Tom McAdam

metatalks: talking about the things we love

A few months ago Sergio came up with the great idea of MetaTalks: once a month we all gather round while someone talks about a topic that interests them and they’d like to share with everyone else.

He was keen to go first, and anyone who knows him would not take many guesses to work out the chosen topic: Clojure of course! He gave an excellent introduction, including some demos along the way. Those of us who’d not seen functional languages before welcomed the new way of thinking about programming, and people who had were very interested in his explanation of features like explicit recursion. His slides are on slideshare if you’d like a read for yourself.

Next up was Fred who took the opportunity to talk about Haskell. Another functional language, new to some, and to others it served as a much-needed refresher course after being taught it many years ago at university. It followed on nicely from the Clojure talk, and let us contrast the different approaches for the likes of recursion. What followed was an interesting debate on languages choices and which each of us would use in different circumstances.

As we wave a fond farewell to Keeley at the end of the week when he heads back to university, we thought we couldn’t let him leave without giving a MetaTalk of his own! Having done his university third year group project on test automation using Ruby, he decided to share his experiences of the language with us. A whistle-stop tour of language constructs such as mixins and some nifty features like reduce was given, along with a comparison to Python, which he summarised neatly as “it’s quite like Python but has a few differences” *.

MetaTalks are proving to be a welcome addition to the MetaBroadcast calendar: we’ve all learnt about new languages and they’ve led to many an interesting discussion. As you’ve read, all the talks so far have been on languages but that’s just a coincidence, and we look forward to hearing about different topics in the coming months. We generally have them on the same day as MetaBeers so conversations spill over to the evening over a MetaBeer or two and in the future we look forward to welcoming people from outside MetaBroadcast to take part. Do let us know if you’d like to!

* This quote may have been taken out of context

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