Issue 55

Lori M Olson Lori M Olson Follow Mar 04, 2020 · 8 mins read
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DRD055: It's the once-a-year special 7DRL Edition!

OPED ― Our Unvarnished Opinion

As I was recording the final lessons of the Programming Fundamentals with Ruby course last week, I found myself making sure that I stressed the importance of readable code several times. This tweet/example popped up on my radar last week…

…and I just think it’s such an excellent example of readable code. There is no doubt that the first version is more concise. However, the second version of this method actually reads like a set of business rules. “It reads” - that is the fundamental difference between the two. The first one is a logic problem to be puzzled out. The second one can be read line by line and completely understood, based on the names of the methods and the simple logic that is revealed. If you thought that the first answer is more correct, you would be wrong. Dumb verbose code that ANYONE can read is always going to be better than concise, clever code.

Speaking of Programming Fundamentals with Ruby…read on! ― WNDXLori

We’re within earshot of the factory floor where the school videos are cranked out. We have noticed, recently, that the multiple overlapping sounds of jackhammers, drill presses, tubing benders and blast furnaces have subsided in favour of the dulcet tones of WNDXLori’s overdubs being recorded. That’s right folks, the release of Programming Fundamentals with Ruby (PFwR) is in its final stages―it has actually been stealth launched already! There are a still a few elements to add but the keel has been laid, so the speak, and the outlines of the finished product are squinty visible, at the very least.

Have a bunch of friends bugging you to teach them “that coding stuff you do, y’know?” Never fear, you’re within a hair’s breadth of being able to flip them a really useful link instead of blowing them off entirely. Again.

DRGTK ― DragonRuby Game Toolkit

It’s March. That can only mean one thing. No, not March Madness. It’s way, way, way more important than that: it’s time for the 7DRL Challenge 2020! That’s attracted a lot of new readers to our little rag and to those we offer a hearty welcome. And just so you know that clicking that link was worth the effort we offering a steamin’ heapin’ helpin’ of DRGTK stuff:

First, speaking of stuff, how about some free stuff exclusively for participants in the 7DRL jam. Amir and the gang over at DragonRuby have made available a special DragonRuby Game Tookit - 7DRL Edition. It’s the best commercial, cross-platform 2D game engine around. This is the real deal at a price which (literally) can’t be beat. Unless they were to pay you. Which they won’t. Because they’re nice, not stupid.

Next, Amir has also contributed a big chunk of code to get you started. It’s everything you need to get a cursory version of spin attack working. Here’s a short video of what the finished product looks like. It’s impressive.

For those who are still in need of a little inspiration, check out this ‘moving art’ experiment created exclusively with the DRGTK. Seriously? You can do this? WOW. We’ve seen something like this done with an app like Brushstroke that takes a video file and simply processes it. But this code example is totally, like, synthetic zen man.

It occurs to us that to meet the excruciating time constraints of the 7DRL, you may need some tips, tricks and traps for verifying bug fixes. Amir (once again) provides an only-what-you-really-need-to-know tutorial on the use of the DRGTK replay and save state capabilities to verify bug fixes. The tutorial has kind of a Bloomberg-terminal-on-acid vibe, but the instructional content is truly without parallel.

And finally, just one more thing from our friend Amir Rajan: “Ship something. Anything. Keep it small. Build it with love. And make even $5 off of it. You’ll learn so much. Don’t toil away for 4 years and ship nothing. It’ll drain you.” </caustic-sarcasm>We couldn’t agree more<caustic-sarcasm>.

Setting aside our caustic sarcasm for just one more moment, </caustic-sarcasm>this is a fantastic opportunity for you to finally ditch that uber-boring accounting software you have to write to put food on the table. You can then unleash your ‘inner’ code on the world. So, get busy! We’re looking forward to featuring some of the great new games you create!<caustic-sarcasm>

DRSH ― Dragon Riders Slack Highlights

Wow, that was a lot of column-inches, so some short snappers from the Dragon Riders Slack:

It’s time for one of those benevolent despotism from The Big A, which is that all new apps and updates must be built with iOS 13 SDK. You can’t fight it so better to just get on with it.

Another only-what-you-really-need-to-know post from Martin Kolb on how to access the keychain from RubyMotion.

See what you’re missing out on, you Dragon Riders non-members?

ANDROID ― Nothin’ but…

We made a promise at the beginning of the year to feature more Android content so here are a couple of items in that realm:

First, a very well written article from Android Central on 2 Factor Authentication. That seems to be popping up everywhere these days so best ‘…git on board that Love Train’†.

And a not-a-listacle-despite-the-title article by James Ewen on 5 Key Mobile App Statistics App Developers Should Know. Go ahead, just try and not click that link to find out if your thing, whatever that is, is one of the five.

Incidentally, you would be stunned (or not) to know what percentage of our readers are Android-centric. It certainly stunned us.

GOTW ― Gem of the Week

SugarCube, which “hope[s] to make development in rubymotion more enjoyable” by dealing with Cocoa and CocoaTouch’s verbosity, has had some updates recently. Thanks to Liu Lantao for his contributions, and Andrew Havens for managing the new release.

COMM ― Community

As usual, some really valuable content from the COMM:

Paul Haddad inadvertently kicks off a discussion on universal purchase with a backhanded (?) complement. Spoiler alert: there’s some debate about it.

We missed this one back in December but we’re only too pleased to feature, for the second issue in a row, an item from Shawn ‘Swyx’ Wang with a title we think is priceless: In Defense of Hammers. We’re in awe of Shawn’s irresistible, damn-near-clickbait headline writing skills.

AHTW ― App Highlight This Week

The editors of the New Yorker magazine are famous for their saying (we’re paraphrasing): “we don’t care about the audience at all…we simply write a magazine we would want to read ourselves”. Well sort of along those lines, perhaps think about creating an app for just one person like this mom did for her three year old daughter. Start by making that one ‘customer’ happy and take it from there. You may be amazed as to how far you’re able to get.

TWIL ― This Week I Learned

Well, as is usually the case, we’re a day late and a dollar short. But for the issues of DRD which fell in Black History Month we somehow missed the story of who actually created the video game industry. </caustic-sarcasm>Jerry Lawson, we are eternally in your debt<caustic-sarcasm>.

HAHA ― And They All Laughed

At the risk of being offensive (actually we really don’t care if we are) we try to laugh only with people, not at people, but sometimes we have to make an exception. Any dev who puts a message like this out where any human can see it really should have their epaulets cut off, their sword broken in half and pushed out into the desert to fend for themselves††. It’s a credit score app, FFS, you’re already scared enough.

That’s a Wrap!

Despite what we were able to come up with this issue, still don’t want to miss the next edition of The world’s best DragonRuby newsletter? Then you had better subscribe and every other week DRD will come to you absolutely free! We’re also on Twitter and Instagram and we really hope you’ll follow us there for content you can’t get anywhere else.

†Any takers on that? Band? Name of song? Year released? Name of second backup singer from the left?

††Anybody who gets this weird, geriatric, ye-olde-golden-age-of-television reference gets extra credit. No money. No prizes. Just ‘credit’, whatever that is. Without googling it, what was the name of the show and who starred in it?