Friday, December 19, 2008 11:21 AM
Discoveries This Week 12/19/08
I’ve decided to post a roundup for the week of what I feel were some of the most important blog posts and application releases I happened upon. Who knows, if it goes well maybe I’ll even make it a habit. In this edition: Windows Live Writer Release Candidate, Executor, IronPython 2.0, Saving DotNetKicks and The Real World Haskell Book Club.
I previously wrote about Windows Live Writer back in mid November. Since then, you may have noticed that I’ve been using way more images and code samples in my blog. This is because, after switching, these kinds of things just became so much easier to do. Now, instead of having to resize the image, upload it and finally and link it, I just paste it right into my post and set a couple of properties. It’s made my blog much more attractive, much less time consuming. In fact, a number of my blogging coworkers have taken notice and have made the switch too. They also have found that it makes their lives much easier.
This new release fixes a number of problems. Most notably, the memory footprint has gotten much smaller and the periodic freezing issue has gotten much better! A huge improvement all around.
I discovered this little app over at lifehacker and it’s greatly increased the speed at which I can perform many of my every day simple tasks. Executor binds to Win-Z and brings up a “Run..” type interface. It indexes your installed applications and makes them easy to access. What makes it really fantastic is that you can define custom actions with parameters.
Previously to access our Bug Tracker I would have to launch a web browser, click my Fogbugz favorite, click on the search box, type in the case number and finally hitting enter to submit that query. Now with Executor I simply hit Win-Z and type “fb 8732” and get immediately taken to that case. We also use Salesforce for which I have a similar binding set. Over the last week of use, it’s been an amazing time saver. Best of all, it has a tiny 10mb footprint and uses almost no CPU time; so having it running in the background is completely unnoticeable.
It’s not often that I find a piece of software that changes how I use my desktop. However, Executor has really changed the way I think about launching programs.
IronPython 2.0 comes with the ability to run completely on top of the DLR. This makes available a whole set of compilation services specifically designed to make dynamic languages fast and flexible. Not to mention the performance improvements, bug fixes and some Silverlight tools. With all the buzz it seems like IronPython is quickly becoming the DLR language of choice for many. Although, some seem to still be having quite a bit of trouble with WPF integration.
I used to be an avid user of DotNetKicks. However, lately it seems to have really gone downhill. I’m not sure if it’s due to the launch of StackOverflow or if it simply has becoming inundated with spam posts. I hope the community can come together and save this site. It’s always been nice that .NET users have had a community site to call their own.
Matthew Podwysocki (a very active F# blogger) has started a Google Groups book club for the release of “Real World Haskell”. Two of the book’s authors, Bryan O’Sullivan and Don Stewart, will be sitting in on the group and so it’s a fantastic opportunity to get experience building real applications using a functional style. The action isn't scheduled to start until January 5th but the groups is already seeing a lot of activity.
Haskell was designed from the ground up to enforce functional programming technique. For this reason, it’s a great language to use if you want to jump head first into functional programming as none of the traditional object oriented or procedural structures are available to fall back on. It’s the functional way or the highway.
I’ve already gotten my copy of the book and can’t wait to start working through it with the rest of the group.