This is just to say

I’m sorry it’s been so long, blog! I have been busy with this whole graduating from college nonsense. And I got accepted to the other three grad schools I applied to, so I’ll be off in a bit to visit a couple of those and try not to be too terrified of the future.

I’ve spent the last week working on finding an internship for the summer and also bumming around Seattle, WA, visiting a friend. I like it a lot here. I’m not sure how I’d handle the gray and rainy winters, but the occasional vacation is fun, and I hear the summers are pretty nice The pacific northwest is beautiful, and two of my favorite writers, Octavia E. Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin, clearly both love(d) their respective parts of it. So it comes highly recommended.

Because I feel like I ought to have some content related to my “topic,” I thought I’d talk about some programs I’ve been enjoying lately.

There are a couple of little websites I’m more or less responsible for, and I’ve been working on those with bluefish. I cannot say enough good things about bluefish. I’ve done most of my HTML/CSS work in straight-up notepad, until I discovered notepad++ has some nice syntax highlighting. Gedit would do me for Linux, but after I did all this reading for my research last summer on the importance of usable IDEs I thought maybe I should find out what is available.

Perhaps because of my years of notepad, perhaps because I tend towards perfectionist control freak when it comes creating things, I like to stay close to my code. I’ve yet to find a WYSIWYG editor that I didn’t end up fighting at every turn. After reading this long list of features for bluefish, I was worried it would try to do my thinking for me. But it doesn’t, at all. If I want to ignore every feature other than syntax highlighting, that is a-ok. But I would be an idiot to do so, because bluefish does some incredibly useful things. For example, I’m not good at things like memorizing a list of tag names or CSS properties (instead I remember high-level things about what is possible with those tools), so I spend a notable amount of time looking up such info. Bluefish already knows about all those things, and makes the lookup much faster. My latest discovery is that bluefish has a color picker if you tell it you’re about to set a CSS color property. And this discovery came literally minutes after I was wishing for a color picker in bluefish so I didn’t have to wait for the GIMP to load up and then sit around wasting resources. And right now I’m just creating static pages. I suspect there is a whole lot more it can do for complex web programming. It’s really too bad it’s not available for Windows.

The other program I’m using and liking is DrPython. I’ve been learning GTK+, and I found that pyGTK is much easier for me to work with. “Normal” GTK is C-based, and C and my brain are not the best of friends. Higher-level languages fit much better with how I approach programming. Anyhow, so, python is pretty great, and again, after all those research papers, I figured I should at least look for an alternative to a command-line interpreter. So I googled…I don’t even remember what I googled, but DrPython turned up and the fact that the name is a tribute to DrScheme, (the aforementioned research involved digging around in DrScheme’s guts), caught my eye. So I’ve been writing pyGTK in DrPython, and while it is not the most immediately transparent interface–I think it could stand to take a few more hints from DrScheme–it seems to be stable and does what I want, and what more you could want for the price?


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