I’ve just had my first week at my new job working for cloudmade. OpenStreetMap has progressed from being an interest, and then a hobby, and then an obsession. Now OpenStreetMap is my job. Maybe that makes me one of those annoying smug people doing the job of their dreams.
But lets not get carried away now. There’s lots of work to be done. I’m going to need to learn the ropes of proper OpenStreetMap coding. No more skulking in the side-lines fiddling with the OpenStreetMap wiki (well OK I’ll still be doing a fair bit of that)
I’m in the process of learning Ruby on Rails, a super-modern agile web development language the likes of which my old “enterprise” clients wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. It’s pretty impressive, with lots of nifty short-cuts around the tedious bits of building a database-driven web-app. I can see why people rave about it. I guess I should remain a little sceptical about just how wonderfully easy it all is, until after I’ve done some real work with it and tried solving my own problems outside of the scripted tutorials. I did scrabble around with some rails “views” before (at the November hack weekend) without really knowing what I was doing. I know a little bit more now, although I may still need to go back and learn Ruby properly. Anyway, it’s fun to be learning a funky new language.
In addition to that, I’m also learning to use Linux as a full desktop OS. Ubuntu comes with some fairly user-friendly pointy clicky GUIs but of course they’re all different from what I’m used to (windows, and my various favourite windows apps) so every little click involves overcoming muscle-memories. The all-powerful linux command line is not completely alien to me, having learned quite a few unix tricks over the years, generally through a putty window running in my (nice familiar pointy clicky) windows desktop. But in general switching to another OS feels like doing everything with one hand tied behind my back. I guess I’ll get over it. No self-respecting open source developer uses windows right?
It’s great to be surrounded by people who are embracing open source and all the newest web technologies. This is the way IT companies should be, and developing for OpenStreetMap, I have a lot of new stuff to learn, but this feels like a job I can get passionate about.