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[Comments] (8) Shoes: Often I complain to Evan (and anyone who will listen, which mostly means Evan) about my childhood growing up in the middle of a grape field. There's no point dwelling on the past like this, but I do it anyway. Here's the approximate rundown: I was just ordinarily unhappy until in early 1994 I got a copy of The New Hacker's Dictionary at the Cal Poly SLO college bookstore. I was a middling BASIC programmer, and suddenly I wanted to be a terrible C programmer who made an ass of himself on Usenet. This, I felt, was the future. But this future required connections and money and knowledge I didn't have. Frustration!

Now I can see things I could have done back then, but I'm fifteen years older and I've achieved the dream of being a terrible C programmer who makes an ass of himself. So I'm kind of nonplussed when I see people like famous science fiction author David Brin wax about the 80s and early 90s as a golden age of kids' programming education. BASIC, be it GW or Q, is lame, and to paraphrase a common saying about SF, the golden age of programming education is whatever age you are when you get Internet access.

These days the problem is that there is a plethora of programming environments, fragmenting the market for supplementary educational material. The one I most wish I'd had in 1994 is definitely Shoes, _why's Ruby toolkit that lets you do GUI programming with web-programming-like layout instead of the dominant widget-packing layout paradigm which is pretty insane. Of course in 1994 it would have been ANSI art windows or something, but you get my point, which is: Shoes is awesome.

My blurb for Shoes is: "Super-Hypercard". And rather than do a big boring document for Shoes like I did with Beautiful Soup, _why did the Shoes documentation as a fun little book. The dude is classy.


Posted by Kristen at Sun Mar 16 2008 12:48

I'm not sure I understood any other that.

Posted by Kristen at Sun Mar 16 2008 12:48


Posted by Rachel at Sun Mar 16 2008 12:58

wow its still there. apparently.

Posted by Claudia at Tue Mar 18 2008 13:16

Don't call it a grape field, call it a vineyard. It will give you a whole new outlook.

Posted by Leonard at Tue Mar 18 2008 13:17

Yeah, outlook on a bunch of grapes.

Posted by Susie at Tue Mar 18 2008 20:30

I miss that house sometimes.
I don't call it a vineyard either. Vineyards are for Napa Valley and Nor Cal


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