• Comparing Static Site Engines

    On February 18, I had the pleasure of gaving a talk to the San Francisco HTML5 User Group. The topic was static site engines, covering the basics of what they are and what they are good for (or what they are not good for). The latter half of the session focused on comparing three popular static site engines: Jekyll, Middleman and Harp.

    You can view the presentation below (I am also giving an updated version of this presentation at DevNexus in Atlanta later this month).

    Sample Application

    In order to compare the engines, I created a simple sample site, using data from the Adventure Time Wiki. The site is intentionally simple, but uses things like custom post attributes, custom global attributes, data and, of course, posts.

    You can get the samples as well as the slide deck on GitHub. I am hoping to add additional samples in the coming weeks.


  • Patterns of Development

    Patterns are something that you cannot view close up - a narrow view obscures the pattern. However, given distance and time, we can begin to make out the sequences that repeat. This is one of the few benefits of being old, which I am compared to many developers.

    In this post, I am not talking about development patterns as in software design patterns (or anti-patterns), but rather patterns in attitudes and behavior among developers that change the way a large number of us approach our work.

  • The Content Model of the Web is Broken

    Print is dead. This is one of those supposed truisms we’re all lead to believe. It may or may not actually be true, but if print isn’t dead, it’s not healthy. This is especially true when it comes to news and information. Magazines and newspapers are failing all over the place.

    However, what you may not realize is that this same type of information is dying on the web as well. Sites are disappearing and the ones that aren’t, in large part, don’t make money off their content. Basically, as of right now, the content model of the web is thoroughly broken, and you are paying the price.

    In this post, I’ll speak mostly about sites that focus on content around technology and development, but I think much of this could apply to most any topic area. Keep in mind this is, obviously, all just my personal opinion and some of the information is based on speculation about certain business models.

  • Best Music of 2014

    One of my New Year’s resolutions was to write and blog more - and that doesn’t mean just on technical topics but also on topics I am generally interested in. I just need to get in the habit of writing more, generally speaking.

    Anyway, any of you who know me know that I am a big fan of music. In fact, until about mid-2013 I was doing a bi-weekly Internet radio show (called Vitamin Sweet) focused only on new music. If you’d listened to that show you might Charli XCX in Februrary of 2013, Foxes in May 2013 and Lorde in July 2013, among others who later became famous.

    Along those lines, before 2015 got too far along, I wanted to share my favorite music from 2014.

  • Dealing with an Unhappy Community

    Most of us deal with the “community” in our jobs on some level or another. Perhaps we are an engineer on a product that has a community of users, or work for a company that has a community of customers, or, perhaps, are in a position to be part of the public face of a company, product or service who is tasked with communicating with the community as part of your job duties.

    Recently, I wrote an article about a bit of a dust up in the AngularJS community about the plans for Angular 2.0 and it got me thinking about how we deal with the community - specifically when there is a widespread community backlash.

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