Web Developer v2 4

Posted by mikong on December 31, 2007

As a web developer, it was a year full of changes. My OS for work before was Windows 2000, now it’s Mac OS X. I used Java and a proprietary web framework and now I mainly program with Ruby and Ruby on Rails. I used a proprietary javascript framework, and now Prototype. I primarily used Eclipse as my IDE, now I use TextMate (I used emacs for about a month). My database was Oracle, now it’s MySQL or PostgreSQL. From CVS to SVN, and recently using Git on personal projects. That’s changes to my OS, programming language, web framework, IDE, database and version control system. And here’s more…

From the waterfall software development model to agile software development. And from working with large teams (of 20 to 50 or more) for more than a year on each project to a small team (of 1 to 4) working on 2 week iterations (see Scrum). And as described in this older article, I switched my keyboard layout from QWERTY to Dvorak a few months back.

I didn’t test a year ago. Instead, I passed my code to software testers. I’ve heard of JUnit but never used it. Now, I’m learning BDD with RSpec.

There are also other changes like starting this development blog, participating in the Philippine Ruby Users Group, and contributing to Rails. Using newer releases like Ruby 1.9 (only for playing around though) and Rails 2.0 for my new projects. From Ubuntu Dapper to Gutsy (I skipped Edgy Eft and Feisty Fawn). Et cetera.

2007 was fun! And I’m curious how this article will look like a year from now. :)

A Journey with Dvorak so far 85

Posted by mikong on November 27, 2007

About 2 months ago, I switched from QWERTY to using the Dvorak keyboard layout. As an aside, the layout is called Dvorak because it was patented by Dr. August Dvorak - the upper left keys are NOT replaced with D, V, O, R, A, and K as some people have clarified with me (see Wikipedia article). The Dvorak layout was suggested to me by a friend who switched months earlier and I agreed after some serious deliberation. But this article is not about the deliberation, rather how well it is going so far…

Last weekend, I reached over 60 wpm in a typing test. This is still below my QWERTY stats of an average speed of 65 wpm and a burst speed of 95 wpm. But it is going surprisingly well and generally pleasant.

To learn Dvorak, the process I followed was quite simple. For 2 weeks, I trained for about an hour a night by working on the exercises in A Basic Course on Dvorak. I just ran each lesson there twice. Outside the training, I still used QWERTY. After finishing the course, I made the full switch and avoided QWERTY almost entirely. I no longer used training tools, except every weekend to track my improvement.

My typing speed improved steadily until about 50 wpm. At the end of the 2-week training, it was a little over 20 wpm. I reached 30 after a week, 40 after another, and then 48 wpm. It slowed down significantly since then. With 60 wpm today, I improved only by 12 wpm after 4 weeks. But I’ve reached my targets so far by improving by 10 wpm until 40 wpm, the minimum required typing speed for clerk-typists. I target to reach my old QWERTY average of 65 wpm by the end of the year.

It was only difficult in the beginning, and only frustrating when participating in chat conferences. For some strange reason, I had more chat conferences than usual (more than the 1st 9 months of the year). I also noticed that typing punctuations needed to be exercised to get used to them. Fortunately, punctuations are used regularly in programming. Also, it’s useful to have the Dvorak keyboard layout wallpaper to cheat. :)