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Adventures in coding-land

I dreamed about a canvas painted in thick smears of black, spread so thickly the strokes seemed to move, roiling over and around each other giving depth and heft to the obscurity. Smudges of color which never quite resolved into shapes blossomed and faded on the surface, giving the impression of sinister figures shrouded in a dense murkiness.  Things that should not have been, unanticipated malignities and half-formed ideas made grotesque by their incompleteness lurked deep and deeper within.  Into the abyss I stared and I came to know with resounding, fearsome clarity that it was staring into me.

When I woke up I laughed to myself because I knew the dream was about my irrational terror of programming on the command line, something bound to worm its way into my psyche the night before my one-day introduction to Clojure with ClojureBridge London, an organisation seeking to increase diversity within the Clojure community by providing free programming workshops for women.

Fortunately the many kindly volunteers and students of all levels made it easy to shake off the Terminal Terrors and get cracking with some demos of what Clojure can be used to build, including Klangmeister, a super nifty in-browser coding environment for designing synthesizers, and Goya, a pixel art editor.

By the middle of the afternoon, I’d used quil to make an interactive drawing which tracked where my mouse was and reacted to whether I was pressing the button or not.  Then we picked up the pace and I used yada to shuttle some data of varying structures to my browser and observe its documentation.  (I know that for most of you that probably doesn’t sound very cool, but as a Professional Data Whisperer I can assure you that it is.)

We also explored open-source API data like the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s new Country Register which we used for some data-manipulation tasks like finding out how many times a record had changed and if there were any duplicates.

I did manage to save several core files in the wrong directory in my workspace, a snarl that I haven’t yet untangled, so my Terminal Terrors aren’t completly baseless.  But they are definitely receding at a healthy clip.  And at least I know what I still have to work on.  Now my only remaining problem from the day is how to get the Klangmeister demo tune out of my head.

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