07 Jul

Meetup Talk on Building APIs

I spoke on Building APIs, focusing mostly on the upfront design of APIs, at the most recent Las Vegas PHP Meetup. Overall this was defiantly one of my better talks with lots of good feedback. One key things helped I believe in the preparation and eventual presentation of the talk. I presented a rough version of this to my fellow Loadsys employees with some valuable feedback provided from them.

12 Feb

Meetup Talk on CakePHP 3.0: The Cake Isn’t a Lie and It Tastes Delicious

I gave this presentation last week at the Las Vegas PHP Meetup, covering some of the new features in CakePHP 3.0. It was a fairly short talk focused mostly on showing off code and some examples of what Cake 3.0 is looking like along with trying to answer some of the questions that I commonly hear inside of this group regarding CakePHP vs. every other framework. The sample project that I built is on Github.

As I give these presentations and watch other people give theirs, I am trying to reflect on them and figure out what works and what doesn’t. One thing that worked for the most part was not trying to write any code during the presentation, instead my idea was to flip through tags in the git repo between hey I did x and look what x did. This wasn’t actually a bad solution but not great. It had the flaw that because I had some changes along the way getting the repo actually working correctly, ignoring tmp folders, etc, when I tried going to a tag and back I would up having to delete changes and basically reset the repo in the process. So partial credit there I think.

11 Apr

Talks I’ve Given In The Past Few Months

Since moving to Las Vegas, I’ve joined the PHP Users Group. Overall it’s been a great experience meeting people in the community and hearing about more PHP stuff. Since I’ve been there I’ve given a few talks and figured I should list them here.

First up, a talk that was an introduction to CakePHP. Probably my best talk out of the three listed. It was informative, with lots of questions and I knew the material really well (one would hope considering it is my day job).

Next was a talk on Ember.js, this one didn’t turn out so well. I under prepared for it, and it showed. It also didn’t help that I mostly based my talk on a co-worker’s slides. Overall this was novice hour for me. Moral of the story – don’t give talks unless you know the information and don’t try to base a talk using someone else’s work.

Last presentation was one on PHPUnit, which went ok. I knew the material better than the Ember stuff but there were a few weak areas. Overall I think it went pretty well but it could have gone better.

Some random thoughts on public speaking

Public speaking (of a sort) is something that I used to do much more often, it’s been good to stretch that part of my brain over the past few months and get a handle on delivering talks that deal with technical information for a generally technical audience. It is definitely something I want to do more of in the future and to get better at.

Not everyone may want to do this type of thing, but if you are interested in it, I would urge you to give it a shot. It is easier than what you think. I would suggest pick a topic you are very familiar with and can answer questions on the fly about. Feel free if you get a question that you can’t answer to say so, rather than present imprecise information.

07 May

10 Years

So for the tenth anniversary, the Zen Garden is open for business once more. I’ve thrown the codebase on Github, given the dusty copy a refresh, started the conversion of the site to HTML5, and brought all of the existing designs kicking and screaming into the modern age. The work isn’t done yet, but it’s a darn sight closer to what how we would build it these days. If you see an area that needs help, consider sending a patch.

Hello CSS Zen Garden, it’s been awhile.

07 May

Line Clampin’ | CSS-Tricks

You want X lines of text. Anything after that, gracefully cut off. That’s “line clamping” and it is a perfectly legit desire. When you can count on text being a certain number of lines, you can create stronger and more reliable grids from the elements that contain that text, as well as achieve some symmetric aesthetic harmony.

There are a couple of ways to get it done, none of them spectacular.

If you are doing Web Design/Development as a full-time and aren’t reading CSS-Tricks, you really should be. Awesome little tricks like this one..

30 Apr

Hex Color Tool

I needed a tool that either added white or black to a hex color. Launching Photoshop just to drag a color picker around wasn’t cutting it. I looked around for a web app that would do this but unfortunately most good programmers are terrible designers. I built HexColorTool to fill the gap. It’s responsive too! Launch it on your smartphone or tablet and use it as you please.

Just added it to my list of web design tools, I know I’ve needed something like it more than once.

30 Apr

Users’ Pagination Preferences and ‘View All’

When providing a choice of display options, the computer should almost always respect the user’s stated preference and employ it as the default the next time around. I am amazed at how many sites and applications don’t do this and instead force users to repeat their choices again and again.

In short do pagination but if you offer different options remember what the user selected and use it throughout the site.

16 Feb

Frankie Roberto – Responsive Text

Some websites now contain ‘responsive images’. These scale (or crop) depending upon your screen’s viewing area, so the image sizes remain appropriate whether you’re looking at the website on a mobile phone, or on a huge flat screen monitor.

This is an example of responsive text.

The amount of textual detail scales relative to your screen size.

The effect is achieved using simple HTML class names and CSS media queries which show or hide the content depending upon the current screen width.

via Frankie Roberto – Responsive Text. In agreement, nifty idea, but defiantly unsure of the practical application.

06 Feb

Tinycon – Favicon Alerts

Tinycon allows the addition of alert bubbles and changing the favicon image. Tinycon gracefully falls back to a number in title approach for browers that don’t support canvas or dynamic favicons.

Alerts in the favicon allow users to pin a tab and easily see if their attention is needed.

via GitHub – Tinycon. Pretty sure I could count the times I actually looked at a favicon alert on one hand, that being said nice work.