Exercise for the Reader


This blog is starting out as a brain dump of interesting (to me) problems I run into while working on side projects. Please feel free to leave comments or questions — writing blind like this, I’m never sure how much background is interesting, and how much is over-explaining. I’m also quite likely to be wrong, so be sure to let me know.

I figure I might as well out myself, since this hasn’t turned out to be a deeply controversial (or active) blog. (But just wait for the thrilling series on error analysis, coming soon!) My name is Seth Porter; I’m a professional developer / software engineer (it seems to depend largely on the title preferences of my current employer, sort of like ARPA vs. DARPA). I’m currently based in Pittsburgh and working in Java primarily, so most of my side projects will be .Net with a generous helping of F#.

I’ve been a professional developer on and off since about ’94, in between bouts of schooling. I’ve worked mostly in the C-based languages: lots of C++, C# for a few years, these days Java in my day job. Around the edges I’ve squeezed in some more unexpected languages, like Standard ML (in my brief career as an academic coder), and some time with Visual Basic. (The VB was the front-end to a machine translation engine written in Lisp, which then had the misfortune to be itself translated into C++ for “tuning” — that was a great example of a very neat underlying concept suffering from its translation into a product. Which is to say a triumph of computer science over software engineering.) I’ve never had a job where I got to work in Lisp or Prolog, but then again I’ve never had to work in Cobol or Fortran, so I’ll count my blessings.

As far as this blog is concerned, I’m likely to dart about a little, but my core interests are (perhaps) type systems, geometric modeling (and trying to take advantage of all the cool pre-computed rendering tricks with dynamic content), and clean architecture.

Architecture is kind of my unifying theme, since the things I’m blogging about are solely side projects done on my own time, so I don’t exactly have the QA staff to get away with hack-and-slash development, nor the dev resources to go off and spend months writing a back-end library unless it’s the focus of my project. Instead, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can’t afford not to spend time up-front thinking about how the app needs to be structured; it’s that or pure chaos (followed by abandoning the project for a month to take care of the yard, followed by a slow puzzled look when I try to figure out just what I’d intended the “// just a placeholder” class to actually do).

1 Comment »

  1. Cool blog. I enjoy reading your line of thought on application development.

    Comment by Alex — June 7, 2013 @ 9:19 am

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