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Learning new things

It's important for every developer to learn new things. It's very easy to stay in your comfort zone, only take on tasks that you know exactly how to tackle and that can be very efficient as well - if there is something you're good at it makes sense to play to your strengths. The trouble is you don't gain experience without trying something new - go out of your comfort zone.

I've been wanting to try out the asyncio module in Python 3, and have also been meaning to try out Go for a long time. I've also been playing around with Xmpp - an open standard for messaging and presence, used for instant messaging systems - this seems like it might provide a good proving ground for comparing different programming languages. I know, I know, none of these are particularly new, but they're new to me.

My goal is to implement simple chat bots in both Python 3 and Go so I can compare and contrast the two. I'll cover this in several posts over the next weeks, with the full source available on GitHub. I'll write these posts in the style of tutorials - hopefully somebody out there will find them useful.

I'll start with a simple echo bot - all it does is echo back anything it receives. It's a simple feature set, but is very useful for getting started with Xmpp. A more interesting bot is what I've dubbed the jumper bot - it jumps between chat groups, saying a few phrases before moving on to the next group. The interesting bit for implementing it in Python 3 or Go is that I'll have one process running multiple bots, making use of the asynchronous features of each language.

In my next post I'll go over the steps of setting up an Xmpp server to experiment with, and start poking at it with some Python code, as preparation for starting the coding of the bots.



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Waiting for an answer

I want to describe my first iteration of exsim, the core server for the large scale simulation I described in my last blog post. A Listener module opens a socket for listening to incoming connections. Once a connection is made, a process is spawned for handling the login and the listener continues listening for new connections. Once logged in, a Player is created, and a Solarsystem is started (if it hasn't already). The solar system also starts a PhysicsProxy, and the player starts a Ship. These are all GenServer processes. The source for this is up on GitHub: https://github.com/snorristurluson/exsim Player The player takes ownership of the TCP connection and handles communication with the game client (or bot). Incoming messages are parsed in handle_info/2 and handled by the player or routed to the ship, as appropriate. The player creates the ship in its init/1 function. The state for the player holds the ship and the name of the player. Ship The ship holds the state of the ship - …

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Large scale ambitions

Learning new things is important for every developer. I've mentioned this before, and in the spirit of doing just that, I've started a somewhat ambitious project.

I want to do a large-scale simulation, using Elixir and Go, coupled with a physics simulation in C++. I've never done anything in Elixir before, and only played a little bit with Go, but I figure, how hard can it be?



Exsim I've dubbed this project exsim - it's a simulation done in Elixir. Someday I'll think about a more catchy name - for now I'm just focusing on the technical bits. Here's an overview of the system as I see it today:

exsim sits at the heart of it - this is the main server, implemented in Elixir. exsim-physics is the physics simulation. It is implemented in C++, using the Bullet physics library. exsim-physics-viewer is a simple viewer for the state of the physics simulation, written in Go. exsim-bot is a bot for testing exsim, written in Go. exsim-client is the game client, for inter…