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Hobby Programming

I have returned back to the basics and to my hobby – programming.

Except for having continued to master Lua and its LÖVE game engine, I have been also learning Laravel framework, which definitely cuts down time needed to build websites and web apps.

Lua is simple and basic language that I would definitely recommend for anyone as their starting point to develop programming skills. I think it could happily serve as a replacement for BASIC that we used to learn as our first programming language. Laravel, on the other hand, has such a steep learning curve that it still confuses me from time to time, specially when trying some of its yet-untried features.

After I had been through some of the versioning systems in the past (CVS and Subversion as far as I remember) and hated all of them I finally found Git and love it (although I rather use GUI over command line as it resolves some of the issues automatically). My public repos are at Github.

I still play with WordPress but it has become so bloated, I sometimes wonder if this how all CMSes end. Maybe something new and agile has to come and reach critical mass.

PHP and Javascript (jQuery) remain my staple beside basic HTML and CSS (Bootstrap covers usually all my needs well these days).

I understand Composer now and I kinda like it, but I fear depending on so many dependencies that have dependencies of dependencies (you have heard about the epic NPM failure, right?).

I love to play with APIs and APIs remind me of the classic hacking culture and virtually unlimited possibilities of “gluing” them together. Yes, I am talking about API mashups. We can be thankful to AJAX and the emergence of JSON as any web app basically offers some kind of (even unpublished) API these days. It’s good that musty XML has been replaced by JSON. I have seen plenty of ugly XML schemas, but JSON usually keeps things simpler.

And if there’s no API after all? Scraping is the way to go. I moved from using PHP Simple HTML DOM Parser that doesn’t play with PHP7 to Goutte Web Scraper.

It’s actually funny, but my web programming experience is now somewhere around 20 years. Well, if we count those pre-PHP years, too. 15+ years solid web dev experience, anyway. Yes, I started with PHP3 and ugly Javascript that used document.write (good we got rid of that).

And what do you enjoy programming these days?

(the book in the featured image was one of my first ones beside the manuals)

  • AIF

    I use Python for small scripts that help me automate some boring tasks both at home and at work. Tried Java and C# but wasn’t able to find any meaningful test project so I gave up eventually. Re: web, I had experience with old HTML in the late ’90s and early 00s, then two years ago decided to learn PHP-MySQL-HTML5-CSS- JavaScript, jQuery – git (I use BitBucket) combo – did a small web app I use until now but it’s not a very nice code. Since then did some PHP OOP, one test project in Meteor framework, unsuccessfully tried something in Angular 2.0. Was thinking about Laravel as well but as I’m using shared hosting I don’t know (and didn’t even try to find out) how to install everything and even if it’s possible. But I’m not a programmer, don’t have any such background and only have it as a hobby.

  • I tried Python back in 2011 and even tried to code a game using PyGame, but it had limitations and I didn’t like the Python forced indentation style. But I know it’s a useful, practical language.

    I bought a book on Java once, but never got through its first pages and judging by its slow coming into obsolescence, that was a good (in)decision.

    I looked into Vue.js recently, but for now I am OK using just plain jQuery.

    Regarding Laravel on shared hosting – it’s basically impossible to set it up the Laravel way (command line using composer and artisan), but you can just setup DB and copy files over FTP and it usually works OK. Sometimes, some manual deletion of cached files needs to be done. So: it’s possible, but not very flexible and practical.