Issue 84

12 May 2021

by Lori M Olson

DRD084: Sometimes an old technique can help you solve a new problem.

(image: Dim Hou via Unsplash)

OPED ― Our Unvarnished Opinion

Comment Driven Development: What's Old is New Again

So I stumbled across this blog a few weeks ago and was reading about Comment Driven Development (CDD). It was like a blast from the past. Not because in the past I used CDD, I mean, I do CDD all the time. It’s a super useful way of sort of ‘thinking out loud’, and getting the ideas out of your head, where you can look at them, and discovering what’s easy, what’s not easy, what stuff I know how to do, and what stuff I’m gonna have to look up.

But in the past, when I was at university working on an assignment with my coding partner, I developed on paper with a pen or pencil and wrote out everything in pseudocode. It looked very similar to CDD. We’d spend a lot of time planning out our projects like this, and argue about them until we thought we had them right, and then we’d go code it up. It was easy to write stuff down and it was easy to throw it away. Some people actually think better when they write things down. It is a fact that writing things down enables higher thinking.

So don’t be afraid, when you get stuck on a problem, to pull one of these techniques out of your back pocket and try them out. You’ll be surprised how much they help. — WNDXLori

Turns out by her own admission, Lori is incapable of ‘just’ producing a ‘basic’ episode of anything. So April’s edition of the Motion In Motion subscription covered Core Data Basics, Core Data Relationships, and Core Data Query, which is the gem for all your Core Data needs in RubyMotion. Here’s a short sample and then you’ll want to subscribe. You really don’t miss out on any of these great topic deep dives that Lori is producing every month.

GAME ― All Things Gaming

The big news in this issue of DRD is the DragonRuby Classics Jam: Gauntlet Edition which starts in just two days—May 15th—and runs through June 6th. The theme this time around is ‘games inspired by the 80s arcade classic Gauntlet’. And you know what? Everybody wins in this jam because anybody who joins gets a free copy of the DragonRuby Game Toolkit! Check out the DragonRuby Classics Jam page on for more information. Thanks to Olly Mills tweet for giving us a timely reminder to help get the word out.

Oh, right, and if you need something to quickly get your oriented to participate, we recommend this recent Twitch stream from ChaelCodes on building a game jam sample app.

On a completely different note and due to popular demand, we’re providing a bit more information on DragonRuby tweetcarts. Actually, it’s not us that’s providing it but rather our friend Akzidenz-Grotesk. There’s also some related discussion on Discord.

By the way we love Grotesk’s comment that “there is no real practical purpose for tweetcarts except to have fun and show off what you made”. Given that, perhaps if you do something really spectacular with tweetcarts, you should consider adding a Tip Jar (!) to your Twitter account (if you’re one of the anointed ones who are allowed) and do the Twitter equivalent of busking in a subway station.

APP ― All Things App

Remember the boss key? Y’know, that keyboard shortcut that would flash up an image of a spreadsheet as the boss walks by so she doesn’t know you’re in the process of levelling up in Gears of War 5 instead of levelling out inventory in the company’s chain of tire shops.

Well you don’t need one any more. The reason? You can now play a game right there in the Dock on your Mac. No, it’s not the immersive Gears experience but it is the relentlessly amusing 80s classic Pong but re-imagined as—you guessed it—a Dock icon. It’s based on the Mouse Finder amuse-bouche and, candidly, we think it’s quite brilliant.

Moving right along, we always love to see comprehensive installation guides especially if they are completely up to date. They’re useful both for people getting started and for those upgrading to new tools and new operating systems. In this case it’s the Install Ruby 3.0 · macOS Big Sur or Catalina. Thanks to Daniel Kehoe for this.

SPOT ― Spotlight On…

Here’s an idea: think back over the last eight work hours and do a quick self-assessment of what you actually accomplished? We did and sadly it wasn’t a hell of a lot. Well, it certainly wasn’t as much as m4rek who created Tiny Space Shooter in that same amount of time.

To think that in 1982 Space Invaders had already grossed $3.8 billion for not a heckuva lot more than m4rek’s game.

TALK ― Talk of the Tech

If you recently upgraded to macOS Big Sur and then got the ominous message your software license is expired, please visit to renew, there was a recent thread on the the Dragon Riders Slack which will help.

Meanwhile, over on DragonRuby Game Toolkit Discord channel, Amir announced the release of DRGTK 2.13. Now do you see why we keep harping about joining these two, great, free resources for DragonRuby developers?

TWIL ― This Week I Learned

This tweet from enlightened us to a quick way of remembering the branch you walked away from on Friday afternoon—and subsequently totally forgot about come Monday morning. Spoiler alert: it involves the --sort option, but beyond that we don’t want to steal Monica’s thunder.

HAHA ― And They All Laughed

If we had a swag bag to give away (we don’t) we would give it to the first person who can explain this math-oriented humour to math dolts like us. We’re sure it’s a real knee-slapper for all those out there who have a PhD in Mathematics from Stanford or Caltech. (image: Paul A. Kirschner)

That’s a Wrap!

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“I like the process of pencil and paper as opposed to a machine. I think the writing is better when it’s done in handwriting.” — Nelson deMille, bestselling author

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