Archive for October, 2009

The Joy of New Projects

I’ve been working on a project for a long time and it’s gone through many, many iterations and even one full rewrite. Normally, I would never approach a project like this, but there is no client on the other side. This is just a project that I’m doing for fun and for learning. If it ever goes live, it’s for a domain name that I bought over a year ago.

The best part of this is that I can delete code and pull in new frameworks as I please. I’m hosting it on Github (so as to learn Git more), using ASP.NET MVC (which I know and love), taking advantage of the HTML control I’m given with the SparkViewEngine (because I like looking at pretty view files) and pulling in AutoMapper (Jimmy rocks!) and eventually NHibernate (later, because I want my domain to rule, not the database).

There’s much more I’m using and learning in this project, those are just the first ones that come to mind.

My Geeky Halloween Costume

I decided to go as Mario for Halloween at work today. In addition to the Mario costume, I also got a Luigi costume. This costume totally brings out the geek in me, but my alternatives weren’t really that good. I would get a kick out of dressing up like Peter Gibbons, but I’d just blend in. It would be hard to go as any character from xkcd.com, but that would also be sweet; I guess Mario will have to do.

Teaching is Learning

As I’ve been spending time on my upcoming presentations on jQuery, I’ve found that I’m learning a lot. This isn’t anything new that I’ve noticed however. People can be very knowledgeable in a particular field, and you (yes, you who is reading this) may be very good at something, but would you consider yourself an expert on the subject?

There’s always more to learn about a discipline, technology or field. When you try to teach or inform others, you’ll find that you only gain more knowledge on the topic.

Adding a New Team Member

So adding a new member to a software development team slows down the team. It’s a law, Brook’s Law, to be exact. I have noticed some good trade offs. Our recently hired dev has asked some really good questions about the code. Questions that have gotten me to think differently about how we have designed and/or structured our application. A good fresh set of eyes can be just as helpful as those same eyes that aren’t quite up to speed yet.

Iowa Code Camp Schedule

The Iowa Code Camp schedule of sessions has been posted for the fall 2009 event in West Des Moines, Iowa. My session entitled “How to do Virtually Anything with jQuery” will be at 2:15pm (subject to change).

Here’s the abstract:

When it comes to web site interactivity, jQuery is king. I’ve never run into a problem I haven’t been able to solve… yet! There’s so much you can do with it and many clever plug-ins are created all the time. This isn’t an intro course, you’ll want to know how to use jQuery to get something out of this, I’m going to go over some complex examples that will hopefully ignite your brain when it comes to solving problems that occur within a dynamic web interface.

Department Bookmarking

Some time ago, I set up a Delicious page for our department’s bookmarks. We might share good usability articles or CSS tips and tricks. Sometimes it’s a reference page for NHibernate. We previously sent them around on the distribution list to share with others. It was always a struggle to look back and find a URL that you remember being sent to you.

The Delicious account (that we all share) is great for saving links and tagging them. I’ll also subscribe to the feed in my Outlook account, this way I’ll get notifications when a new bookmark is added.

Sinatra Has Taken the Stage

I’m finally building a Ruby application using Sinatra! It’s only going to be a few pages in size, but hopefully I’ll get some decent practice with Ruby, Haml and ActiveRecord. The end goal of this little endeavor is to be able to throw away the code and know how to recreate something similar (and better) than this first attempt.

I have a tiny site I’m planning on building by the end of the year with Ruby on Rails. Ideally, this first throw away application will give me the smarts to build something real.