• A Star Interview With Suwandi Tan!

During last month’s CheckiO Magazine, we announced our Star Player and Top Player for the month. This week we have for you an interview of our Star Player, Suwandi Tan! He was chosen as the CheckiO Star Player for the month of August because of his deep involvement with the CheckiO mission development team and for being one of the early adopters of the new worldbuilding tool!

So, without any further ado, CheckiO presents the interview of our Star Player, Suwandi Tan!

CheckiO: When and how did you first start programming?

Suwandi Tan: I remember that my first encounter with programming was in my first year of university. There was a lecture titled ‘Algorithms and Programming’. We were coding in the C language and it was the first time I had ever heard about an "algorithm." It came to me with the help of my best friends and I was able to grasp what was going on and catch up to my friends skill level (Imagine the kind of problems when someone has never owned a computer before! That was me.) I impressed my lecturer with an animation of how the sort works for Quicksort in C, when others only showed the dry result. After that moment, I always love algorithms.

CheckiO: How long have you been coding in Python?

Suwandi Tan: HMmm... I started a few months ago, on CheckIO missions. :) Previously I have been exposed to the AppEngine and managed working with it in Python. From AppEngine, I learned Django and managed to understand a bit of it. It never considered it an appropriate coding session since I only worked with it occasionally and never too intensely as I am doing right now with CheckIO missions.

CheckiO: What is your favorite thing about Python?

Suwandi Tan: The Zen! Python best resemble the Zen of the programming world. Sharp, concise, directly penetrate the problem. I initially thought, "iterator" is the best technique I've ever used. In Python it is groundbreaking and blew my mind conceptually, the famous "generator". What an elegant technique!

Then again, I never saw such a "basic" function which is so powerful in Python. A quick example is "int". As far as I know, when we see "int," the first thing that comes to mind is "convert something to an integer,” right? I've seen "atoi," "Integer.parseInt," "parseInt," "( int )" and all of them is simply "convert" to integer. In Python, we could specify our Radix base! What a concept! That's the Zen.

CheckiO: How did you discover CheckiO and what do you like about it?

Suwandi Tan: One time I followed Mr. Guido van Rossum's G+. And it came to me; Mr. Guido kindly shared this Python game called CheckIO. That was the start of my intense Python learning!

If you ever have the chance to see my publications on various CheckIO missions, you will see that my Python technique evolve over time. In "Home" island, you will find a newb beginner to understand Python. I could smile and be entertained by my own initial strive to write Python :) What do I like CheckIO most? I like collecting the Best Solution in CheckIO hahaha... Then I like to reverse engineer what is going on with the strange syntax. After this I tell myself, "Ah, there you are, I could see your technique then". And the same cycle repeats again :)

CheckiO: How has CheckiO helped you to develop your Python skills?

Suwandi Tan: CheckIO provides better landscape, a fun way to improve Python skill. Tasks, reviews, and the ability to see others solution is a very basic way to learn and grasp the point. At first you will look like you are mimicking other techniques, but at the one point, when you have already gained enough ground, then you could twist and bend Python to serve your style and needs. That is the benefit of the intense and fun way of CheckIO, for me.

CheckiO: What do you do with your Python skills, do you earn a living with them?

Suwandi Tan: I share my knowledge and insight with my Python skills, but I haven't yet had a chance to earn a living from Python here in Indonesia. Right now, I do writing solutions in other languages to earn a life-style. That means I could do Python in the future if I get the chance! :)

Stay tuned in to the CheckiO blog for more interviews!

Until then, keep on coding!


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