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Thanks for talking with us! What have you been working on lately?
I actually have a plethora of pet projects that are due to release later this year. My main project is a hobby "education" site meant to jump start people in whatever their interests are and provide them with proper resources. Hobbyist photographers, for example, will be able to find a resource stream with photography tips&tricks as well as full write-ups of how you should tackle the topic. I'm hoping to start with photography, web development, and possibly writing.
My other project is a bootstrap theme aggregator/market meant to guide people in the process of selecting the right theme for them in terms of utility, looks, and price. I often find Bootstrap themes scattered across multiple providers with no robust way of finding the right theme so I'm hoping to unify all those markets and provide my own solution.
You're a developer, but also a writer of prose and poetry. What similarities do you see, if any, between the process of programming and the process of writing?
Ah, tough topic. I see myself approaching new projects and writing the same way. The terms are different but the idea is the same. Where you deal with architecture in programming, you deal with plot and character development in writing. Optimizing an application is the same as editing your novel. You've got drafts until you get to the final novel, that's the same as releasing alpha/beta of an application until you get to the v1.0.
I'm sure something other writers and programmers can also connect with is the want and need to start on new projects, but never finding that time or energy to finish them. I'm guilty of that behavior on both fronts. You should see my half-written books and my half-finished projects.
Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?
I'm definitely a Sublime Text kind of a man but outside of that, one of my favorite tools to use today is Vagrant.
I tend to work in various specialized environments, from cutting-edge PHP applications, to Node, Rails, and whatever else, across plethora of systems and databases. Vagrant is a huge help. So this way, I have a box for rails, PHP Laravel development, a PgSQL sandbox, and others. It's really a wonderful tool.
Do you have a favorite open source project (or projects) that you've contributed to recently?
I'm currently working on some updates to Genesis Skeleton by Eric Clemmons (haven't pushed anything yet). It's a neat NodeJS starter kit that has all the important stuff preset for you in a logical architecture. I've been very excited to work with it since it makes spinning up a Node app a breeze.
I'm also providing production environment feedback to Kevin Whitley who built Treeize, an NPM module that converts tabular data into deep object graphs.. I'm working with a huge data set that requires this module to work properly and Kevin and I have been stress testing it and optimizing it. However, I'm really just providing feedback and ideas on how to improve the tool while Kevin does all the work
Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?
Not sure if developers, but one of my favorite people to follow has always been Dan Eden. While he's more of a designer, his outlook on the world and his impact on the front-end development world has been inspiring.
I also follow the articles that get posted on Tech.Pro. They've got a great growing community of developers with wonderful content. And of course, I get on Dzone daily to check what's new and hot. Then Hacker News and Reddit.
I guess I tend to use aggregators rather than specific blogs.
Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?
Haha, so I think the first time I encountered code and started being interested in it was when I played an old Czech game coded in Hyperpascal called Burtik by Albisoft. From that point on, I started learning HTML, dove into Delphi, Visual Basic, and made many other uninformed decisions until I gave up in frustration. I think setting up Apache to work with PHP when I was 11 years old, without any knowledge of english, was my worst nightmare.
Almost a decade later, my friend Raphael Caixeta got me to give programming another shot. I started with PHP again, this time armed with patience. And it paid off. Within a single week, I was coding my first CMS and taking on site building projects. A few months later I sold my first app "Only A Quote". I haven't put down PHP since (well, except now that I've discovered Node :) ).
Is there anything else you'd like to mention?
Well, I guess I'd like to thank you for interviewing me! :) It's kind of exciting. I started seriously working on my blog and my projects about a year ago and since then it's been a flurry of things. From having my articles posted and linked to all across the world, to just about everything else. I've had past employers recognize my articles and have walked into interviews where the interviewer was surprised to learn that I started discussions that he/she was heavily involved in.
With that, I'd like to definitely encourage new developers to hang in there and join our wonderful community! :)