Cool Tech – LightTable

Every now and then, it seems that new and interesting technologies just come out of nowhere. A buddy of mind sent me a link today and simply said, something like “check that out”.  I didn’t know what it was and he didn’t say much.

When I had some time to look at it, which I just did like 20 minutes back, I was really really excited.  You see, I have been trying to cultivate some interest in programming in the young family members, cousins, nephews, nieces, and even my youngest sister.  One of the problems you have, when you start thinking or even embark on teaching someone to program, are the following: which language would be easiest while being fun and eventually usable (you don’t want to tell someone they are learning to program, but can’t create even simple interesting app), and how quickly you can go from coding to seeing results.  There are other issues too, like how good is the development tool and the help system.

Fortunately, HTML and JavaScript fit the bill almost perfectly. They are not the greatest languages, but they are easy to learn, you can use tools and utils already on your computer (without the need to download anything else), and you do get to see impressive result.  I always get oh and ah when I show people who have never programmed, just how easy it is to write some text and have the looks of it modified with just a few simple tags.

So when I went to check out LightTable, and just read a bit about it, I was immediately interested.  Then I watched the first YouTube video.  Then I realized that this is something that I can use to teach young people and people new to programming how to program in JavaScript. They get instance feedback in the Web browser tab.

So here is to LightTable and I hope they keep developing it. There have been so many good things coming my way in the last few weeks.  Not too long ago, it was Ember JS and Handlebars.  Before that was Backbone (which lead me to Ember JS).  I found out about the Foundation CSS library while researching even more Ember JS.  And while cool, but not web centric, I have been learning quite a bit about OpenStack cloud platform.  It is a great day to live very long.


Updated: May 01, 2013 @ 5:04 AM PT

Forgot to add few other things to the list. Not necessarily in the correct reverse order, but pretty close.  So there was Sublime Text 2, Notation Velocity, and TreeJS (JavaScript 3D library), and a slew of new features in Spring 3.2.0 that made your life in Spring that much more fun and easier. I really like the JavaConfig stuff and Spring Data (repository), which adds Grails like dynamic finders.  Hopefully I am not forgetting anything else.

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