thinking-about-angular

Like it or not, if you’re not writing apps with AngularJS, you’re not getting much freelance work. This is sad news for a few reasons, but maybe not the reason you’re thinking.

I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what skills are in demand. I do this because I help coordinate training events and part of that is deciding what topics we’ll present. A few good ways to do that are to keep an eye on the job boards and freelance websites. It’s no surprise that job boards are still overwhelmed with work in the typical enterprise topics. Java, C#, Ops, etc. UX is getting more prominence, which makes me feel good (that’s my main job function these days).

The freelance websites are showing a different trend. There, AngularJS is blowing up. Many of the front-end development jobs specify AngularJS as a requirement. Continue Reading…

white-board-f

Oh, I hate clickbait headlines. But if it works, we should use them to our advantage. My main job function is to make sure the software  my company makes helps users, does what they’re supposed to and are easy to use. I spend a lot of time talking to customers, watching them work and measuring the user experience. That means I also file defects when I find things that could be improved, which is always. (we make great software, but there is always room for improvement)

The most frustrating thing in the world is to file a defect and then have nobody look at it, prioritize it or work on it. I saw a post on Twitter about the most effective clickbait phrases used by BuzzFeed, the king of clickbait. It occurred to me: what if we use this to our advantage when filing defects? Continue Reading…

developers-for-hire

I read an interesting article on OpenSource.com about Why Python is perfect for startups. I’ve done the startup thing a couple times now and I’ve spent a lot of time developing with Python. I just wanted to add a little balance to that article and point out a few things to consider before investing in Python as the foundation for your new business.

Yes, I know, I’m about to unleash a holy war. Putting down someone’s favorite language, tool, whatever, is bound to frustrate people. So let me put this argument to rest before we begin. These are my opinions based on my observations. You are 100% free to have different opinions than I have. And, if you can do so politely, you are absolutely welcome to voice your opinions in the comment section below.

With that out of the way, let’s highlight four big concerns: Continue Reading…

nodejs-tdd

There’s nothing worse than publishing your shiny new feature and finding out that it broke some older code. It’s incredibly easy to forget how some parts of your depends on other parts. It may be that the dependent code is not an often used feature, but when it does get used, it’s important.

One great way to prevent this from happening is to create an automated test suite. Whenever you make changes to your code or get ready to publish it, you can fire off the automation and it will check your entire app to ensure nothing broke. There are several ways to do this, and I suggest incorporating multiple techniques. Continue Reading…

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It’s an annual tradition: Spending time with family, enjoying a nice meal, maybe watching a football game. Increasingly the tradition includes looking through the ads to see what the best deals will be on Friday. This year, there’s a competition to see which store can open the earliest on Thursday to attract shoppers. Some stores are opening at 5:00 on Thursday.

Thanksgiving is a US holiday that remembers early American settlers who survived against the odds. They worked with the native Americans, and to celebrate, had a feast. This was a feast where they expressed thankfulness, and that is the origin of the name. Continue Reading…

web-server

Have you ever been doing a little web development and needed a web server for local testing? This usually happens to me when I’m doing Javascript and want to use a little Ajax. Much of what you do will work fine with the classic file:/// protocol, but sometimes that just won’t cut it.

Yeah, we can always use MAMP or XAMP or maybe you have a web server (IIS, Apache or Nginx) installed locally. Then you have to either move your files to the web root or configure it to point to your project folder, then remember how to start it (edit that config file). I just found a simpler way… Continue Reading…

materialdesign_principles_metaphor

Google’s Material Design is a well-thought out, well executed design language for making mobile apps that chooses not be flat (for the sake of flatness). Instead, it uses depth to help raise the priority and to emphasize touchability. It features bold, bright colors and subtle animation to help provide feedback to gestures and finger interaction.

For native Android app developers, Google has produced documentation on how to apply the Material Design theme to your apps and update them for Android 5.0.

As a web app developer, I’ve been looking for ways to explore how to use the Material Design language in my own project. Here are three tools you can use today to help you create web apps and prototype apps using pre-built components. These are ordered from most-maturity and usefulness to least. Continue Reading…

Admin LTE Browser Window

Sometimes I have an idea I want to start coding on, and ultimately what I want to focus on are the features, not the design. But as we all know, if our design is ugly and hard to use then nobody will take the features of the app seriously. Appearance and ease of use are important!

It’s times like this when it makes sense to stand on the shoulders of giants, so to speak. This is why Bootstrap is so popular – it gives you all the pieces you need to make your app. But sometimes Bootstrap is too low level. If your idea needs to provide an admin dashboard as a main part of the user interface then here are some themes you can use to get started quickly. Most of them are free, the rest are very low-cost, and some are built on the Bootstrap framework, allowing you to utilize your existing Bootstrap knowledge.

Continue Reading…

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I frequently get asked the question, “How do I get started doing web design?” I’ve answered it so many times that I decided I’d post the answer that I’ve given.

Let’s first make a few things clear: many people in the industry consider web design to be a generic term when used by someone outside of the industry. It is a bit ambiguous – do you mean you want to do design work, or do you want to focus more on coding? It is quite common for someone to be strong in design skills but not so strong at coding, and similarly for someone to be a great coder but not so great at design.

In this case I’m referring specifically to someone who wants to do design. We’d call someone who prefers code a web developer. The answer has a lot in common if they said they liked to code, but I would give a different answer. I’ll share it as a separate blog post. Continue Reading…

T-mobile’s pre-paid plans are changing

If you read my article about how I pay $8 per month for cell-phone service and want to do this, you better move quick. T-mobile is changing their plan this Sunday (Aug 17th). Overall, the pricing is simpler and cheaper, except that the “Gold Rewards” feature seems to be going away. If that is the case, then that means you’ll have to top up your phone more often. Also, there is a $3/month minimum, which isn’t that big of a deal. If you rarely used your phone with the old style I described where you start with a $100 balance and add $10 per year after your first year, you’d go 4½ years before you depleted your balance. This will only work if the updated plan supports minutes that don’t expire for a year. (currently refilling $10 only extends your balance by 90 days w/out Gold Rewards) When I get more details I’ll update my blog post.