Little Programs

Some times you start somewhere and end up in unexpected places on the Web. This one of those little journeys. A few clicks of the mouse. A few minutes of reading. I really like Hackety Hack. It is time someone picked a simple model to encourage people to try out little snippets of code and enjoy the outcome.

Here is an enjoyable few minutes if you are a programmer. Amazing how much you can achieve with less than 5 lines of code. Take a look at Little Programs page. If you are not ruby programmer, try these little ones in other languages – Python, PERL, PHP. And try them again in C, Java, C#. You will know what I mean.

The Bylaws of Hackety

Here are the rules by which Hackety Hack was established:

  • Beginners should be greeted to Hackety Hack by a cartoon character. (For the sake of argument, let’s call this character: Hacky Mouse.)
  • Also, helpful sentences. And full sentences with a period.
  • Hackety Hack is fundamentally a browser and a programming language. For now, Gecko and Ruby.
  • I’m only using Ruby because I know it. Hopefully, more languages can be added!
  • Again, this isn’t about Ruby, it’s about simply offering a place for plainspeople to tinker with code.
  • IDEs are a disaster. Newbs should see only one non-scary window free of tree controls and pinned windows and toolbars.
  • As such, we want to stay away from project files and makefiles, the trappings of an IDE.
  • Hackety Hack also adds simple libraries for common things.
  • Common things are one-liners.
  • Keep args and options to a minimum.
  • In Ruby, blocks should be used to open up a method to more advanced possibilities.
  • Help files are clean, short, simple. Lots of short examples. No frames.
  • While all bug tickets are helpful and great, I just value tickets from beginners to a greater degree.
  • Hackety Hack is free and will remain free henceforth.

Beyond that… anything which makes life easy and fun for Hackety Hackers is definitely encouraged, even demanded.

Path to discovery:

Jon’s blog on A Conversation with Art Rhyno -> Code4lib ->Planet Code4Lib -> Michael Giarlo’s links