Matt Segal Dev

Blog Posts

Studying programming: where to start

You have zero programming knowledge and you want to start learning to code. Where do you start?

Maybe you want to learn enough to get yourself a coding job, or you're planning to study computer science in the future and you want to try it out before you start your …

Studying programming: pace yourself

You can learn programming all by yourself and get a coding job. Just you, your laptop and the internet. It's great! You don't have to pay thousands of dollars for a degree and you can work at your own pace.

There's a problem with this approach though: with no teacher …

Studying programming: tools or theory?

When you're studying web development you have a lot to learn and limited time. One of the hard choices that you'll need to make is whether you learn tools or concepts. Should you study data structures and algorithms to be a web developer? It seems kind of esoteric. Do you …

How to diagnose and fix slow queries with Django Debug Toolbar

Your Django views are running slowly and you want to make them faster, but you can't figure out what the issue is just by reading the code. Just as bad is when you're not sure if you're using the Django ORM correctly - how can you know if the code you …

Studying programming: what to learn next?

A lot of people trying to teach themselves programming have an anxiety about what they should be learning. There is an endless array of options - you've seen these ridiculous lists of online courses, right? There's too much to learn and not enough time! You don't want to waste time learning …

Keeping your config files valid with Python

It's common to use a config file for your Python projects: some sort of JSON or YAML document that defines how you program behaves. Something like this:

# my-config.yaml
num_iters: 30
population_size: 20000
cycle_type: "long"
use_gpu: true
plots: [population, infections, cost]

Storing config in a file is nice because it …

8 helpful tools for programming on Windows

Software development on Windows can be a pain. Not because of any issues with C#, .NET or the operating system, but simply because the tools surrounding your work can be quite clunky by default. I'm talking about the lack of a package manager, PowerShell's ugly blue terminal with no tabs …

Run your Python unit tests via GitHub actions

You've written some unit tests for your Python app. Good for you! There are dozens of us, dozens! You don't always remember to run your tests, or worse, your colleagues don't always remember to run them.

Wouldn't it be nice to automatically run unit tests on every commit to GitHub …

Simple Django deployment part six: domain setup

We're very nearly done deploying our Django app. There's just one more thing we should take care of. Having a raw IP as our website address is kind of yucky, isn't it? You're not going to ask your friend, boss, or mum to visit to check …

Simple Django deployment part five: deployment automation

Deploying our Django app involved a lot of different commands, right? It would suck to have to do all that over again, wouldn't it?

Having to manually type all those commands again would be tedious, slow and easy to screw up. Even worse, the harder it is to deploy, the …

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