Terraform – infrastructure automation and management tool.  It complements configuration management tools like Puppet and Chef, as well as infrastructure building tools like CloudFormation.  The beauty of it is that it is tool and cloud agnostic.  You can use it to build and maintain infrastructure across multiple clouds.

Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Geography changed too. After the war the Treaty of Versailles carved out new countries from what remained of the old pre-war empires. Independence was granted to the Baltic states, which had been handed to Germany in 1918 as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian involvement in the first world war. Poland was reconstituted from former Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian territories, and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and a larger Romania were created.

Check the link for the cool swipe map overlay.

The goal() challenge

I came across the goal() challenge this morning.

g()(‘al’) is a challenge whereby you need to write in as many languages as possible code which enables the code g()(‘al’) to return the string “goal”, the code g()()(‘al’) to return the string “gooal”, the code g()()()(‘al’) return the string “goooal”, etc.

Interestingly enough, the table of solutions for different languages lists my three least liked languages – Java, Ruby, and PHP – as the ones to be improbably used. These languages don’t support the necessary syntax to make it work.

Given that I spend most of my days around PHP developers, I decided to play around and see if I can figure out a way to do it in PHP.  After all, the challenge allows breaking rules in a smart way.  What exactly is smart – that’s not up to me.

My initial approach was to apply the technique I learned in my Perl days – using __DATA__ or __END__ special literals – to stop the processing of the script and adding more data to it.  I’ve never tried that in PHP, but that turned out to be quite possible with the use of __halt_compiler() function.  I’ve submitted the Pull Request, but it still felt like cheating.

So my second approach was completely different.  If PHP doesn’t support the necessary syntax, why not just add it such support?  A quick search for how write a lexer in PHP turned up with this handy article.  I pretty much did a copy-paste of it and find-and-replace for the needs of the challenge.  Hence the second Pull Request.

While both of the solutions aren’t exactly what the challenge was about, I think this was still useful as I’ve learned a thing or two.