Programming as a hobby

April 27, 2007

I enjoy programming quite a bit, but seeing as I currently work in consulting, I don’t always get to program at work. However, it’s important to me to stay sharp with these skills, and this means programming as a hobby.

But how the heck do you program as a hobby? Unless you have a specific project you want to work on or a specific problem you’re trying to tackle, programming doesn’t have much of a use. As I see it, you’ve got 2 options: think of a project you want to work on or check out the sites I’m going to tell you about.

The sites I’m talking about are Codegolf and RubyQuiz. Both sites are great and both have contributed to my learning ruby over the past 8 or so months. Each site takes a slight different approach.

Codegolf is more of a competition. As the name references, the goal here is the solve a given programming problem with the absolute least amount of characters possible. This leads to crazy, hard to read, but interesting solutions. However, there’s a catch here: you can not view other’s solutions. You can discuss them on the forums, but as of right now all submissions are closed. On the up side, this does mean all challenges are always open. Forcing yourself to be concise leads to learning a lot about a language very quickly, as well. You can submit solutions in Php, Ruby, Python and Perl.

Rubyquiz, on the other hand, is what I would think of as a collaborative learning community. Each and every Friday a new “quiz” is posted to the website as well as the Ruby mailing list. Everyone has 48 hours to come up with a solution (this is a no spoiler period, don’t spoil it!) and then solutions are posted on the ruby mailing list. The following Thursday, the site’s author writes a summary of the solutions and discusses the best approaches. Best of all, the solutions are available for downloading. This site has exponentially improved my code.

Hope you enjoy these two sites, and happy coding!

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2 Responses to “Programming as a hobby”

  1. JoeB Says:

    I wish I could participate, perhaps a newbie guide would help. Those sites look amazingly fun though.

    I do like the banner image at the top! Very nice.


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