It’s with great pleasure I hereby announce the Member of the Month award of April 2021, Martyr2!
Martyr2 has generously been sharing knowledge and insight in the forums every day since he joined!
Now lets hear a cheering applause for Martyr2, the new Member of the Month April 2021, before we dive into the interview:
First the ultimately most important question in this part of the universe; How did you find SitePoint? What brought you here, and what makes you stick around??
I have always seen
sitepoint.com in my search results on various topics that I have researched. I have even seen advertisements for the various books that SitePoint offers, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to join the community and offer my expertise. I have been a long-time contributor to
dreamincode.net and a mentor to developers there since 2007. I thought I could also contribute here as well.
One question we used to ask a lot is what our Members of the Month like most about SitePoint, and if being an active member in the forums is beneficial or advantageous for you?
I certainly like the Discourse platform the community uses and I also like how SitePoint makes it easy to find answers to complex and simple questions alike. It is new user friendly unlike sites like Stackoverflow, which is authoritative, but can be a bit hostile to those learning. I often find simple questions lead to heated debates over very arcane and minor details unrelated to the original poster’s question.
You have proved to be inventive a few times and I wonder what SPF would look like if you were the all mighty overlord here. What do you think could be improvements in the forums (or of the main site too if you like)?
I would certainly look to link to more help guides from within the forum discussions, cheat sheets, pinned topics to very easy to use resources and even help guides written by community members for community members. Maybe even a template that new users can fill out that prompts them for the information we need to help.
What question, if any, are you sick of reading/answering in the forums?
I am tired of reading any question which doesn’t provide any details. Usually in the formula “I created X and it is not working. Help!” I am of the opinion that if you need help, it might be helpful to explain what you are trying to do, what you have already tried, what error messages are you seeing and any limitations that need to be put on the solution.
What games are you passionate with? Console or online? Player vs player or solo vs everyone?
I play quite a bit of Overwatch on the PC (I am a support main that dabbles in Zayra or Soldier 76 when needed). On PS4 I like sandbox style games including Elder Scrolls, Assassin’s Creed and Outer Worlds.
Tell us about Vancouver. Have you always lived there? What’s the best thing about living there?
I am originally from the US and spent about half my life in the Puget Sound region of Washington State (Seattle area). I met my spouse, who is Canadian and from the East coast, and I moved to Vancouver to be with her. I have lived in Canada since 2002 and am a dual citizen. I like Vancouver because it is very much the same climate as Seattle… bit cloudy and rainy, but a mild winter. It has mountains, lakes, oceans and even a few hour drive from desert like regions in the interior of British Columbia. The province motto is “The most beautiful place on Earth”. I don’t subscribe to that motto, but it is certainly pretty.
And a question of more general interest: What tools can’t you live without? (We’re talking web stuff here…)
Well obviously, I can’t live without Visual Studio Code and my browsers. I can’t live without their dev tools and my own set of custom-made tooling that I have created over the years which I have incorporated into my own custom dashboard. When you fire up a browser and get Google, I fire up a browser and get my dashboard which includes converters, search tools, encrypters, translators, exploring tools and feeds.
You have over 23 years of programming experience and know multiple languages – of these, which is your favorite language to program in and why? And which is your least favorite?
I get asked this a lot and it really depends on the platform I am building for. For the web I like PHP the best. It was born for the web, has tons of flexibility, tons of support and is used by a lot of sites. Even though it has historically had a bad reputation, PHP 7 and 8 have really cleaned it up a lot and does a terrific job. For desktop, if I need a GUI then .NET with C#. If without a GUI, Java. I think Java GUI development has been a disaster. For general tools development I go with Python. I would have to say I hate VB the most and if you really want me to go bonkers,
ASP.NET with VB. Microsoft should just toss
What are you excited about in the future regarding web development?
This may sound geeky, but standardization. For so long the web has been fragmented with so many technologies not being the same across browsers. Part of that was old versions of IE, but since the new versions of Edge have come out, a lot of the tech has begun converging where JS, CSS and HTML has come together in a write once, run anywhere type of fashion. Now the fragmentation in the library/package space is the other side of the coin and part of my worries for the future.
What would be the most valuable feature in a language, existing or one you would like to design?
