const app = {
lines: document.getElementById('lines'),
textbox: createTextbox(),
lineTemplate: createLineTemplate(),

const socket = connect(

initial({ lines, uuid, charLimit }) {
app.uuid = uuid
app.charLimit = charLimit

added(line) {

removed(i) {

server.onclose = (ws) => {
if (ws.line) {
const i = lines.indexOf(ws.line)
lines.splice(i, 1)
server.sendToAll({ removed: i })

server.commands = {

begin(ws) {
const line = {
hash: ws.hash,
uuid: ws.uuid,
text: '',

ws.line = line
server.sendToAll({ added: line })

run() {
console.log(`Running on port ${this.port}`)

this.wss = new WebSocket.Server({
port: this.port,
verifyClient: this.verify.bind(this)

this.pruneInterval * 1000


Steven Degutis

Full-stack software developer for hire

Cocoa Development is like Bureaucracy

December 12, 2008

I thoroughly enjoy analogies. They help me relate new concepts to ones I already grasp fairly well, which makes learning them a lot easier. I’ve been learning Cocoa for some time now, and I recently thought of an analogy that really helps me out. (Disclaimer: this may be a somewhat simplified version of real life; it’s meant for educational purposes, not for historical accuracy.)

Encapsulation: “You do your job, I’ll do mine”

This is a very simple concept, yet sometimes it’s one of the hardest ones for newcomers to the platform to be able to stick to. The concept is basically “don’t tell me how to do my job and I won’t tell you how to do yours.” For example, let’s say you are the mayor of a little town, and you tell the Post Office that a new outgoing-mailbox needs to be put near the new school. The message in Objective-C would look something like this:

PostOffice* postOffice;
School* newSchool;

[postOffice addMailboxNearBuilding:newSchool];

Very simple code, right? Just a single line. The mayor doesn’t tell the Post Office where to obtain the mailbox from, or what time and day to install it, or where exactly it should go.

Likewise, in order to figure out where to put the new mailbox, the Post Office doesn’t steal the school’s blueprints out from the superintendent’s desk, he asks for it. Then the Post Office would need to use the blueprint and mark on it where the mailbox should go, and continually ask the New School if the location is acceptable. If it were in code, this line would be something like this:

BluePrint* bluePrint;

// when there are no public accessors, some may be tempted to do this:
bluePrint = [newSchool valueForKey:@"bluePrint"];

// or this (assuming such a method exists in a *private* API)
bluePrint = [newSchool _bluePrint];

// however, both are incorrect most of the time.
// this is the appropriately encapsulated version
bluePrint = [newSchool bluePrint];

// if there was no publicly available API, then the job ends here, and
// you fire the school’s superintendent for not providing you a blueprint.

// now keep trying locations until the school accepts one
NSPoint mailboxLocation;
BOOL locationIsAcceptable;

while (locationIsAcceptable == NO) {
        mailboxLocation = [self nextIdeaForMailboxLocation];
        locationIsAcceptable = [newSchool canAddMailboxAtPoint:mailboxLocation];

[self addMailboxToPoint:mailboxLocation];

This will work just fine, but doesn’t it seem like it’s a little too much work on the Post Office’s part? This loop is another more common place that encapsulation is broken, although not as obvious as the lines directly above it. What it should be is more like this:

NSPoint mailboxLocation = [newSchool availableLocationForMailbox];
[self addMailboxToPoint:mailboxLocation];

As you might notice, this is much less work on the Post Office’s job, and in all, much more logical. You have less code to introduce your own bugs in, which is especially good, because if something goes wrong with the installation location, you can just blame the school! To sum this up with a simpler analogy, when designing your own Public APIs for your own use, don’t let your objects reach inside someone else’s pockets for gum. Make them ask politely, and put all the logic and verifying and double-checking onto the receiver of the question, not the asker.

Delegate Providers: Interns of the Code World

Delegation can sound like a scary concept to someone who hasn’t ever read or heard its definition before. More or less it means a person (or object, in this case) who is responsible for answering a question or reporting to someone else.

