Thoughts and Writeups

by Davis Haupt

Top Classes in Undergrad

I'm graduating from college in May. Over my four years working towards my degree, I've taken about forty different courses. As I enter the last month of school, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on the courses that I enjoyed the most. I've picked out five classes, and instead of trying to make any absolute ranking of them, I just decided to present them in the order they were taken, and try and express how each one impacted me.

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Hotwiring the Web: What does Basecamp’s New Magic bring to the table?

Hotwire, which seems to be short for (H)tml (O)ver (T)he (Wire), is a collection of frameworks just announced by Basecamp that work together to help build "traditional" server-rendered web applications that look and feel to users like modern, Single-Page Applications (SPAs) built in React, Angular, Vue or other frontend frameworks. Basecamp's CTO put out a blog post on why he believes in Hotwire, but most of the justification seems to be handwavy claims that JavaScript is inherently "complex," never mind that Ruby's syntax and dynamic type system can be just as head-scratching to a newcomer.

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Lessons Learned from Leading Penn Labs

I just finished writing a year-in-review blog post for the Penn Labs blog. For some context, Penn Labs is a student-run software development group that builds apps and websites to help students navigate life on campus. For the past year, I've been one of the two co-directors of Labs, managing the operations and direction of the organization. I wrote the year-in-review post as a way to highlight the awesome work the whole team had done this year, and hopefully start a tradition of outgoing directors doing the same in the future.

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Switching to Emacs

My personal editor journey has been kind of strange. I started off using Sublime Text for most things, and then switched over to JetBrains IDEs on a student license. JetBrains IDEs are pretty amazing – especially when it came to PyCharm’s Django support. One thing I started to worry about recently has been my reliance on a closed-source, and, once I’m out of college, pretty expensive editor. Sure, many employers pay for licenses, but it would be awesome if I could configure an editor that worked well for me and was also completely open-source.

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At Home

Last Wednesday, Penn extended Spring Break by a week and moved classes online for a semester in response to the threat of COVID-19. The same day, the WHO declared the virus’s global spread officially a pandemic. In the days since, I’ve packed up my dorm room and moved home. I’ve tried to see how I could use this time effectively – tackling projects I wouldn’t necessarily have time for in a busy college schedule, and learning new skills.

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