Approaching Iterativity


I recently came across an article in which Scott Hanselman responded to a reader who wanted to know how to determine if they were actually a developer or just a good Googler.

Until I read this I hadn’t even thought about it. Not in those terms anyway. I think of myself as a successful developer, i.e. I’ve been gainfully employed as a developer for years. However, I don’t know if I’m actually a developer. I’ve certainly met and read the code of much better developers, people I consider actual developers, so the concept interests me. I’m certainly not a good Googler (mediocre at best) which means I should strive to determine if I’m actually a developer.

To that end, I’ve decided to take the advice Mr. Hanselman kindly offered his reader and work on one of the Code Katas while documenting the reference material I use. Since I’m currently polishing my proficiency1 with JavaScript à la Node.js that’ll be the software context.


The kata I’ve chosen is transitive dependencies and, knowing that I want to do data entry via the command line, I hit up Google to see what I can get from Node.js. Stackoverflow, the result for most of my Googling, taught me2 about the process object as well as some npm modules .

Since I’m just doing a kata, not developing a general, all-purpose solution, I opted to adopt the technique illustrated by this article in the nodejitsu documentation. As you’ll see in the code, I went with the complicated “simple example”.

I should mention that I tend (i.e. rarely fail) to reference the language documentation about everything. For JavaScript I use the MDN. I did go to stackoverflow for some of the object property stuff. Specifically, this question and this question.


Here’s my first attempt with the code kata. I don’t like the nested loops and I’m sure my JavaScript is sloppy so I’ll be coming back to make some improvements in a later article.

var app = {
   deps: {},
   concatDeps: function(key,a,b) {
       var arr = [];
       var i = 0;
       for(; i < a.length; ++i) { arr.push(a[i]); }
       for(i = 0; i < b.length; ++i) {
           if(key !== b[i] && 
              !arr.includes(b[i])) { 
       return arr;
   processLine: function (line) {
      var depData = line.substring(0,line.length - 1);
      return depData.split(' ');
   graphDependencies: function () {
      console.log('Original Chart:');
      for(var aKey in app.deps) {
         for(var bKey in app.deps ) {
            if(aKey !== bKey && 
               app.deps[aKey].includes(bKey)) {
               app.deps[aKey] = app.concatDeps
                               ( aKey,
                                 app.deps[bKey] );
      console.log('Dependency Graph:');
   readDataFromCli: function() {
      process.stdin.on('data', function(line) {
         var data;
         var i = 1;
         if (line === 'q\n') {  
         } else {
            data =  app.processLine(line);
            app.deps[data[0]] = [];
            for(; i < data.length; ++i) {



What I learned by both doing the code kata and tracking my resources is that my reference material didn’t tell me how to accomplish the task. I knew what I needed to look up by understanding the coding problem and my approach to its solution.

Maybe I misunderstood the initial question posed to Scott Hanselman. Was I supposed to use Google to find a solution? That option didn’t occur to me until just now. I’m going to have to work on my reading comprehension, seriously.


  1. I’ve written JavaScript (poorly) since the 1990s. I’ve just never had much opportunity to really dig deep since I don’t use it professionally
  2. This question launched the deep dive that ultimately led to the nodejitsu article. 

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