programming

First impressions of the Core Animation book

October 29th, 2008  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Leave a comment

I got my copy of Bill Dudney’s Core Animation for Mac OS X and the iPhone yesterday.

I pre-ordered this book in March, but the Pragmatic gang decided to include coverage of iPhone topics at the 11th hour and ran into a snag with Apple’s now-lifted iPhone NDA, which delayed the book’s release from midsummer until now. (I note that the iPhone chapter, which was directly responsible for the delay, is 14 pages long.)

I really don’t have any time for recreational programming right now, but I read the first few chapters last night. It reads well, has an approachable tutorial style, and makes me wistfully look forward to some point in the future when I have more free time.

Making a git mirror of Jikes RVM

October 4th, 2008  |  Tags: , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

I’ve been a longtime subversion user but have been switching some projects over to git lately. One major disadvantage that svn presented for my dissertation work arose because I was often interested in extending someone else’s code (like jikesrvm or soot): I’d want version control on my changes (and the opportunity to make branches, etc.), but I’d also want an easy way to track changes to the official project. Subversion does not, by itself, provide an easy way to do this.

Git makes it pretty easy to track changes to a repository that you don’t control while providing version control for local modifications and easy branching and merging. However, importing a large repository from svn can a really long time (almost a whole day for a medium-sized repository), and some svn servers (sourceforge in particular) are a bit flaky, which can lead to local repository corruption.

If you’re interested in having a local git mirror of a subversion repository, and the remote repository supports rsync, then it will be much faster to mirror the repository locally (via rsync) and then convert your local svn repository to a git repository. Then you have a local git repository, and you can just rsync and git svn fetch when it’s time to update from the original repository.

Here’s a quick snippet to show how it’s done for JikesRVM.

On another note, I couldn’t be more pleased with the GitHub hosting service! I’ve posted some code snippets on “gist,” their version-controlled pastebin. I am also using github to house some more substantial code — although the only public repository there right now is my LaTeX template for Wisconsin dissertations. Hopefully, I will be able to share more code in the future.

Pragmatic [REDACTED]

July 23rd, 2008  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

I suppose this is why the Core Animation book I pre-ordered from Amazon in March remains unshipped a week after its expected release date and why Amazon sent me a panicked “we have no idea when this will ship — do you still want it?” message.

In cheerier Pragmatic Programmers news, I watched some of their Erlang screencasts on a recent plane trip and am glad to endorse them. They’re certainly not a substitute for Armstrong’s excellent Erlang book, but they’re a nice taste of some very cool features of the language. I learned of these via DF, whose one-sentence summary of Pragmatic’s products hits everything I love and loathe about them. (Seriously, Bookman makes my skin crawl, and it’s only the beginning.)

(Confidential to readers who appreciate the idea of evaluating technical books on both content and typography: have I got a treat for you, and soon!)