Monday, March 27, 2017

for the graybeards

Modern JavaScript for Ancient Web Developers. It reminds me a bit of that How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016 that was making the rounds last year.

Sometimes I'm torn. I understand why Vanilla.js is so popular; when you cut your teeth on "all you need is a browser and a text editor", and you can get a perfectly lovely edit/save/reload/run loop, it's an article of faith that for serious work, you need these big guns. Or like I said the other year - some frontend developers won't feel like real developers unless it takes just as long to startup the frontend as it does the back.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

weird chrome bugs and weirder chrome hacks: the case of the disappearing border-radius

For an April Fool's project at work, I hacked together circle avatar by having a border-radius set to the width and height. Thing ones, when the panel they were on grew enough to need scrolling on Chrome on my laptop, the boder-radius would be ignored! But NOT on the same version # of Chrome on a coworkers laptop.

Weird. Stackoverflow to the rescue as usual; putting a opacity:0.999; or a perspective:1px; made my system behave.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

i want my own website! now what? a guide for friends of kirk and others

Every once in awhile a non-techie friend will hit me up interested in setting up their own website but not sure where to start. I decided to summarize my usual advice and explanation here, to save myself typing in the future.

OK... websites! By website I'm going to assume you mean your own domain (or possibly, just subdomain)... i.e. yourname.com (or in the case of subdomain, yourname.someoneelse.com) as opposed to somesite.com/blahblah/yourname/ .

There are 3 parts to making this happening:
1. Securing/Owning the Domain Name, saying that, in the whole wide world (or, rather, the whole world wide web) only you have the right to put stuff up at that web address.
2. Making the site, the layout and graphics and stuff.
3. Hosting the site, so that it sits on a computer that people can connect to with their browser.

There are two general approaches to this: DIY (maybe with some help from me), or using a service like wordpress.com or wix.com. I'll try to talk about both ideas as we go over those 3 parts:

1. Securing/Owning the Domain Name
For a .com domain this can run around $10-$12 a year. Other .net, .org, .biz etc can cost a bit more or less.

For personal friends of Kirk, you might be able to have a "yourname.alienbill.com" or something based on one of the other domains I own, for free, but all the domain names are a little goofy or Kirk-centric (.kirk.is, porchfest.info , etc)

If you use a service like wordpress, sometimes they will give you a "yourname.wordpress.com" for free, but if you want "yourname.com" to work you have to pay.

2. Making the site. 
There might be tools to help beginners assemble a site (in a layout language called html/css or sometimes html5) but I've been doing this long enough that I prefer to do it from scratch...in fact generally it's easier for me to do something from scratch than to learn how to use a new tool, so I'm more willing to make a simple site for a friend than to teach them how to use a tool I'm not familiar with myself.

There are lots of learning resources available online for free - I kind of like the attitude http://www.html-5-tutorial.com/ has, they seem to be comfortable with expressing the idea that "yeah, this going to seem stupid and arbitrary and weird and fiddly, but that's the way it is and we have belief that you can do it".

Assuming you don't want to learn how to write html... Wordpress.com or Blogger.com would be my choice for any site that updates regularly. Others like Wix.com might be better for "static" sites where you're just putting up your personal info and contact info in a one time way (I think Wix also has business specific templates, like if you run a physical therapy or counseling type service?) I use Wordpress.com/Blogger.com a lot (this blog is on blogger, for instance, or as it used to be called blogspot) and honestly don't know a lot about the others, but here's a page that compares various site building services.

3. Hosting the Site. 
So it's not enough to write the site - if you're doing it on your own (vs using wordpress or blogger or wix etc) you need to put the stuff on a computer that's connected to the internet 24/7 (in theory you could host a small site at home over like a cable modem, but that's a more complex scenario)

Of course, if you're using wordpress or one of them, this step is taken care of.

I used to pay about $10/month for each domain at a site called phpwebhosting.com/ - I'd recommend them highly if you want a lot of control over everything. I pay a bit more per month with them for a "Virtual Private Server" so I can run as many domains as I want (actually they were pretty good about letting me run extra domains even before I upgraded my account.)

If you are a friend of Kirk and don't need to update your site very often, I'd be happy to give you a "yourname.alienbill.com" style address for free, or if you want to pay $12/year for "yourname.com" I can put those files on my server. But- you won't have much direct access to update those files often, it will go through me. And if you're a good friend of Kirk I'd even make a simple site for you. (If you're a REALLY good friend of Kirks maybe someday I'll come up with a system to let files be updated, but for now, no, if you need to update I'll be involved.)

So that's it! Friends of mine can reach me personally for more information.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

iphone simulator

Just a reminder, for an even deeper experience than Chrome's Devtools Phone Emulator , on a Mac if you have xcode you have an even deeper iPhone simulator and can even do debugging by going into Safari.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

musical "development"

A bit off topic for this blog, but I made tutorial about the blues - specifically a guide to "The Blues Scale" and the "12 Bar Blues" pattern, right now oriented towards beginning trumpet and trombone players. (Which we have in abundance at the School of Honk)