Thursday, August 07, 2008

Entering Dangerous Territory!

For a while now I've lived a double life.  (shh... don't tell my wife)

At work I've been immersed into Microsoft; Office (especially Excel and Access), VBA, SQL Server, VB6, ASP and now VB.NET (actually ASP.NET). Even if it doesn't come from Microsoft the clients have been Windows-only at work and home such as Cognos, Crystal Reports, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Photoshop.

At home, though, I've been toying around with Linux distros ever since a friend of mine introduced me to Red Hat. At that time I was running Windows 98, Macs were coming out all nice and shiny and there was no way I could afford one (and all the software to do what I currently was doing in Windows).  Since then, I've been hooked; installed multiple distributions over-and-over again, active on multiple Linux forums and now the special interest group leader for the Linux SIG.

These two worlds don't meet very much because some of the things I use in Windows such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher, Live Writer and Visual Studio do not transfer over the same to Linux. sure there are applications to do the same thing (Gimp, Scribus, Monodevelop) but they are either clunky or don't have some feature/ease that I am used to.  Photoshop is probably the one to lose out first.

I've liked the idea of Mono, the open source project that creates a framework allowing .NET applications to work on multiple platforms without having to rewrite the code.  Really cool, but hte problem for me is that the IDE, Monodevelop, is rather klunky for me and doesn't fit well on my laptop screen. Plus Mono is prmarily a Gnome-based tool, with close bindings to the GTK+ toolkit and I've been moving more and more to KDE.

So last night the person who started my computer schizophrenia has returned, and has planted another seed of restful night destruction!  He convinced me to download and install Eclipse and Java!

Danger! Danger!

My previous attempts at Java were failures because I didn't know enough about programming or object oriented programming. Now that I've been taking classes for .NET through work I have a better understanding than ever before. 

Now I know enough that last night it was easy enough to download and install everything, determine I was missing the Java development environment from Eclipse, and to write the ubiquitous "Hello World" application and understand what I was doing!

He says tonight he'll get me started on .JSP pages, which is appropriate since most of my VB and .NET programming have been web-based and this will get me into integrating a visual aspect with the code-behind piece.

Of course the real test (kiss of death?) will be when I can make something in Linux and use it on a Windows machine.  That, and once I get my home server running web pages I'll really be in trouble.