Programming

News, information and advice on writing the best code possible.

How to Build Apps in Swift

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Earlier this year, Apple executives unveiled Swift, which is meant to eventually replace Objective-C as the programming language of choice for Macs and iOS devices. While Objective-C remains popular, developers frequently complain about how difficult it is to use; Swift’s features will supposedly eliminate at least some of those issues. Despite its ease of use, developers will still need to spend some time learning how the language works. This is the first of a few articles that show how to… continue…

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

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In a previous article, I discussed the best programming languages to learn over the next year. Most of those were popular languages such as C#, JavaScript, PHP, and Swift. (I also did a follow-up that sang the virtues of Objective-C and Python.) But that’s not the final story on languages: Programmers can also benefit from learning other, less popular languages that could end up paying off big—provided the programmers who pursue them play their proverbial cards right. And as with… continue…

Passing Functions as Parameters

Passing a Function as Parameter in C#
When I first started programming in the late 1970s, I was heavily into Pascal and the concept of passing an address as a parameter was just unheard of outside of academic circles. Procedural programming treated functions as something that were called, not passed around. Had I known C then—which had been around since the early 1970s—I might have been more aware of function pointers. If you don’t know C that well, a pointer is a variable that holds the memory… continue…

Why Don’t Software Engineers Get More Respect?

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Not many people would argue that technology isn’t central to business nowadays. It’s hard to imagine any kind of company of any size operating without some kind of technical system in place to support it—if not drive it. So why don’t software engineers get more respect? That’s what TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans was thinking about the other day. What got him going was a blog post by Michael O. Church, a software engineer who blogged about how differently he was… continue…

Creating Random Access Text in C#

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Back in April I looked at disk folders as a possible alternative to NoSQL or using a relational DB. My conclusion wasn’t encouraging—I was concerned about poor performance, especially on Linux. The use case I examined was for a server that had from 100,000 to 1 million users. I wanted to store and retrieve text files for any user. Those files could vary in length from a few bytes to a few KB. Back in the dark ages—before the Web… continue…

Are Python and Objective-C Worth Learning?

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Last week’s article on the five programming languages you’ll need next year (and beyond) didn’t include two important languages: Python and Objective-C. Python’s exclusion sparked a passionate response from some readers, to say the least, and led us to craft a follow-up to emphasize Python’s importance to the programming world. Python is mature (the first version, created by a computer scientist named Guido van Rossum, was released in 1991). Google, where van Rossum worked for several years, has embraced Python… continue…

6 Developer Tips for Better Disaster Recovery

Blue Screen of Death
You go through life thinking that it won’t happen to you, but someday it will: Your development PC suddenly goes from being state-of-the-art to having the computing power of a brick. How quickly you get back into action depends upon your budget and preparedness. Over the recent July 4 weekend it happened to me. The disaster was partially of my own making. Thanks to a slightly dodgy set of RAM—both Ubuntu and Windows 7 memory tests agreed on this—I was… continue…

Python, Swift, JavaScript, Java: Best Ways to Learn Them

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Learning a new programming language—or merely staying adept in ones you know already—is a necessary challenge for programmers and developers who want to stay relevant. Fortunately, every popular programming language comes with tons of documentation, as well as a variety of online tutorials. Check out these handy resources: JavaScript ranks high on everybody’s list of the most popular programming languages. Earlier this summer, for example, tech-industry analyst firm RedMonk drew publicly available data from GitHub and Stack Overflow that suggested… continue…

5 Programming Languages You’ll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

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We’ve reached a bit of a turning point in the world of programming. Ten years ago, programmers were moving into dynamic languages. To many of us, those languages seemed like a bit of a fad, even if they made programming easier. But those languages endured, and today we’re developing software with a combination of old and new tools. That creates the potential for confusion: What languages are best to learn if you want to stay employed? Before diving into which… continue…

Is There a Future in Programming D?

D Programming Language Thumbnail
Over at HTML5Report.com, Steve Anderson is wondering if D is the next big programming language. D took form when Walter Bright and Andrei Alexandrescu combined their efforts to develop a new language back in 2005. The result, says Anderson, offers some “very exciting” possibilities, and he notes that the ad-tech firm Sociomantic Labs, recently acquired by Tesco for $200 million, used D to build its online system. Making things more interesting is another online company’s interest in D: Facebook. Click… continue…