April 18, 2016

On Starting Simply

tl;dr: I’m following up on my “Start Simply, Simply Start” from a bit ago with some more practical thoughts on starting simply. My hope is to also write on the second of these ideas, “On Simply Starting.” Simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability - Edsger W. Djikstra I wrote a short(ish) post a bit ago about starting and starting simply. It was a rather “in the moment” piece of writing, not one I’d spent a long time actually composing.
April 4, 2016

Testing React Components with Enzyme and Mocha

I originally wrote this as a tutorial for Semaphore CI’s community site; I am republishing my own work here :) Testing React Components with Enzyme and Mocha Introduction Even if you only dabble in the JavaScript world, you have probably heard of React. React has become an increasingly popular and widely-used JavaScript application tool for developing web applications. Popular frameworks like Angular.js, Ember.js, and Backbone have traditionally been go-to choices for front-end application development, but React came onto the scene in 2013 has provided front-end engineers with (yet) another substantial alternative.
March 24, 2016

Start Simply, Simply Start

tl;dr: Start Simply: Use, build, learn what you need when you need it. Simply Start: Don’t let everything get in the way of doing something. There’s been a lot of talk, writing, presentations, and tweeting over the past year-ish about the sheer pace of development, proliferation of tools, and overall craziness of the JavaScript universe. Whether it’s been endless framework proliferation, tooling insanity, or whatever else, I’ve gotten the sense that people are equally as excited about the new things people are doing with JavaScript as they are fatigued and overwhelmed by everything.
February 23, 2016

Using Node, Redis, and Kue for Priority Job Processing

Code for tutorial available on Github Get Your Priorities Straight Chances are that if you’ve worked on the server side of things for long enough, you’ve probably run into a situation where you need a queue of some sort to handle messaging, processing, or any sort of orderly task execution. In this tutorial, we’ll be using a certain type of queue — the priority job queue — to help us solve a fairly common problem: payment processing.
February 12, 2016

Using Event Emitter in Node.js

a “stream” of events, being emitted from a waterfall… eh? ¯\(ツ)/¯ tl;dr: In this post we will look at using the Event Emitter module in node.js and how we might use it to create our own event-emitting programs. The repo with some sample code can be found at https://github.com/markthethomas/eventEmitterFun If you’ve worked with client-side JavaScript, you will be familiar with the notion of events. Or, at the very least, I really really hope you are — JavaScript isn’t much fun without one of its core concepts/principles.
December 16, 2015

Leave Code Better than You Found It

I am grateful for my experience in the Boy Scouts and thankful I was able to make it all the way to Eagle Scout. While everything wasn’t perfect (like anything else), I learned invaluable lessons about leadership, teamwork, respect for nature, and survival skills. One of the recurrent themes involved in our outings, gatherings, and organization was “leave things better than you find them.” It applied to the wilderness, where we would try to leave any camping areas we used (or created) cleaner than we found them to minimize our footprint and environmental impact.
December 16, 2015

Dockerizing a Node.js Web Application

Several months ago, I wrote about how you might go about ‘dockerizing’ a node.js web application. I was able to write an expanded version of this post for Semaphore CI’s Community site. I am re-posting it here — enjoy! Dockerizing a Node.js Web Application Introduction If you’ve ever developed anything that needs to ‘live’ somewhere besides your local machine, you know that getting an application up and running on a different machine is no simple task.
November 17, 2015

React Native: Quick Start and Including Images

Origin Story I asked a question on Stack Overflow about ~7 months back (at time of writing) about requiring and including images in react native. I figured it was a simple misunderstanding on my part about the directory structure(s) used in iOS development, but it turned out to be both 1) something other people were curious about and 2) an area where the react native team was still stabilizing the API.
November 15, 2015

How To Check If A File or Directory Exists in Ruby

Even though JavaScript (and node.js!) is/are my first programming language love(s)1, I’ve been trying to hone my skills in Ruby and Python to better merit the whole ‘full-stack’ title thing. Also because there are some really great things that python and ruby are great for that JavaScript isn’t (vice-versa for each language, really). So, I’ll occasionally be sharing some small tips/tricks I pick up along the way in these other realms.
November 8, 2015

Questions I ask in interviews

Interviewing as a developer nowadays is at the same time pretty exciting — technology is playing a crucial and exciting role in our cultures and societies — and harrowing — tech companies are engaged in what I’ve often heard described as a “talent arms race.” As a result, there are quite a few posts, talks, books, &c. about how to crack/solve/pass the coding interview. This post isn’t about the whiteboard or problem-solving end of things, where the company is evaluating you, but rather about the part where you get to evaluate the company.