Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lost in programming translation

So today I am starting to follow up on some work that has piled up this week...

first up rapidsms on the malawi server. This has been a big issue because we switch ISPs, then I was unable to log on, then it seemed to be an issue with verizon fios (rather than malawi ISP), and now I am actually able to log in from my verizon fios - although we just lost internet.

also up is rapidsms clean up & easy install (setup tools)

For this integration testing I will probably use the
Cruise Control tool developed or adjusted by Jez
Humble. An example with some rapidsms forks is here

Seeing that this is a ruby tool has made me feel even worse about myself not using ruby, but really I dont have all the time in the world to develop on every platform known to man, and I have heard that ruby websites have some performance issues (thats just what I hear). So does python, but not as bad as ruby. Perl is best (really c is the best or assembler)- but it encourages idiosyncratic code. I sort of like to think of all these different programming languages as evolutions of natural language. For example perl (or perhaps assembler) is like egyptian heirogylphics - you need a specialized class of people (scribes) to read and write this language. Then eventually we get coptic (egyptian written in greek), and everyone can read and write it - it is like ruby - but perhaps you lose something in this.

Another analogy - different chinese transcriptions. There are different ways of connecting chinese sounds with the roman alphabet:for example Wade–Giles and Pinyin. Each system captures certain features of chinese, but neglects others, what you get in ease of use in using either system you loose in precision (of using the actual chinese)

Translation is hard

I also succumbed and picked up a git oreilly book. I am sick of scowering the web everytime I something unexpected happens during a merge, or push, or pull and I think I just need to cuddle up with a git book and a hot toddie. My current method of using git is rather sloppy and I would like to be sure and do everything the correct way as I start integrating the rapidsms apps/core etc.. More on version control another day.

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