Erlang-Inspired Node.js

Despite the unshakable feeling that I’m a terrible programmer, I’ve end up going on some very experimental journeys writing code that reflects the way I think about software.

Unintentionally, though it makes sense in retrospect, my experiments in JavaScript have leveraged one another, reinforcing each other’s usefulness in my mind and building more confidence in the experiments.

While it’s probably not the best first experiment to discuss, I’d like to write about my most-recent one: a module that helps me write Erlang-inspired code for Node.js.

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My First Command Line Utility

I feel like a teenager who just discovered he has super-powers!

Angel showing off his wings
Image Source: Pop Mythology

Last year we gave our production servers the ability to send notifications to Slack and it’s been so helpful! Each one comes with all the relevant data, sometimes with a link to an admin page where you can fix the problem. It’s been truly empowering to deal with many types of problems without needing to write code.

One of the notifications is for a problem we can’t fix without input from our customers, so we needed to move the data from Slack to a Google Spreadsheet we could share with them.

Quickly discarding the idea creating an endpoint that gave me a CSV-formatted version of the data, I settled on copying the text straight from Slack (it was already there for the copy-pasting so don’t judge me) to a file and writing a program to process the Markdown-formatted data from Slack to generate the CSV.

The formatting program itself is nothing special, so straightforward I didn’t need to import a single library to make it work, but you wouldn’t believe how much more useful the program got after a tiny change at the beginning and the end of the code.

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