I’ve settled into a bit of a rhythm lately, spending my days working on Python code from home, continuing my project to integrate the various vendor that I use as part of my job via their APIs. In the evenings, after the girls have gone to bed, I’ve been working on various personal and school projects, or watching various computer science related videos. Friday to Saturday evenings, however, we’ve been doing a tech Shabbat, so I’ve been trying to find ways to get the girls out of the house as much as possible. More on that another time.
I finished watching the MIT Lisp series a week or two ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s a freshman-level class, as it’s fair to say that it’s probably more challenging than anything I’ve taken at my current university other than autotonoma theory. It covers so much, and Lisp, or Scheme, rather, has such a simple syntax, that it is really interesting to see how everything can be built up from these simple data structures and procedures.
Since I finished those, I’ve been watching a lot of Pycon videos to try and level up my understanding of some of the more advanced programming idioms that Python has. I’ve finally wrapped my head around list and dictionary comprehension, and have finally figured out what generators are good for. I’m going to to be exploring async and threading next.
In the last post, I was talking about the Ameritrade API and the work I’ve been doing to wrap my head around that. Well, yesterday I logged into my account and saw a notice that they were being bought out by Charles Schwab. Since I’ve been rather frustrated with the whole debugging process for that, I’ve decided to step away from that for a few days and decide whether it makes sense to continue with that or not. I don’t get the sense hat Schwab has a a very open system, and I’m not really enthusiastic about starting from scratch. Maybe I can find a broker with an open, standards compliant API that I can rollover to?
One of the main vendors that we use at work has a SOAP API that uses XML to transmit data. I spent several days trying to figure out how all the WSDL definitions work to see if I could use some metaprogramming to dynamically inspect the various entity attributes. Creating XML queries via chained method calls seems overly complicated, so I’ve been looking at how Django builds their SQL queries using QuerySet calls like
Entity.objects.get(id='foo'). It’s much simpler, but it’s such a higher-level design program that I’ve become overwhelmed.
In general, that’s been the feeling lately, overwhelmed. It’s a different type of feeling than I have when I’m overcome with personal obligations and scheduling items. Now, it’s more like my programming ideas are getting to the point where it’s getting hard to intellectually manage them. The solution at this point seems to be to step back and work on something else, and give my brain time to work on the problem offline. An idea might pop into my head on it’s own, or a programming video might give me an idea on how to tackle a problem.
I’ve been trying to stay focused, by limiting the number of things that I’m allowing myself to work on, whether software projects or learning a new piano piece. But sometime you have to step back, and apply skills in to other problems that may reveal solutions in unexpected ways.