Let’s say you work at a local newspaper, and there’s a new intern, Little Timmy, who is all grow’d up now and ready for his first taste of the real world, where bread and cheese come a’plenty. But, he has to earn it, so he gets an internship, specifically interning under you, the experienced journalist. This is great news because before, you always had to sit outside and keep your eyes and ears out for any good stories to come across your way. That cut down on your writing, because you just didn’t have enough time to write the quality articles you know you can do. Now, you can have the new intern go sit outside and watch for interesting stories to cross his path, while you sit down and work on the one you already have in your hands. When he finds one, he will report to you, and you will write it up until the next one comes across. Because of all this new free time you have during your work day, you end up writing such quality work that you win the Pulitzer. The code would look something like this:

- (void) awakeFromBed {
    Intern* newIntern = [Intern internWithName:@"Little Timmy"];

    [newIntern setDelegate:self];
    [newIntern beginWatchingForStories];

- (void) intern:(Intern*)intern informsOfStory:(Story*)goodStory {
    [self writeAboutStory:goodStory];

What a simple and easy job you have! Well, not exactly: that statement ignores the long and complex -writeAboutStory: method you’ve developed over the years (which I’ve omitted for the sake of briefness). But the good news is that now, that task takes up the majority of your time so you can focus on improving it until you get rich and retire early.

About me


My name is Steven Degutis, and I've been writing software professionally for a decade. During that time, I've written many apps and websites, quite a few technical articles, and kept up-to-date with the rapidly evolving software industry.

If you have software needs for web, mobile, or desktop, and are looking for a seasoned software professional, please reach out to me at to set up a phone call.

Work Experience

  • Self-employed – present
  • Clean Coders – 5 years
  • 8th Light – 2 years
  • Big Nerd Ranch – 1 year
  • Self-employed - 1 year


  • Web: full-stack
  • iOS (UIKit)
  • macOS (Cocoa)
  • AWS / EC2 / ELB


  • JavaScript
  • HTML5 / CSS
  • Swift
  • Objective-C
  • Clojure


  • Node.js
  • Express.js
  • React
  • Vue.js
  • Electron

Technical articles

Over the past decade, I've written a total of 172 technical articles on various programming languages, frameworks, best practices, and my own projects, as I kept up-to-date and active in the software industry.

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Here are some of the projects I'm most proud of. They were created using a variety of technologies, running on several different platforms and OSes. They're all finished products, and many of them are open source.

Website - Online Video Store

I wrote this web store for Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin, using Clojure for the back-end, and JavaScript for the front-end. Over the course of 5 years, I took the site from a simple three-page website to a full enterprise-ready business solution, with nearly 100% test coverage.

  • Clojure
  • Datomic
  • jQuery / D3.js
  • JavaScript
  • ClojureScript


macOS app - Dock Utility

I made Docks in 2009 for users who wanted to swap out icons in their Dock with a single click. Its unique functionality and design aesthetic attracted the attention of Apple, Engadget, MacWorld, and led to an acquisition of my start-up by Big Nerd Ranch.

  • Staff Pick
  • MacWorld 4/5 Rating
  • MacWorld Gem of the Year
  • Featured on


macOS app - Clojure IDE

Source Code

While working on, a website written completely in Clojure, I increased my productivity by building a custom IDE for macOS designed specifically for Clojure projects.

  • Objective-C
  • Clojure
  • C / C++
  • Cocoa
  • Themeable


macOS app - Hackable Automation

Source Code

This began as an experiment to see how many languages I could use to script a custom macOS window manager using our custom TCP protocol. Eventually it had bindings for Clojure, Ruby, Python, Go, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Node.js, Chicken Sceme, and Racket, as well as other community additions.

  • TCP / Unix sockets
  • Custom protocol
  • Highly Scriptable
  • 10+ language bindings
  • Open source community

Bubble Maker

iOS app - Bubble simulator

This toy was made in a weekend to entertain my 1 year old daughter. It lets you create bubbles with your fingers, which then simulate physics by bumping into each other and falling.

  • SpirteKit
  • Custom art
  • Physics simulation
  • iOS
  • tvOS

Quick List

iOS app - Todo list app

When I couldn't find an app in the App Store that let me make very simple lists extremely quickly, I made one myself. I use it almost every day to organize and track my activities.

