Monday, December 4, 2017

Music for Coding

Writing good code takes concentration. As easily distracted as I am, I have to find ways to drown out the noise around me. That's why when it's time to write code, I slap on my QC25 headphones and spin up the tunes. Today I thought I'd share what I listen to.

In order to stay focused, I need music that's not distracting - if there are lyrics or catchy melodies, it'll break my concentration. So most of the time, I turn to video game music, because it's crafted to sit in the background.

So without further delay, here are the albums that I listen to the most when I write code.

Child of Light

Child of Light has an absolutely amazing soundtrack, with simple but intriguing arrangements that largely feature piano, cello, and other strings. There are a variety of more intense songs mixed in, but overall the mood reflects the storybook art style of the game. I'm almost certain that I've listened to this album more than any other album ever, because I listen to it almost every single day that I write code.

The game was also a lot of fun - it's a simple RPG with characters that are likable, and a story that's immersive but not overly complex.

Hollow Knight

I purchased the Hollow Knight soundtrack just a few months ago, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite albums to code to. The mysterious nature of this soundtrack lends itself well to thinking, and it has just the right amount of action songs mixed in to keep you moving forward. This is another one that I've started listening to almost every day.

Ori and the Blind Forest

I've you've played Ori and the Blind Forest, you know that the game is a masterpiece in almost every respect. The music is absolutely commensurate with the breathtaking visual art of the game.

The music is more thematic than Child of Light, so there are sections that draw my attention a bit more, but overall it's still a fantastic album to listen to when you write code.

Dust: An Elysian Tale

Dust was an amazing game. The gameplay was addicting, and the world was immersive. And it was basically made all by a single guy - an artist named Dean Dodrill who decided to write a video game with XNA. The postmortem is an excellent read.

The soundtrack was done by HyperDuck SoundWorks, and it's also a great album to code to. It's also got some tracks that are a bit more thematic, but overall still works well for writing code.


This one's not a video game soundtrack, but I still found it to be a great album for concentration. Tracey Chattaway's Nightsky album has songs that have a slow, steady, warm sound to them, which is fantastic when I need to slow down and think.

How about you?

So those are some of my favorite albums for concentration when I'm writing code. How about you? What do you listen to?

Monday, October 23, 2017

My Latest Project: TypeAlias

There are lots of great reasons to explore new programming languages, even if you don't end up using them in production. I especially appreciate the new perspective that they give me. And sometimes, I come across a language that ends up being a fantastic fit for the particular set of problems that I'm working on at the time.

As I focused a lot of my development efforts on Android over the past year, I came to appreciate the benefits of Kotlin quickly. I liked it back when it was in beta a few years ago, and I put in enough time with the language to understand most of what it had to offer.

But there's

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kotlin Gradle Blooper!

This weekend I had a blast working through the Kotlin Koans, so I thought I'd fire up my IDE and try my hand at porting one of my existing hobby projects from Groovy to Kotlin.

As I began working on it, I was surprised to notice that some of the cool features from the Koans and other examples online weren't available to me in my project -- things like doing, listOf(), and even forEach on my List<> objects.

My build.gradle file was including the kotlin-gradle-plugin, of course, but if you want all the goodies, you've got to also include the Kotlin Standard Library:

dependencies {
    compile 'org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-stdlib:$kotlin_version_number'

Naturally, the instructions for configuring dependencies for the Kotlin Gradle plugin say very clearly to include it, and they even give a full example. I guess in my excitement I just skipped over that part! My bad, yo.

So... if you're a Kotlin newb like me and your code seems to be missing some major Kotlinness, be sure to include the Standard Library!

Leeds out.

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Dave Leeds
My Hobbies:
  • Programming
  • Cartooning
  • Music Writing
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