• VCFPorter, an open-source cross-platform Ember app for importing contacts (vCard) on FirefoxOS

    VCFPorter is a cross platform (exactly two platforms, web and FFOS, technically) for parsing and important contacts from a vCard. Some of you might be thinking to yourselves: “Why in the world would you re-create functionality that FirefoxOS already ships with?” Short answer: I’m dumb Long answer: I don’t think it was around quite as I liked it when I first got my Flame

  • Handling UTF-8 Quoted Printable strings

    While working on VCFPorter (a project that will be out soon), I’ve run into the problem of trying to parse (and fully understand) how javascript handles UTF8. While I thought I had a pretty good grasp on things, having to actually translate UTF-8 Quoted Printable strings (part of the vcard spec) sent me scurrying to Google to look up how exactly to encode/decode UTF-8 strings in javascript. That’s always a good indicator that I don’t know enough about something.

  • Meteor Patterns

    So for a weekend project I’ve decided to work on a site that makes conference schedules across languages, platforms, and countries easily available. I decided to use MeteorJS for this project, a relatively young web framework that really puts the “shared” in “shared back end and front end codebase”. While I have known about MeteorJS for a while, the last time I looked at them they were 0.x software, so although the demos had lots of interesting functionality, I wasn’t quite ready to take the dive (at that time, I think I was till kicking the tires on Knockout, and AngularJS).

  • Using mozrepl and emacs to live-reload Firefox

    One of the greatest things to happen to modern web development is tools like grunt and livereload that can be configured to run tasks (or reload the browser) automagically upon changes to certain files. While grunt and livereload are great, they do require a certain amount of work to get started with (especially grunt). I sometimes feel uncomfortable using live reload because I haven’t donated/bought it, so I often look for solutions that are somewhat simpler (and don’t make you feel quite so guilty).

  • Working with EmberJS and EmberData

    Lately, in working on an upcoming project, I have chosen EmberJS as my front-end framework. I was drawn in by the promise of Ember, and their enthusiastic team, as well as their goal of building “ambitious” web applications. EmberJS is rails-y in that it places importance on “convention over configuration” and does a lot of “magic” for you behind the scenes to get you up and running. I’ve been having a bear of a time with Ember, and figured I might be able to clear (or at least offer hints) on some of the stumbling blocks I’ve run into lately.

  • Merry Go Form

    It’s 2014, who’s still writing javascript plugins in vanilla javascript? I am! One of the projects I’m proud to have released over teh weekend is called Merry Go Form, a javascript plugin for carousel based forms. The idea behind the project was that long tedious forms could be broken up into different context-aware “slides”, and it would be easier for people to fill out long forms. I worked on Merry Go Form with some friends, and it was a great experience, we went for all the modern conveniences of development (Grunt, automated unit and acceptance tests), but constrained ourselves to writing very very basic (and thus cross-browser compatible) javascript.

  • Developing a web application/API in Go? Use Gin

    A tool I learned about during my days using Martini, Gin is a fantastic auto-reload tool for Go. It’s extremely simple, and generally Just Work™ with most other frameworks/basic net/http. Install it: go get github.com/codegangsta/gin Check out the source code: https://github.com/codegangsta/gin The project I’m using this for is pretty exciting — more on that later.

  • Building Apps for FirefoxOS

    I recently swapped my Samsung Galaxy S4 for a FirefoxOS Flame (developer reference phone) — a move many non-tech (and some tech friends) don’t understand. I did it because I believe in Mozilla, what they stand for, and I think that the convergence on web as the most effective platform for delivering apps has a lot of potential. That said, I’ve been working on many side projects lately, one of those being a FirefoxOS application.

  • Device Storage API Quirk in FirefoxOS

    After purchasing the Flame FFOS reference phone, I set up the App Manager (provided by Mozilla) and have been having a blast debugging and testing my new application (VCFPorter). I recently ran into some issues using the Device Storage API (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Device_Storage_API). The problem was that I was trying to access internal storage (I don’t have an SD card on the device), but it would always return empty (the cursor would be “done” on the first onsuccess callback).

  • Automatically creating RethinkDB instances,databases, and tables for testing fixtures

    One of the undeniable benefits of functional testing is regressions. It’s not a foregone conclusion that functional (unit) or other kinds of testing that are recently gaining traction are worth the trouble that they cause (and there are lots of other issues with how you test, what you can test, etc), but I don’t think many people argue about the usefulness of tests when it comes to regressions. I also think that it’s a great thing to have that encourages developer discipline.

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