My interests generally seem to change every few months, but I tend to hover around the same topics. These days, I’ve been focusing on peer-based communication, consensus, failure detectors, and C++.
I’m a fan of thinking big but starting small. The “big” project I have right now is a failure detector. A failure detector simply checks for failures among nodes in a distributed system using some sort of ping. I am starting to write this using C++. I’ve worked with C++ before, but I never actually “learned” it. It’s been quite a while since I worked with an object-oriented language, and that was back when I was first learning how to program. I’m writing C++ wrappers for POSIX utilities in order to build up my intuition about C++. It turns out that this is also helping me learn a lot more about POSIX calls.
As a Go programmer, I’m generally spoiled by the standard library. There are so many things that I don’t have to think about, and this is true for other languages as well. For example, you don’t have to think about parsing IP address strings or setting up a socket to create a TCP listener. For my wrappers, I’m doing things like creating an IP address class and making small command-line flag parsing utilities. I feel like I’m reimplementing the Go standard library in C++.
So far, it’s been an incredible way of learning C++. I’m just getting into smart pointers, but I’ve already gotten a taste of RAII (which is amazing), templates, move semantics, references vs pointers, and so on. I’m looking forward to learning more advanced topics as I get to them.