Making A Start

July 8, 2020

I’m writing a Scottish Tax Benefit model, and I thought I would blog my progress. I’m writing this mainly just for me, as a kind of journal; I really would be rather disturbed if anyone read much of it (but, if you do, welcome..). As much as anything I’d like some practice writing a few hundred words every day.

Tonight I’m waiting for a Covid test result (J. and I both had a dry cough), and I’m having a Twitter Argument, which are both great distractions. Plus some Prosecco that Judith has poured for me.

The twitter fight is about adjustments to Scottish Higher and Standard Grade results given there couldn’t be exams this year. The line on Twitter is that there is a conspiracy here against low income pupils and low income schools, and there just isn’t. Undoubtedly things are tough, especially round here, but the conspiracy stuff, and the innumeracy of many of the posters, is really annoying. Trouble is, Twitter is (by design I suppose) rather addictive once you get going, looking for the little blue flags. So that’s an hour of my life gone (14 tweets). I’m not very good at Twitter - I kind of Colin Robinson people into submission …

The home Covid test requires you to type in 3 long serial numbers (smallest 10 digits) without error, in 3 different places. I think I did it OK, but I wonder how many tests have gone off into the Ether.

On the model. I’ve managed to work for 3 days on it this week. I’m not being paid for this, but I have a wee gap in my schedule building this monster and I want to get on with things while I can. Got a bit further. The start of the week was doubling back to the calculation modules I’ve already written, to change them to accept calculated, rather than actual, incomes. Should have done that from the outset. Today I got needlessly stuck on the Julia Documenter, specifically with how you include docs for more than one module.

The only other thing of note I managed today is some changes to the National Insurance module to allow pension contributions as a deduction. I’m not convinced I’m doing this quite right - it’s employer’s contribitions, so arguably shouldn’t be treated as a deduction from gross wages (but incidence…). But all the tests pass, so that’s something.

A year into using it and I’m still struggling sometimes with Julia’s type system. The done thing is to use type annotations sparingly, really just to allow overloading of methods. But I like strong typing. Probably an age thing… I’ll post some examples soon.

I’m also trying a new editor VS Code. The first Microsoft thing I’ve used of my own free will since, I think, Microsoft Pascal back in the late 80s (that was shit). VS code is the editor the Julia people are pushing; it used to be Atom. Atom and VS seem pretty similar, though VS is more polished and perhaps more stable. Both seem a little fussy for my taste; writing this I’m back with my trusty JEdit. It gets the job done.

So, that’s all I think. It was an absolutely beautiful evening here in South Glasgow; should have taken a picture.


Category: Blog Tags: Programming
Making A Start - July 8, 2020 - Graham Stark