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   Revision #5 - 1/27/2009 4:30 PM     

Podcast 035

Atwood: Hi, Joel.

Spolsky: Hey, Jeff.

Atwood: Hey sorry I was a little slow to answer the phone there.

Spolsky: That's okay, I was a little bit early today.

Atwood: Yeah, I see that.

Spolsky: By one minute.

Spolsky: I was just running out of things to do.

Atwood: Yeah, are you actually at the office now?

Spolsky: I am, yeah.

Atwood: It's pretty dead there, I would hope.

Spolsky: Uh, it's about half. I think we're about half staffed right now.

Atwood: Yeah, well my boss is kind of a jerk. He doesn't always give me time off, and often I have to come into the office at odd hours.

Spolsky: You don't have a boss.

Atwood: I know.  That's the joke.  It's really hilarious.

Spolsky: Ha ha ha.  You were working on servers there, over the, uh, Christian holiday.







Spolsky: Any other major StackOverflow news or should we move on to some generally interesting things?

Atwood: Well, there is one thing I have to talk about, so... One thing that we've been really stalled on for a long time, with regards to developing the site, is the editor.  So, the actual box where you enter your post and, it accepts markdown, and does all the fancy JavaScript.

Spolsky: Mmm hmm.

Atwood: That control. It has an unfortunate name, it's called the WMD control.

Spolsky: Yes.

Atwood: But it's a great control and it's worked really well for us.  However, there are some bug in it that I want to fix.  And what's been keeping me from doing that is we don't have unobfuscated source for that.  We have the minified JavaScript, like the version that's tiny so it's faster to download by your browser...

Spolsky: You still don't have that?

Atwood:  We still don't have that.  I've been emailing... something happened... Okay, so, John Fraser the author, super nice guy.  Super helpful, in the beginning.  Kinda just fell off the planet.  Like...

Spolsky: Maybe he did.

Atwood: ...almost literally.  I don't know what happened.

Spolsky: Gravity doesn't apply in his neck of the woods.

Atwood: If anyone hearing this knows John Fraser, or knows how to contact John Fraser, please do so on our behalf, and I will thank you forever, but I can't get him to respond to me anymore. Which is weird, because he was very responsive in the beginning.

Spolsky:  I thought this was, wait.  I'm confused.  I thought this was a Google thing?  No, that was the code coloring, that was a Google...

Atwood: That's the code colorization, which is different.  This is the actual GUI control.

Spolsky: So, what this is, is a version of Markdown that runs in JavaScript. 

Atwood: A version of Markdown that runs in JavaScript and gives you a realtime preview, which is essential.


Atwood:  Let's go a little bit... Let's go like ten minutes long this time because I do want to do a Stackoverflow question because I have a really good one.  So we'll be a little bit long, but I think it's OK because we didn't have a show last week.  Um.  So the one I want to talk about is "Array's, What's the Point".

Spolsky: Oh, yeah, that was a good... that was surprisingly good.

Atwood: 392397 is the number.  I'll obviously link in the show notes.  The funny thing about his one is that I actually read about it through a third party.  Like I didn't even actually find it on the Stackoverflow site.

Spolsky: 'inaudible ' on Reddit I think.  Or Hackernews.

Atwood: It might have been on Reddit.  I saw it because Damian Katz blogged about it and, uh,  I was just surprised to see him reference a Stackoverflow question.  And and his point was, and I tend to agree, is that, arrays, it's interesting, but arrays really have kind of lost a lot of their significance in , sort of, modern programming languages.  That, uh, you know, a lot of time we use data structures that kind of abstract away the fact that underneath they might be using arrays, or they might not be, it doesn't really matter.  But very little of the time are you going, you know like, a sub one or a sub two.  It's just not a very super-common activity.  And, that was his initial reaction was "how could people not understand arrays, that's incredible, that's ridiculous, we're not teaching our students" and then his second reaction was "wait a minute, there's something to this.  Like, maybe arrays.. We've kind of moved away from arrays as, like, a fundamental data structure because, you know, they're too low level ultimately."  Like pointers.  Like the whole argument would be for pointers.




Last Modified: 2/26/2010 6:07 AM

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