Does VS rot the brain

Disclaimer: I haven’t use VS in a couple of years

Slashdot asks if Microsoft Visual Studio rots a programmer’s brain. In my opinion, I don’t think it does. For the experienced programmer, it probably helps with productivity, especially when it comes to GUI applications: who wants to code those by hand? Also, features like IntelliSense or “jump to definition” probably help programmers get up to speed faster when they take on a new application.

However, I don’t think people who begin programming should be exposed to Visual Studio immediatly. They should use a basic text editor to do console applications (or just use a REPL) to learn how the fundamentals of programming work. Then, they can take on Visual Studio.

I’m pretty sure that VS is less damagable for your brain than COBOL.

Guess what I bought?

Yup, last night, I ordered a 30GB white iPod. I engraved a little message on the back:

Vincy says smile!

A little crazy, but I’ve been having some problems with my 10GB 3rd-gen iPod, so I figured I might as well get a new one and use the old one for backup purposes.

Comment spam

I started getting some spam in the comments of some posts (in the Factor one for instance). Now, since there’s not a lot, and it’s not too often, it’s not so bad to delete it by hand, but I would like to know, does WordPress have an option to disable comments in posts older than x days? I don’t want to disable comments, or prevent people from posting links.

Unit testing: teh suck? No way!

I’m sure many among you have read Wil Shepley’s post where he says that unit testing are “teh suck”. Now, I totally disagree with his opinion. I haven’t written a lot of software, but I found unit testing to be a blessing.

In ShortURL I have unit tests to make sure every service works. And it has saved me a lot of time. When I realized that many services do not generate the same shortened URL or that after a while, an URL from the database is lost and that the shortened URL changes, this gave me information about these services that I would maybe haven’t understood earlier. I therefore changed my tests to make sure that the returned URL just begins with “http://”. Also, when a service changed the name of its POST action, it didn’t take long for me to notice. Sure, I could’ve played with the application and use every service manually, but with 17 services, isn’t it just easier to stick them all into a loop and let the computer do the work for me?

Unit tests are also good, because they act as documentation for a project. When I helped (briefly) with the Highline library for Ruby, I read the tests to know what the methods were supposed to do. This was an easy exercise, it’s like you have an example for pretty much every case, you just need to find what you need.

Unit tests are also great, as mentioned by many people in the comments on Shipley’s blog, to make sure that something you wrote six months ago still works after changing some code. It saves you a lot of time, so the time he says that you “lose” when you initially write your unit tests, is actually time gained later. And if you’re not a fan of the debugger, unit tests can help you spot bugs faster and allow you to spend more time in your editor than in your debugger.

Now, there are things that are harder to test, user interfaces for example. You can’t anticipate every single action a user might do, however if your back-end code is solid, you are probably more at ease. You can then just start testing the GUI manually with the help of friends.

Keep on writing those unit tests!

USB enclosure

I bought a USB enclosure for IDE hard drives last week to be able to back up my stuff in OS X. However, I tried it with my old 20GB and 40GB and it didn’t work with either. Seb confirmed that the three others he ordered do not work properly either. These enclosures are from the company A-BYTE (which I can’t even find a website for) and they did look pretty cheap, and it appears that they are.

To the folks who have a USB enclosure that works, what make is it? What model? Thanks.

Je veux vos faces!

Message à mes amis: je veux vos faces! En fait, je veux une photo de votre face. Je suis entrain de mettre un visage aux gens dans mon carnet d’adresses, et je voudrais bien avoir votre photo. J’aimerais donc ça si vous pouviez m’envoyer un email avec une photo de vous où vous faites un beau sourire!

Merci beaucoup!