I’ve been a teacher for many years (IT teacher for the past 15 years) but have now retired from that profession and I’m looking to do some real development, mainly as an interest but also possibly to do some occasional work. So I’ve found that one thing leads to another, and I’m exploring a few languages that I’m a bit out of practice with or else never learned in the first place.

When I joined Trybe I was exploring app development in Android Studio to leverage my experience with Java, although teaching basic courses doesn’t keep you right up to date with current practice. The introductory course I was teaching did not include functional programming with lambda expressions, for instance, even though it was introduced into Java three versions ago. Anyway, Android Studio uses it’s own API for GUI programming, supplemented by XML for defining the layout of user interfaces, so I still had a bit to learn.

Game development is one large subset of app development, and I had spent some time with Unity and C# a few years ago. I moved sideways from Android Studio to the Godot game engine because I realized it’s possible to develop in Godot but export for Android (and other platforms), no Java required. The primary language used in Godot is GDScript, which is derived from Python. I did look at Python some time back, but got into a lot of trouble with indentation errors – maybe my editor wasn’t the best. As I didn’t really need to learn Python I gave up pretty quickly, however I found GDScript pretty easy and indentations seemed to be much less of a problem. I expect to go back to Godot in a while. I do a bit of computer graphics and it would be nice to incorporate some of my own artwork into a game.

Anyway, being on Trybe, naturally I became interested in blockchain in general and EOS in particular, as I mentioned in my last post. Perhaps I could develop Dapps of one sort or another. A quick look on the eosio developer portal indicated that C++ was a good language to use in the eos environment, so I’ve spent some time with that. I did explore C++ about 15 years ago, but it was just out of curiosity and once again I didn’t take it very far. I’m quite a bit more serious about it now though, and it does seems to have changed a lot since then. My library is continuing to grow, including real books, ebooks, and a few courses on Udemy. No wonder I get so many emails tempting me with ever more books/courses on ever more technologies. They probably consider me a whale when it comes to tech books.

Apart from C++ something else on the eosio developer portal caught my eye. WASM. Web Assembly, a relatively new spec under the auspices of the W3C and supported by all major browsers. I learned a new TLA – MVP. Apparently this means Minimum Viable Product. This seems to me to be a pretty major new player in the Web Development space. With applications increasingly becoming web based (I’ve been using Google sheets more than Excel in the last couple of years) then performance becomes a more important issue. And the recommended language for developing wasm is C++. So, even if I’m not looking at Dapp development, C++ for wasm should be good to know. I’ve managed to install emscripten on my new Linux workstation, and produced my first wasm file. Hello World of course. Mind you the original c++ file was about 90 bytes and the wasm file was about 200K and the JavaScript required to run it about 300K and the auto generated web page to display it one of the longest I’ve seen in a while, so I’m not immediately seeing the advantage, but it’s early days.

Somewhere in all this I also started looking into Node.js. I’ve known for a while it’s a pretty important library, but our basic Web Programming course included a week of JavaScript and a week of JQuery after HTML and CSS, before moving on to Bootstrap, then PHP and SQL. Not much time to expand on these newer technologies. Seems that Node is also compiled (like wasm) and faster than regular JavaScript. Anyway, however I can to look at it, it’s interesting. Having been stuck in a rut of dealing with a few familiar languages at low level for many years it’s great to be expanding my horizons in this area once again. Reminds me that the first language I leaned was the original BASIC that was installed in ROM in my MicroBee, purchased in 1983 I think, plus a bit of Z80 Assembly language just for the hell of it. Then I tried a language called Forth, also in ROM so I had to pull out the BASIC chips and plug in the Forth chips instead. Times have changed.

Not sure where all this is leading. Maybe I’ll start up a small internet startup and play around with implementing some of this stuff on a real site. I’ve got a couple of ideas. Should be fun.

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  1. TRUTH(@i-am)

    C++ and WebAssembly — I’m trying to learn them,,, lol,,, just learned JS,,,,, I too learned on BASIC,, then Pascal, some Fortran, LISP,,,,,, times have really changed.



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