A month back or something, this obsession with Python came over me and I don’t know why. Then a few weeks later, it was web development. Then vim. Then UNIX utilities.
Suddenly, I have this insane urge to learn professional web development. Not just PHP and some toy scripts you can get running on any hosting server for $20/month and the cost of Transmit.app, I’m talking professional web development done the
fun right way.
So I started to read all the Django 1.1.1 docs. And when I say all, I mean almost all of them. It took me a week of reading them before bed or during work breaks. But the end result was that I had a very solid understanding of the kinds of things Django gives you out of the box, so that I wouldn’t waste my time reinventing a wheel that was already there for me to use.
Then, I started to tinker. But tinkering proved difficult without more tools. So I researched how I could use git to deploy a site. Then it turned out I needed to use south for database migrations too. And apparently using easy_install is terrible, so I had to learn how to use pip and virtualenv as well.
And somewhere early on, I decided I needed to learn a professional text editor, so at the flip of a coin, I chose vim (over emacs). And ever since, I’ve been steadily learning more efficient ways to do in vim the common tasks I do when coding.
And to make matters even crazier, somewhere during all of this chaos, I somehow got it into my head that I finally needed to learn to type the proper way. Since I was about 7 or so, I learned to type with the hunt+peck method. Well, the hunt eventually went away, but I developed a strong habit for pecking, and I’ve been using roughly the same 3 fingers to type for the last 17 or so years. For a month or so now, I’ve been practicing every day to type the right way, carefully paying attention to my common mistakes and correcting them so I use all the right fingers for all the right keys. Let me tell you, it is not a walk in the park to type NS prefixes with the proper shift keys! And NSNumber is quite a pain in my backside. (And I’m proud to say I’ve been typing this whole post with my fingers mostly in the right spots! Although I’m always left with that feeling of “that last word was typed pretty quickly out of habit and I didn’t pay close enough attention… did I use the right fingers?”)
Recently I’ve decided that this still isn’t enough for professional web development. On top of all this, I now need to learn the following, cover to cover, top to bottom, in and out: mod_wsgi, virtualenv, pip, git, and fabric. Otherwise, I just don’t feel like I’m actually learning the proper professional web development tools of the trade. (And this list is sure to grow in the foreseeable future.)
Plus, a few days ago I took it upon myself to research how to whistle with your fingers, in that loud way that gets
my kids' people’s attention.
So, to recap. I’ve learned Python, Django, and django-south pretty thoroughly, and need to learn how git, pip, virtualenv, mod_wsgi, and fabric all work before I will finally feel comfortable calling myself a professional web developer and charging people an intentionally insane rate to make a website for their puppies.
If this isn’t crazy, I’m not sure what is.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call.
- 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)
- REST APIs
- AWS / EC2 / ELB
- HTML5 / CSS
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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- 2017 — "Clean code" isn't actually clean
- 2017 — Passion in your field is overrated
- 2017 — What I learned in 5 days of writing an experimental website
- 2014 — Age of the Polyglot
- 2013 — How to Program
- 2013 — Ignore the Naysayers
- 2013 — Writing Clearly
- 2012 — Reinvent the wheel
- 2010 — Good usability
- 2009 — Twitter is the wrong tool
- 2009 — We're all pretty bad at driving
- 2008 — Why I Code
|August||NDD: Narrative Driven Development|
|August||The truth about TDD|
|August||Macroframeworks vs Microframeworks|
|March||Notes on Haskell Extensions|
|February||Second thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||First thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||Some thoughts on GUIs|
|February||First thoughts on OCaml|
|February||First thoughts on Haskell|
|August||Age of the Polyglot|
|August||The history of Mjolnir|
|August||Quitting the GUI wars|
|June||Lua: my new favorite extension language|
|January||My programming life-goals|
|January||Lingua Latina, Pars I|
|January||Allocating an AST on the stack|
|April||Ruby Accessors Considered Pernicious|
|March||Reinvent the wheel|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Implementing this elite social network gave me experience integrating both Apple Pay and credit card payments (via Stripe.com) seamlessly into web apps, for a frictionless and pain-free payment experience.
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.
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.
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™.
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.
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.|