  • In-app purchases
  • Custom UI / UX
  • Social media
  • App Store artwork
  • Spring animations

Website - Personal Portfolio

Source Code

This very site itself was written from scratch in about a day. It uses best practices for modern responsive web design, and a custom build phase to compile the sources into a single HTML file.

  • Node.js
  • Pug / Jade
  • LessCSS
  • HTML5
  • WebSockets


Java app - Game

Source Code

The game 2048 (created by Gabriele Cirulli) is so fun that my kids wanted their own copy. So I wrote this version in Java 8, using JavaFx for attractive graphics and silky smooth animations.

  • Java 8
  • JavaFx
  • Modular code
  • Customizable
  • Animations


macOS app - Window Manager

Source Code

I created this app to increase my productivity by letting me move windows around in macOS using keyboard shortcuts. It grew into a community-driven highly extensible app, using Lua for its plugin system.

  • Objective-C
  • Embedded Lua
  • Plugin system
  • Fully documented
  • 5,000 GitHub stars

Website - Social Network

Implementing this elite social network gave me experience integrating both Apple Pay and credit card payments (via seamlessly into web apps, for a frictionless and pain-free payment experience.

  • Clojure
  • Elastic Beanstalk
  • PostgreSQL
  • Apple Pay


Website - Live Chatroom

Source Code

This isn't just any chatroom. In this web app, you can see what everyone is typing while they type it. I made this in order to scratch my itch for making real-time apps and games, and learned how to use WebSockets in the process.

  • JavaScript
  • WebSockets
  • Node.js
  • Vue.js
  • CSS


macOS app - Music Player

Source Code

As iTunes went through many user interface changes, I wanted an app that was consistent, intuitive, and easy to use. So I created Bahamut, a minimal music player for macOS with a custom user interface.

  • Objective-C
  • Custom UI
  • Cocoa
  • Core Data
  • AVFoundation


macOS app - Chat (IRC) Client

Source Code

This was written in 2009, before the time of Slack, when IRC was the main way for programmers to get short-term assistance from each other. Its purpose was to be a beautiful app with an emphasis on simplicity and usability over technical power.

  • Async networking
  • Core Animation
  • Core Text
  • IRC Protocol
  • UI Design


macOS app - Window Manager

Source Code

This is an app I actually use every single day. It lets you move windows with global keyboard shortcuts. Since it uses Vim-like key bindings, it should feel pretty natural to any programmer. There's no configuration needed; it Just Works™.

  • Minimalist UI
  • Simple UI
  • Vim-like Hotkeys
  • Global Hotkeys
  • Zero-configuration


macOS app - Lua window manager

Source Code

As an evolution of Phoenix, Hydra was my first attempt at embedding a full Lua virtual machine into an Objective-C app, to make a lightweight and efficient window manager that focused on speed, low memory usage, low CPU usage, and overall being gentle on laptop batteries.

  • Embedded Lua
  • Generated docs
  • Lightweight
  • Memory efficient
  • CPU efficient


macOS app - JavaScript window manager

Source Code

As an evolution of Zephyros, Phoenix was my attempt to use Cocoa's native JavaScript bindings to make a more lightweight and efficient window manager, that focused on speed, low memory usage, low CPU usage, and overall being gentle on laptop batteries.

  • JavaScriptCore
  • JavaScript API
  • Lightweight
  • Memory efficient
  • CPU efficient

Smaller projects

These may be tiny, but they're interesting technical feats.

Lua4Swift Swift framework for embedding Lua with a native Swift API.
choose Command line fuzzy-matching tool for macOS that uses a GUI
music Command line music daemon for macOS that only speaks JSON
hecto Command line text editor with an embedded Lua plugin system
ZephSharp Window manager for Windows using Clojure for scripting
management Minimalist EC2 configuration & deployment tool in Ruby.
go.assert Assertion helper package for writing tests in Go.
go.shattr Go library for printing shell-attributed strings to stdout.
OCDSpec2 Objective-C based testing framework with Xcode integration.