Isn’t it wonderful when you get to go in and clean things up? The best, for me, is when I’ve learned a lot in a year or two and I get to re-do an old crufty program or a badly-designed page with what I’ve improved at.
What have you gone back and fixed lately?
Of course, Quarto has kind of an intimidating “install me first” list. Here’s what I needed to do:
I got to skip installing Git. If you need to install it, be sure to install XCode as well, which probably needs to happen from the Mac App Store these days.
brew update, because I hadn’t in awhile.
Install Pandoc. The package failed, so I had to use Homebrew to brew install haskell-platform, then cabal update, possibly cabal install cabal-install and finally cabal install pandoc. Haskell-platform can take 15 minutes to compile. If you need to install a new cabal-install (it’ll tell you if you do), that also takes awhile to compile. You can keep going, though – nothing else on this list depends on Pandoc until Quarto itself.
Install pygments. For me, that meant first installing pip (easy_install pip), a Python package manager, then pip install pygments.
Install xmllint (brew install libxml2).
Download and install PrinceXML, the free version. Unpacked, ran ./install.sh.
Install xmlstarlet (brew install xmlstarlet).
Install fontforge (brew install fontforge).
I didn’t need to install Ruby or RubyGems. If you do — well, try to make sure you get Ruby 1.9 or higher. This step could be difficult if you’re not already a Rubyist. We’re working on it :–(
gem install quarto
Looks like I’m not the first to notice that Quarto takes some installing :–)
Also looks like Quarto wouldn’t be too hard to put together a Homebrew recipe for.
When I was taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class awhile back (it’s awesome!) they said something that stuck with me.
“None of you are good enough to hit your motorcycle’s limits, even with these little bikes. You’ll have to ride for years before you’re hitting the bike’s limits instead of yours.”
I’m close to 40. I will never again get smarter, quicker, or have a better memory. My brain has a performance curve — I haven’t hit the “descending rapidly” part or anything, but it doesn’t go up from here.
It has still taken many years to start hitting my brain’s limits. I just wasn’t a good enough operator yet.
Here’s the thing: if you want to meet Britney Spears, odds are good that Britney Spears doesn’t want to meet you.
If you’re Lady Gaga, then Britney Spears probably does want to meet you.
But if you say, “hey, I’m Lady Gaga!” and you’re not, that doesn’t work.
You have to go be Lady Gaga, out where everybody can see.
And then Britney may say, “hey, you seem pretty cool. Wanna hang out?”
Ruby lets you hook in and see (and change!) a lot of behavior of the core language. Methods, constants, classes, variables… Ruby lets you query them all, and change a lot about them.
These are just hooks — things Ruby calls in response to something happening. That’s different from, say, all the methods you can call to find our what’s defined and how — like instance variables, or method bindings, or…
Here’s summaries and links for all the hooks I could find (thanks to Google and StackOverflow!):
There’s a semi-famous book, The Art of the Metaobject Protocol by Kiczales, des Rivieres and Bobrow. Alan Kay, the guy who invented SmallTalk and the phrase “Object Oriented”, called it the best book in ten years.
But it’s takes some describing.
What is a Metaobject Protocol?
You know how Ruby has a class called “Class”? And how all classes are instances of it? And how Class is a subclass of Module?
The Metaobject protocol asks, “what if there were more subclasses of Class? And you could make classes from them, instead of plain old Class?”
Also, it includes what we’d now call introspection functions — they didn’t usually call it that twenty years ago when this was published.
But what, specifically, does that mean?