This morning I worked up a solution to today's Programming Praxis challenge (find it here). The code was simple enough to write (and yes, I wrote it on my Galaxy S5). A few minutes after I committed the solution to git, I decided I wanted to tweak a function name.
Github provides an easy enough way to edit a file and commit the change. The catch is that I know from countless goofs that even the most trivial change needs to be checked before committing. I could fire up my Android Scheme Dev environment without much difficulty, but at the time, I had a Firefox window open to Github on my Laptop. It occurred to me: surely there had to be an online Scheme REPL I could test my fix with. Then I wouldn't have to leave my browser (much less my dev environment).
I give you repl.it. Here's my fix in action:
Now I know this snippet of code was pretty trivial, but still, I'm floored by how impressive repl.it is. As an educational tool, it's nothing short of amazing. All you need is a web browser and some time, and you can be on your way to learning how to program.
OK Ladies and Gentlemen, ready to learn to program? Here are the two URLs you're going to need:
- Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP). Depending on who you ask, it's either the greatest text ever written on the topic of programming, or absolute junk. I belong to the former camp.
- repl.it. Don't just read SICP, execute it. Run the code. Solve the examples. repl.it seems powerful enough to do just that.
So stop surfing, and start learning!