Writing code is a necessary part of running modern experiments, and so too are maintaining and collaborating on written code. While the “fundamentals” of software (after all, that is the goal of writing code) is a never-ending topic full of rabbit holes, what follows is a very abridged discussion of those features most relevant to our lab’s coding needs.
The command line is the best way to interact with computers and that is its sole function. Everything you do with a command line is fundamentally about sending commands that a computer interprets and tries to respond to.
If you have never used the command line, this section is for you.
Is the command line hard to use? If you’ve never learned how to use it, yes. But that just means it is probably time to learn; everyone can learn how to use the command line, and that includes you!
Where should I start? Start with Terminus, a game created by MIT computer scientists to help you learn command line basics.
Once you feel more comfortable with the concept of command line tools, and have had some real experience using one for a project, it’s time to step up your game. While many avenues are available, these referenced links include useful collections of materials to make your command line experience even better:
Text editors are the software applications we use to read and write file contents. In most cases, this means writing programs with code, so we can run studies online or analyze data to verify results.
There are a variety of text editors available. Some of the most popular editors that are used by software developers at every skill level include:
Regardless of which you pick, do some research to learn about the different editors. Ultimately it is up to you to choose the editor that works best for you (i.e., one may have a color scheme and comes with keyboard shortcuts that you really like, while another may have great autocompletion packages and a nice project files search feature).
Working on teams with distributed version control (Git) requires us to make sure that our text editing environments are compatible with one another.
What is a text editing environment? The settings configured for your text editor that define how your text is written, like character sets, indent spacing, etc.
To make compatible configuration easy, opt for using a shared configuration that everyone uses on the team. Use https://editorconfig.org/.