I wouldn’t say it is a feature, but I would like to see a movement back to simplicity and the removal of “syntax sugar”. A lot of languages have started introducing short cuts that are really not short cuts because they require more mental agility to understand them and offer little in the way of understanding the underlying ideas. C# is full of this syntax sugar. Ask a lot of older C# developers and they may tell you they are not a huge fan of LINQ or the massive cut down on data structures to one-line equivalents. There is such a thing as over simplification to the point of not being simplified at all. If you don’t think it is a problem, look up “code golf” and just look at the ways you can abuse language syntax to make super small functions that are hard as hell to understand at times… sugar upon sugar.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not online or having a power outage? Can you think about anything else of interest than coding while on UPS power?
I garden. As I write this, I am currently prepping my garden for this year’s planting and grow things like Rosemary, Spinach, Oregano, Rainbow Chard, Green Beans and other veggies.
How do you keep track of what you grow and what doesn’t? What software do you use, …you don’t??
Well it is important to make sure that we seek some balance as developers. I find that being in the garden and doing something that is not immediate, takes a bit of physical work and doesn’t have immediate “problems to solve” really gives me some time to reflect and achieve a bit of a “Zen mode”. If you are a developer and don’t have such a thing to go to, I strongly encourage everyone have something they do outside of technology. Do sports, ride a bike, even a walk in the great outdoors can do wonders for your learning. Gardening and walks are those things I do to unwind and clear my mind.
Do you have a pet? How many legs should your perfect pet have (ranging zero to hundreds)?
Yes, I have a white mosaic chinchilla named Jigsaw. She is fairly old now (18 years) but still thinks she is 3. 4 legs is all the perfect animal should need and it certainly works. No need to complicate it with more or less.
If you were a superhero, who would you be, or which superpower would you like to have?
Super human intelligence. I am not talking like 300 IQ. I mean like 4000 IQ. I figure that if you have that kind of intelligence, you can think up the stuff that would give you other super powers. I need super strength and fly? I could think up a potion that could give me that. Need unlimited cash? Manipulate the stock market. Very much like the movie “Limitless”. Knowledge is power and the more you have, the more you can get. As for super hero I most relate to, Iron Man for sure. I am an engineer at heart, consider myself well educated, witty in my speech, but unlike him I definitely lack the charisma.
Would you have bought bitcoins when it was all new and you were among the first to learn about it?
Well obviously, in hindsight I would have and I thought about it. But then again back then it wasn’t as easy to buy and sell it as it is now. Plus there is so much risk in it. Sure it might be 60k a coin now, but tomorrow it could be much less. I would hate to add that much worry to my plate. Worrying will kill you!
Now, here’s your one chance to promote anything you like in your own interest?
I encourage everyone to check out my e-book titled “The Programmers Idea Book: 200 Software Project Ideas and Tips to Developing Them” which is available at https://www.coderslexicon.com/downloads/the-programmers-idea-book/. It is a book I wrote which helps programmers of all levels think of projects to create without being locked into a specific language. I point to resources, difficulty rating and provide advice to get you started. I also recommend checking out https://www.dreamincode.net . It is not as fancy and clean, but it has a ton of very smart people who work is some pretty hardcore industries. The one benefit is that they don’t talk to you like robots and not afraid to point you to other resources.
Could you tell us a little about authoring the books. What was your motivation for such a project?
Sure. At the time we had a lot of beginners, and sometimes experts too, coming onto the forums asking about projects they could do to practice. Almost like it was a form of “writer’s block”. Sometimes the hardest part about working on a project is getting started. It was such a problem that Dream.In.Code even started their own forum about it. I created a thread there just to give a few ideas and it was well received (4 million views now). I thought “How can I offer even more?”. A lot of the responses I got was “I want to do this project, but how do I know where to start? I also don’t want anything too complicated.” This triggered the thought of putting together a book that listed out 200 ideas and gave them links to resources as well as giving them a difficulty rating scale so you can pick your difficulty.
OK, is there anything else you would like to add, or say?
I also encourage everyone to take a look at Python if you haven’t already. As someone who has been in other languages for a long time (Java, .NET, C++ etc.) it really is amazing how quickly you can reach solutions in that language. It is a great utility language to automate pretty much anything you want. I wish it was a bit more universal on hosting platforms, but I am hoping that will change in the future.
Wow, great answers, Martyr2!