Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thoughts: Flexbox is going to make rich editing of layout wonderful

I took a dive into Flexbox layouts recently, and I'm blown away by how powerful, understandable, and flexible they are. This new at off layout options is so fabulous to use, it feels like you aren't even writing CSS (which historically deals with layouts so terribly that I couldn't even conceive of it being pleasant).

In a minor tangent, I've got to wonder what affect this child have in our tooling. We don't have a great track record for CSS authoring tools, especially in terms of layout versus style. Could this change with the introduction of a clean, simple layout model our tools could actually present properly?

I can definitely imagine a rich content editor utilizing the kind of controls already common over table layouts being applied to the flexible axes of this new scheme.

We might, if we entertain the thought, finally be able to empower or non-condensing stingers to produce compliant CSS for the layouts they actually want in a system they can actually understand without loops, tricks, or pain!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Newest Project: UNC, Duke Team up with Caktus Group on HIV Gaming App

The following is an excerpt from a press release between my employer and our partners at UNC and Duke on a new project:
The web application development company Caktus Group has teamed up with researchers at the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases and the Duke Global Health Institute to develop a mobile phone app that may help patients better adhere to their medication regimens.

This is my exciting new project and I'm hugely happy to be able to talk about it publicly! We've been hard at work in conjunction with our great partners at UNC and Duke, and its been a very rewarding project even so early in the lifecycle. I'm very confident about our success in really being able to help people, and really that is the whole reason I want to build software in the first place.

It has been a very rewarding project, and an amazing opportunity I've been given.

As it happens, this is also our first mobile app. I've been doing a lot of research and test projects leading up to the start of this to prepare and to guide our development strategy. Being able to dive head first into the mobile world is a breath of fresh air. I hope that a lot of future posts will come out of the new arena I'm exploring with the team.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Firefox vs Chrome App API’s How do the API’s compare?

When porting a chrome packaged app to a firefox packaged app you will need to do an inventory as to which chrome specific api’s you are using and create a level of abstraction around them, as the naming / capabilities of the api’s vary across the platforms.
David Clarke did the great leg work breaking down the current differences between the Chrome App and Firefox OS APIs. This is a great resource for anyone building web apps today!

Check it out today. I'd love to see this kept up to date somewhere.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Skipping Test DB Creation in Django

One of my colleagues at Caktus Group, Mark, as written up one of the most useful tips for Django developers trying to make good test coverage easier to digest for you team. Test running time is often a barrier to getting teams to follow good testing practices.
Now what if you are running a set of tests which are only using SimpleTestCase or the base unittest.TestCase? Then you don't really need the test database creation at all. Depending on the backend you are using, the number of tables you have and the number of tests you are running the database creation can take many times longer than running the test themselves.
... we can skip the database creation/teardown.
I recommend any Django developers taking a look at the very simple solution he's come up with, which I'm planning to absorb into all of my projects quickly.
 
 
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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