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Mike Kreuzer

Node and back again

20 October 2014

It's been almost nine months of hiatus. Pause. Experimentation. Time enough to have a baby! Time to get a move on.

That's most of the year so far. Six months or so of fishing around for a replacement for Objective C. (Thank you Apple for Swift, that came along just in the nick of time.) Then more months of wrestling with Swift concepts and changes while trying and failing to come up with a replacement for Ruby. Sometimes – as someone extolling Python said to me along the way – the answer is right there in front of you all along. Turns out Ruby is going to be my Ruby replacement.

I tried working with Node for most of the year, but I could never shake the feeling that in jumping from Ruby to JavaScript/Node I wasn't jumping from the frying pan into the proverbial fire. Lack of proper scope in Javascript is just too risky, and high profile defections are never a good look, with TJ Holowaychuk the highest of high profile defections from Node.

My attempts to let go of Sass were probably the hardest part of the process for me, and Libsass was always a bit of a mess. While Less is a fair bit less capable than Sass it was usually good enough for my simple needs, and would probably have been what I'd have switched to. I'd have preferred Stylus but Holowaychuk abandoned Stylus just before he abandoned Node altogether, so that's not going to be developed much any time soon.

Jade is also unlikely to go anywhere without its creator, and its indent driven syntax was visually appealing but a pain to debug. But I would probably have gone with Jade any way, I'm a sucker for clean syntax. Slim seems to work fine so far as a Ruby equivalent. (Where so far is less than 24 hours!)

Cocoapods I could let go of a lot more easily. I always feel like I should be using them more but never seem to. Homebrew I only really use to set up Node now (ironically) but it is great software. I don't have any other Ruby dependencies I can think of but I will again soon enough. I replaced Perl with Ruby as my go to scripting language in 2001 and while I never looked back I sure looked from side to side a lot. Oh well. Good to see what's going on in other worlds. Back in the fold again now, for a while.

I'm going to soldier on with Jekyll to power this blog while I rewrite a much lighter weight Ruby replacement as a side project, and work more full time on some Swift apps.

Slim templates. Sass. Markdown obviously. The blog engine doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles. It'll be nothing special, but it'll be a reasonably straightforward foundation to build on, so I'll put it up on Github when I've tested it in anger for a bit. Another nine months from now at most.

Update, January 2015: After all that I went with Javascript & Node