Mel Reams


Dev tool of the day

Considering how many javascript and other fiddles there are out there, it shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise that there’s a SQL Fiddle too. We use MongoDB at my work so I haven’t actually tried SQL Fiddle myself, but if you do write SQL and ever need help, it looks like an amazing tool for collaboration.

How does variable scope work?

Scope is where a variable exists can be accessed in your code, and it’s surprisingly complicated. The short version is that a variable that was declared inside a block only exists inside that block. Great, what’s a block? In Java, it’s anything between a set of curly brackets { }. Blocks can be nested, too. A method inside of a class can see the class’s variables, and a block inside.. Read More

Chrome extension of the day

You know what sucks? Desperately trying to figure out how you broke your html layout, only to discover hours later that you had an invisible element or padding or a margin that was quietly ruining everything. Pesticide to the rescue! Pesticide is a very simple Chrome extension that does just one thing – it outlines all of your elements. That’s it. I have a thing for simple tools that do.. Read More

Things they don’t tell you in school about production code

One of many things school can’t really prepare you for is what it’s actually like to write production code. That’s not a knock on my education or anyone else’s, it’s just not possible to get the experience of writing production code without, you know, writing production code. That said, I’m going to try to explain it anyway :) Like I said in When is it done?, when I was in college.. Read More

Git tip of the day

If you are at all confused about git rebasing (like basically everyone else ever), this guide is really helpful. It explains what rebasing actually does, why you would want to do it, how to do it, and most importantly, when not to do it.

Why is javascript called javascript?

Or more specifically, why is javascript called javascript when it has basically nothing in common with java? First, let’s have a little context. Javascript originally ran only in the browser and made webpages interactive. Java was primarily a server-side language but could run in the browser in the form of applets (they’re very rarely used now, don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them). Javascript is also dynamically typed (you can put.. Read More

App + tweak of the day

One of the Android apps I use most often – to be fair, that’s because you set it up once and leave it alone – is Twilight. It’s basically f.lux for Android. Technically f.lux for Android is f.lux for Android, but it only works for some phones and requires root. f.lux (and Twilight) if you haven’t already heard of it, automatically changes the colour balance of your screen to a warmer,.. Read More

Should you get a certification?

A question I’ve seen a lot on java programming forums is “Should I get a certification?” Like every other programming question ever, the answer is “it depends.” Don’t worry, I’m going to explain what it depends on and how you can figure out whether or not it makes sense for you to get a certification. First of all, I want to admit up front that I’m skeptical about programmer certifications. I’ve seen excellent.. Read More

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