Hello, My Name Is Rob Conery

 

I am a software developer living in Seattle. I specialize in web development but I am currently shifting my focus a bit towards backend systems and databases. I host and produce the podcast This Developer's Life with my friend Scott Hanselman.


Before I get to the meat of this post, the code for what I've written so far is up here. The main bits are in /apps/peach.


Migrations are a simple mechanism whereby you script out some change commands for your ORM, and that ORM then builds your database for you. To me, this is pure insanity. I dislike ORMs (accept, of course, for LLBLGenPro, which is astoundingly good). Trusting your ORM to build a proper database is ... kind of weird to me. SQL is terser, more expressive and (as it turns out) just right for the job.


I was asked a great question on Slack the other day - I wish I could remember the person's name (sorry!) but I can't find it ... anyway they asked me (paraphrased):


Let's implement an intelligent shopping cart - something that tracks what the customer is doing, how they came to our store, etc. I tend to think of these things in terms of a "Session" - a shopping process where a customer selects things, puts them back, and eventually (hopefully) buys something. If I do things correctly (to me, at least), I should end up with tight little functions an exactly 0 if statements.


When you build applications in the Erlang world you create discrete processes that interact. In theory this is pretty straightforward - until you actually try to do it. Microservices fans out there know the value (and the pain) of managing a fleet of services; there are benefits to it, definitely, and also problems.


As CTO I get to call the shots here at Red:4 but I do have to answer to the CEO and others. It's easy to arm-wave, to go on and on about Elixir and functional languages - but at the end of the day it's what you do, not what you say that counts.


About 3 years ago I had an idea for creating a different kind of tutorial. Something that would combine the problem-solving of a video game, the immersion of a sci-fi story and the joy of learning something new. A tutorial you wanted to finish in the same way you want to finish a good book or fun video game.


One of the things I've had to adjust to is how I want to structure function calls in Elixir. This is forced upon you by Pattern Matching and is a Very Good Thing. Deciding on these patterns early on can really be helpful.