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Interrupting Coders Isn’t So Bad

Here’s a hot take: disrupting coders isn’t all that bad.

Some disruptions are certainly bad but they usually aren’t. The coder community has overblown the impact. A disruption can be a good thing. How harmful disruption might be a symptom of other problems.

There are different kinds of disruptions. They are caused by other coders on your team, managers and other non-coders, or meetings throughout the day.

The easiest example to debunk is a question from a fellow developer. Imagine someone walks over to your desk or they ping you on Slack, because they have “one quick question.” Do you get annoyed at the interruption when you were in the middle of something important? You help out your teammate quickly and get back to work, trying to pick up where you left off. That’s a kind of interruption we complain about frequently, but I’m not convinced this is all that bad.

You are being disrupted but your team, of which you are only one member of the whole unit, is working smoothly. You unstuck …
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Using a React Context as a Dispatch Replacement

React Contexts are the pretty little bows of the React world.

Here's a really quick example of the kind of messy code you can cleanup by using contexts, without dragging in a larger dependency like Redux or even Flux. Starting backwards with a diff showing lines of code I was able to remove:


All the properties I was able to remove were just pass-through. The Carousel component didn't care about any of them, but it had to pass through these callbacks so the multiple TaskList components inside the carousel could invoke actions. They were removed from the Component class itself, too, since it no longer needed to pass them through.

Where did they all go?


My ActionContext removed all the need for these passthroughs by providing a single simple helper method, action(), that components rendered under it can access.


I really enjoy the pattern of passing a single callback through a context and removing what used to be lots of callback properties. Of course, I could be using a proper di…

Cheqee: Or, How to Write and Publish a Mobile App In a Couple of Hours for Free for Anyone

For the first time in a long time I wanted to write a brand new little app, from scratch, just for fun. I was feeling the Joy of Coding coming back after a long hiatus. So, yay for me? Yay for me. The idea for a single-case app for the kinds of repeating chores of the day has been knocking around in my head, so I whipped out npx create-react-app and tinkered on my laptop while watching TV.

In about an hour and a half I made Cheqee, the Simple app for the things you do every day.


I was thrilled to be reminded of how quickly an entirely new application can be built from scratch and published as a PWA (Progressive Web App) and "installed" on any phone and used like any app by anyone around the world, so here's the things I accomplished in just a couple hours total and in this post all the pieces that went into making that happen so effortlessly:

Wrote a brand new app that does a simple job, built quickly but easy to expand and improveIncorporated persistent data for a totally…

Two Weeks Into the New Job: What’s Working and What Isn’t?

Not counting my orientation I’ve now completed two weeks of work in the new job as a Quality Engineer at Red Hat. There’s been adjustment and learning and getting to know a new team and HR paperwork and fun and rough edges.
I think its a good time to take a step back and figure out what’s going well and what isn’t and how to turn some of the later into the former.
So, let’s start with the good. What’s been going well at the new job?
The product I’m on the QE team for is built using the back-end and front-end web technologies I’ve been using for a decade in some areas (Django) and at least years in others (React). Without even peering inside this has already given em some insight that’s made the transition and some of testing a lot easier. Familiarity is helpful even when I’m not directly building the product, it turns out.At all levels I’m clearly supported in my transition and see the same support going to other recent additions, so I feel pret…

My Software Job Transition Strategies?

I’ve been spending a good deal of the last two days preparing mentally for starting a whole new challenge as a developer. New things aren’t new to me, but this is different and big enough really call for some Deep Thoughts ™. For one thing, I’ve made a big move from the world of Python web development to totally other Python work and while web development has never been the only thing I do, it has been the only work that paid the bills.

That transition isn’t one that bothers me or daunts me, though. Instead, I’m thinking about transitioning to the scope of the work I’m getting into. For a long time, I juggled multiple clients and client projects every day, so no single project usually took up most of my time. Every developer juggles time through the day, but exactly how that works in each company and on each project varies a lot. I was looking for a place that I could really focus in a way that I haven’t for a long time. I think I found that, but now I have to deal with the consequenc…

I’m Gonna Hit The Ground Running

I already wrote about leaving Caktus to start a new job at Red Hat and that first day was today. I’ve never really had this kind of new-hire orientation before, having spent all my previous software career as a freelancer and just transitioning from a contractor to employee at my last company. I didn’t know what to expect.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this transition means for me as a developer, obviously. I’m making than a transition in companies here. I’m moving back to full-time Python work from years as one of those Full-stack web developers. While software always has many moving parts I’m transitioning from an environment with multiple diverse client projects to working on more focused, coherent works to deep dive into. Moving from Ubuntu to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, MacOS to GNOME, thirty coworkers to over 10,000.

So it was time for a change and clearly I decided to just take them all at once. Software development is inherently change and new: by virtue of being built eve…

Onward and Forward: I’m at Red Hat now!

I’ve been in development a relatively long time and I like to think I’ve come a long way. My career has included a lot of different kinds of work that I’m proud of and learned so much from. I’ve also spent two-thirds of that time at one great, wonderful place: Caktus Group. The people I’ve worked with have been a privilege and much of the work I’ve done has been so very rewarding.

Nothing lasts forever and I want to continue to grow as a software developer. I’m not going to do that in the same environment at this point in my career or my life. I needed something new! I’ve made the tough decision to leave after nearly eight years.

So, onward and forward to new things! Next week I’m starting a new job at one of the most respected companies in the open source community: Red Hat. I’m sure I’ll bump into a lot of people I know from the years, and I’m going to be getting heavily back to my Python roots in this position so everyone can expect to see me at Python meetups again, probably at P…