Portland Code School Showcase

A few days ago I swung by Portland Code School to see what their most recent batch of graduates had been working on during their time in class. There were some great projects that I’ll get to, but what impressed me the most was how finished everything looked. I was expecting to see mostly prototypes and unstyled APIs, but the grads had fully functional, handsome looking sites. I’m guessing the development students teamed up with the front-end design students to make things look as nice as they did.

I tried to pick as many brains as I could. I’m sure there was an occasion or two when my eyes glazed over as a graduate explained what was running on the back end of their site or why they chose a specific database, and that’s a good thing because, hey, that’s why I’m doing the Immersion program. For the most part, however, it all made sense. JQuery, AJAX, Ember, Node etc.: full-stack JavaScript.

Most importantly, I came away confident that my ideas will be doable in the allotted time and that I’ll have the requisite skills to develop — or at least help develop — any web app I put my mind to once I’m done.

Now on to some of the ideas that I thought were most interesting.

Letefeed is a really promising site that is like a social media-infused fan page for professional athletes. As one of the developers, Mike Wroblewski, and I discussed, most sports sites are trying to cram as many statistics into a player’s profile page as possible. I like Letefeed’s focus on the player’s Twitter posts and mentions because it’s more personal than a huge stat grid.

Another project I liked was Realfeelz.com, a sort of bathroom wall-like site where users simply leave a random thought or look up others’ thoughts by category (confessions, insights, etc.) One of the developers, Leslie Strauss, said she wanted to make something social but without the ephemeral feedback (like buttons, +1s, etc.) found on so many social networking sites.

I didn’t get a chance to speak to Ondine Gallatin, the developer behind Mudramum, but hers was an interesting project indeed. Her project is a site about mudras, which are an ancient meditation practice based on holding one’s hands in various positions to achieve emotional or physical well being. I have absolutely no prior knowledge of mudras, but cheers to an original idea and a site that looks awesome.

I wish all the graduates the best of luck in their new careers, and I can’t wait to start my PCS class on January 5th.

Yo Planet

This is my shiny new blog. It runs on Hexo, a Node.js powered blog framework. I chose Hexo because I’m going to be learning a lot of Node at Portland Code School starting next month, and I figured this would be a good way to get acquainted.

That brings me to one of the points of this blog. I’m going to be writing here about my transmogrification into a professional coder and web developer. I’ve loved computers since I first saw Castle Wolfenstein on my neighbor’s Commadore 64. Before computers, however, I loved sitting at the pedal board of my Gran’s Wurlitzer organ while she played Roy Orbison tunes.

So I’ll be posting here about music too, especiallyy music for video games and live coding. I have done a bit of the former, and I’m excited to learn more about the latter. On that note, I’ll finish here with a video of the brilliant Andrew Sorensen narrating a live coding performance at this year’s Open Source Conference (OSCON). Sorensen is using Extempore, a live coding environment of his own creation.