I have recent ebooks for learning both Python and Ruby. Also worth looking at is JavaScript. Take a look at Code Academy and Code Year for an online course you can do.

Talk to me when I get home and I can give you a load of pointers.

N. x
natf
Jul. 2nd, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks hubby - see also my second reply to Alex above.
artemis_of_isle
Jul. 2nd, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
How about Raspberry Pi?
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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