Like most years, 2023 was a mixed bag! I hit some plateaus...but I also found some joy.Read about it!
For months I worked on reviving the search results for Camunda's version 7 documentation. Our docs weren't giving 0 results for most queries, but they weren't far off. I learned unexpected details about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — especially Google's flavor of SEO. Eventually I fixed it, though I had my doubts along the way.Read about it!
Developer Experience is kind of having a moment right now — and not necessarily a good one. Have we prioritized DX at the expense of UX? In some cases, definitely. But the two are very connected, and we can't fully choose one over the other.Read about it!
In a surprising turn of events, I'm happy with my 2022, and I don't really have much to complain about. Is this growing up?Read about it!
I've written in the past about breaking problems down in the abstract. For the last couple months I've worked on a project where I can demonstrate it in real life!Read about it!
Recently I needed to make a bunch of nearly duplicate pull requests. Like any good programmer, I automated the repetition, using sed and the GitHub CLI.Read about it!
Work projects require git commits to be signed with my work email; I'd like commits on my personal projects to be signed with my personal email. The solution: conditional includes in my .gitconfig!Read about it!
New job time means new dev environment time! I used RCM to save my previous dotfiles environment...what does it look like to use RCM to initialize my new environment from those existing dotfiles?Read about it!
2021 was significantly better than I remembered it! Why do I feel like it was so awful?Read about it!
I've started putting together my 2021-in-review article, and while doing so I've been thinking about why I think it's so important.Read about it!
Recently I had an experience where a conviction and my determination helped me dig deep to solve a problem. When reflecting on it, I started to wonder when conviction is helpful as a developer, and when it is harmful.Read about it!
I've been thinking this week about code distance — the distance between bits of code that are related to the same feature. I wonder if there's a good metric for this?Read about it!
I'm planning to work on a podcast this upcoming winter about how developers work. I'm calling it, fittingly, "How Devs Work."Read about it!
Sometimes you want to write tests for a business rule that's based on multiple variables. Covering every possible permutation of the variables quickly becomes unsustainable. I've found myself using a different approach — one test for the positive case, and one test for each variable's negative case.Read about it!
Did you know your blog's syntax highlighter probably has support for highlighting code diffs? I didn't.Read about it!
Automation is weird. Sometimes we automate the smallest things, and even though it might not save us that much time, it's totally worth it. Like when I didn't want to spend five minutes tweeting my new articles anymore!Read about it!
In a recent episode of Artsy Engineering Radio, we talked about styles of tech leadership. It helped me realize in hindsight that I'd tried to figure too many things out on my own.Read about it!
I'm in love with RedwoodJS. I noticed that a recent PR on a personal project nicely captured a cross-section of a Redwood app — all the bits needed to pass data from the UI to the database and back.Read about it!
I got hung up trying to set a default value for a Redwood CheckboxField. Turns out I just had the prop name wrong.Read about it!
PRs are critical for collaboration. But they're also valuable for solo personal projects!Read about it!
How do I get into flow state sooner so that I can make meaningful progress more quickly? By warming up.Read about it!
How can you take advantage of *very* small blocks of time? By dedicating them to your shallowest work.Read about it!
Rule 2 for taking advantage of small blocks of time — slice your work smaller to shift the meaning of "meaningful progress."Read about it!
My first rule for maximizing productivity in small blocks of time — dedicate time to a specific goal. And schedule it on my calendar, before that hour gets taken.Read about it!
As a maker with a manager's schedule, I need to figure out how to make meaningful progress in small blocks of time. I've got a few rules to help me.Read about it!
Has discipline been a muscle this whole time and I just figured it out?Read about it!
2020. Yikes! Ouch. Woof. What a year. It was awful at times — but some good things still came out of it.Read about it!
The self-evaluation I gave myself this quarter included some of the nicest words I've ever said about myself.Read about it!
In my head I created a distinction between long content and short content. I think the distinction is really there, but I don't think it warrants separate communication channels.Read about it!
Today I'm thinking about lowering the bar for content creation by embracing smallness. Often when I want to create something it becomes *huge* in my mind, and I don't deliver it because I lose interest before achieving the grandiosity.Read about it!
I recently replaced my kitchen faucet. The project reminded me of working with legacy code.Read about it!
Standing on the shoulders of giants makes it possible to generate social sharing images with very little code.Read about it!
Mmmmmmmmmm, sandwiches. Mmmmmmmmmmm, froyo. Not only are they both delicious, but they can both help you communicate better.Read about it!
It's taken me many years as a developer to become comfortable with the speed at which I work. I'm slow! Recently my friend Nicole helped me understand more about why I work slowly.Read about it!
I built a URL expander with Netlify functions, and connected my browser to it with a custom search engine. It saves me about 1 minute per day and now it feels like my search bar is a CLI.Read about it!
I'd read that working with variables in Cypress tests was tricky, but I dismissed it as an edge case I didn't need to know about. Then I needed to store a variable in a test and hilarity ensued.Read about it!
2019, am I right? It was a year! It occurred after 2018! And before 2020! And a bunch of things happened!Read about it!
Is becoming a tech lead just like having children? Absolutely not! But I found at least one parallel.Read about it!
Most refactoring resources are about specific actions in your code. This article aims to provide more general guidance for undergoing THE BIG REFACTOR.Read about it!
I recently built some workshops. It was a lot of work, but it was fun and I learned some things!Read about it!
2018 happened. There were some lows. But there were a lot of highs!Read about it!
We recently finalized the speakers and sessions for Cream City Code 2018. We received a great number of submissions this year, and after reviewing them all, I've put together 5 tips for writing your next conference submission.Read about it!
In the last couple years, I've given over 20 talks at local meetups and code camps, and conferences throughout the Midwest. Here are 10 tips for preparing talks.Read about it!
Rejection feels bad. Sometimes I forget how to deal with it. Here are some of the strategies I keep forgetting.Read about it!
2017 was awesome! I hit the speaker circuit hard. I'm hoping for a great 2018 as well!Read about it!
What can we learn about testing from a Russian playwright that's been dead for over 100 years?Read about it!
I wanted to speak more in 2017. Looks like I'm getting my wish!Read about it!
When unit testing your ES2015 code, you'll probably want to mock dependencies. My team had been tolerating some test-induced damage to our code, in order to allow mocking of ES2015 module exports. But recently we discovered a feature of ES2015 modules that allowed us eliminate the test-induced damage.Read about it!
2016 was a ...year that happened. At a personal level, I had a great 2016.Read about it!
The project I'm currently working on requires a spreadsheet to be imported into the database. SSIS seemed like the logical solution to this. Then the honeymoon ended, and I found out SSIS was stealing my money and slowly poisoning me. Here are some other things SSIS does wrong!Read about it!
October was a crazy month! Aside from being peak soccer season for my kids, I had two speaking engagements, and helped organize a conference.Read about it!
Some advice and resources to help someone get started with TDD.Read about it!
A coworker recently asked me to send some good resources for introducing a team to TDD. I thought the internet was a good place to put it.Read about it!
I got to present a variation of my static site generator talk at Chicago Coder Conference this year. Here are the slides!Read about it!
Setting up a React project proved to be a challenge for me the first time I tried to learn it. It went a little better the second time around.Read about it!
I recently presented at MKE Web Pros, about static site generators. I put together some slides and notes.Read about it!