Ember in Atlanta

Every once in a while I’ll make a “what I’m up to” post. I guess it’s time for one now. Along with some bonus rambling about Ember and Less.

Laptop stickers

Back in Atlanta

We moved out of Seattle and back to Atlanta. Seattle is a good city, really enjoyed living downtown, but in my experience the Seattle Freeze is real — especially when compared to Southern Hospitality. Regardless, we both had good jobs waiting for us in Atlanta, so things worked out nicely. I’m now working for Pardot/Salesforce, still doing front-end development. So far, it’s great.

Ember vs. Backbone

The new gig has me working in Ember instead of Backbone. Ember is a little less mature, still evolving, deciding the best way to do things. It’s fun to watch it evolve, but frustrating when so much seems to change out from under you.

Ember is really big on convention over configuration. It does a lot of “magic” behind the scenes instead of burdening you with explicit declaration of behavior, like you’d more commonly see in Backbone. This is great when you know the nuances, but until you do, a lot of it is not obvious. This contributes to a steeper learning curve.

Ember is more opinionated. I kind of like it that way. While there might be several ways to do something in Backbone, Ember would tell you that there is one right way to do that something.

Take this all with a grain of salt. These are just my opinions so far. I’m still learning Ember.

Less vs. Sass

The new job has me leaving Sass for Less. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. They both do variables, arithmetic, nesting, and mixins just fine, which is 99% of what we need. Leaves me wondering why this stuff isn’t baked into CSS (aside from calc() and Firefox’s syntactically awkward var(--variable) implementation).

Later

I’m working on a little something I hope to share soon. It’s part of a bigger plan, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Until next time.

Looking Back at 2014

Yep, this is my retrospective post for 2014. But first, let’s revisit my thoughts on 2013:

Yeah, 2013 was a rough year. 2014 was better.

Career Stuff

I left Amazon to work for POP. Very different atmosphere. I went from working on a single project at a huge corporation, to working on several projects at a smaller design agency. I’ve enjoyed the change. It’s given me more opportunities to pick up new skills. I still do a hefty amount of client-side programming, but now I have some good experience with pre-processors, task runners, and various JavaScript frameworks.

Writing Stuff

It’s been a good year for writing. Here are my top 3 blog posts of 2014 (by views):

  1. Fun Times with CSS Counters
    My most popular article of 2014. It was fun coming up with demos that appeared to require JavaScript, but didn’t. Featured on CSS Weekly and Sidebar, tweeted by Smashing Magazine, and posted on CSS Tricks. Also translated to Russian and Chinese.
  2. Gradient Animation Trick
    I actually published this at the end of 2013, but it didn’t get noticed until 2014. Surprised me a bit, since it was just a quickie blog post I made one Sunday afternoon. Also featured on CSS Weekly and Sidebar and tweeted by Smashing Magazine.
  3. Creating Glow Effects with CSS
    The demos were fun to make, since they let me play around with pretty colors. For whatever reason, this article has really good SEO. Not complaining.

I also had my first paid gig as a freelance writer with the Effective Event Binding with jQuery article I wrote for SitePoint. Writing for them was a good experience. Would do again.

Looking Forward

I have high hopes for 2015. Lots of personal goals, but I’ll mention the professional ones here.

Becoming a better web developer still stands, as always. In particular, I want to push my JavaScript skills to the next level, to not just write good code, but to architect good solutions.

I’m also striving to play a bigger role in the web development community. I’ll continue to write articles, craft demos, and hopefully do more with open source, but I think the next big step will be public speaking.

Thanks for reading. See you in 2015!

New Scenery

Big changes. Time for an update.

I left my job at CareerBuilder (again). It was a great place with great people, and I will miss all of it terribly. I worked there for nearly 10 years, which is an amazingly long time. Nearly a third of my life. Crazy.

I’ve decided to take a huge metaphorical plunge. Starting with moving from Atlanta to the opposite corner of the country, Seattle. So far, I love this city. Anything I want or need is within walking distance. I have a rental car, but haven’t used it in 4 days. Not an easy feat in Atlanta. Seattle’s a lot kinder on my allergies, too.

Of course, the new job offer was an integral part of making the move work. Starting tomorrow, I will be working for Amazon. I’ll be on their Cloud Drive team, helping to make the web interface more awesome. I’m really excited to be a part of such a remarkable company, and the type of work I’ll be doing is something I have a lot of passion for. Good times.

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End of Year Update

It’s been a while, eh? Figured I’d make a quick post about some of the things I’ve been up to lately.

Hackday

I won CareerBuilder’s Hackday competition back in August. The gist of Hackday is that you come up with an idea, research it, flesh it out, and then present it. If your idea is one of the top picks, then you win $10,000 and 6 weeks (paid work time) to implement it. I worked with 2 other people on an idea to ensure that job searches on our site always return some results (because anything is better than nothing). The idea won, we executed it, and it’s still live on the site now.

Rich Web Experience 2012

I went to the RWX 2012 conference in Florida. Very nicely executed conference. Plenty of sessions to pick from, though I felt like I made some bad picks a few times. Still, I learned a lot. I found myself particularly excited about MongoDB, which I didn’t know much about before. Can’t wait to spin up a project to try it out.

Other than that, the location was really nice. Right on the beach with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Good times.

Chrome Extension

I took on a fairly big side project to write my first Chrome extension: a tool for developers at CareerBuilder that lets us see logging, stats, and debug info for our web pages as they run. I can’t share it because, as you could imagine, it contains a lot of sensitive information about our environment. But hopefully I’ll get around to writing an in-depth blog post about it soon. The results were great, and even though it took much longer than expected (months), I really enjoyed making it.

CareerBuilder Hackathon

CareerBuilder had its first official Hackathon last week. We were given 24 hours, from noon to noon, to make whatever we wanted. We were given the time, office space, food and drink, and permission to work on anything without having to validate it to the business. It was awesome to just take an idea and run with it. And the general environment was a lot of fun. Definitely something I hope becomes tradition.

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