Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of all Ages (18 and above),
Don’t have time to write a lot. Need to catch a plane early tomorrow. Still, I thought I’d give you a brief progress report. The past month has gone something like this:
- Dig into undocumented, poorly formatted spaghetti code to try to modify it the bare minimum necessary for Crimson Glow.
2. Watch it break in strange, and incomprehensible ways.
3. Have no sane means of debugging.
4. Throw things and swear until my voice is hoarse.
5. Realize the codebase is beyond all recovery.
6. Start over.
So yeah. I’m not happy about that at all. I was hoping to get something out in November, or even this month, but with having to write everything from scratch, I doubt we’ll see the first day before April. Sorry about that. I hate jerking you all around like this, but it is what it is. That being said, I like to think I learn something from my mistakes, so I’m going to be much more deliberate about my coding. In particular, I’m going to make sure to actually write tests. Because you know, that’s kind of a fundamental thing you should do. I’m also going to document the codebase, so that I have some idea of what the hell I wrote when I back to fiddle with things a year from now.
I’ve also decided to write this in a different language. In particular, I’ve picked Java. The primary reasons are:
- There is a _wonderful_ testing framework out there called the Spock Framework that makes writing (unit) tests downright enjoyable. Seeing as how testing is so critical to making sure I don’t write a piece of junk, and seeing as how it can be difficult to be disciplined enough to write thorough tests when there isn’t anyone else around to slap your hand if you don’t, I want tests to be as easy to write as possible.
- While it is possible to write large programs in duck-type scripting languages like Python (or Groovy for that manner), for me at least, it requires a lot more discipline than in a statically compiled language. Plus, since I became a code monkey I’ve actually seen well written Java code at scale, while I haven’t seen well written Python code at scale yet. So hopefully my growing experience with large Java programs means I’m more likely to get it mostly right if I write it in Java.
- I find it much easier for myself to slip into the kind of structured, design-focused programming mentality that I need for something of this scale when coding in Java. That’s likely just because Java is where I have the most experience writing structured, design-focused code, but it is what it is, whereas most of my experience in Python is throwing together quick hacks and glue scripts.
So I’m working as fast as I can, while still trying to write code that isn’t utter garbage. Needless to say, if there’s anyone out there with some skill in Java, and would like to help out, please drop me a line. I’m particularly looking for anyone who enjoys writing GUI code (hate graphics programming of any flavor). If you’re curious, the codebase can be found here. There isn’t anything on master yet, but there is plenty on the GUI and Model branches.