There are a few goals I want to accomplish at some point in my short life:
- Write a programming language
- Write an IDE
- Write something with a plugin system
- Write a 2D video game
The goal of writing a programming language started 7 years ago, when I first became serious about learning programming. Since then I’ve made several unsuccessful attempts, but I keep learning more at every try. I’ll probably consider this goal accomplished when I have the knowledge to write slow versions of Ruby and C.
The goal of writing an IDE started a few years before that, when I was learning Visual Basic 5.0 on my old PC. I was inspired to write my own syntax-highlighting IDE. Since then, I tried my hand at this goal many times, and got really close with the Mac version of Leviathan. I’ll probably be satisfied with this goal when I write something I can actually code in daily.
The goal of writing a plugin system probably started when I was trying to write an app like MS Paint in ObjC + Cocoa with an extensible tool palette, which was about 7 years ago. This love grew when I discovered Emacs, and even though I think they did it wrong, I love the idea of a system that’s tiny at its core and is only meant to be extended programmatically. I think I’ll only consider this goal fulfilled after I make an IDE that has a tiny extensible core, probably in Clojure.
The goal of writing a 2D video game started years before this, when I would play Super Bomberman, Super Metroid, and Super Mario World, all on SNES. This is what got me into programming in the first place. My dad was teaching me HTML at the time, and I asked how I could write a video game, and he handed me a book on Visual Basic. I soon found QBasic (much more suitable for this purpose) and actually wrote decent-looking Mario and Bomberman engines. Unfortunately they’re both lost to the sands of time, but I’ve tried these goals again a few times since then. I imagine I’ll be content once I write a game that my kids can play and enjoy.
None of these were originally life-goals. But over time, I noticed that I keep starting new projects with these themes. So I decided to accept these passions as part of who I am, and hopefully formalize them a little for myself in this blog post.
I don’t have a formal goal, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be happy if I made one. I’m just hoping that writing this down will shed a little light on my interests and why I do what I do.
I’ll probably also never accept a job doing one of these things, because it would ruin the passion and fun of it for me. I like that I have no deadlines and no plans to finish any of them. I like that I can completely abandon a failed attempt at an IDE guilt-free and worry-free. I like that nobody’s writing code in my programming languages, because it means it’s just a no-pressure fun hobby.
The point isn’t to change the world, it’s just to push my limits.
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.|