Zerillian Engineering

Irradiated with cheeky programmer fervor!

De-Emphasizing the Server (Preface)

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Only as a little introduction and to prove I still pay attention to things, I’ll offer a breif commentary on a fascinating area of web engineering.

Being a little guy in this business, I have only the level of resources that entitles me to complain that AWS is too expensive (Read: web hosting budget is $30 monthly.) The engineer’s mindset, however, is free (as in beer, it takes a long time to learn). You know what else is free? Your visitor’s browsers.

50 Cents Doesn’t Buy a Lot of Trouble

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Here in Ithaca, we’ve got a pleasant little outdoor concourse of restaurants and merchant establishments running beside pavilions and statues and trees: The Ithaca Commons. Lately, it’s had everything ripped out for rennovation, but… Still.

Whenever I’m on the Commons, I go to a toy store on State street and buy a bouncy ball for 50 cents. As I walk, I bounce it on the ground and against walls. It’s a benign, calming activity. I’ve thrown them against buildings, bounced them high in the air, and naturally lost all of them.

Blade Extensions in Laravel 4

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Laravel 4 is here, and it’s a thing of beauty. Among all the remarkable new features remains the ability to extend the Blade template system with your own statements and functionality. I previously wrote about how to do it in Laravel 3, and thankfully it is equally straightforward in Laravel 4. There’s even a bit more explanation this time around. So here it is, Blade Extensions for every artisan’s favorite framework.

Four Triangles

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My professional identity has been through many iterations, one of which demanded a better logo. A simpler logo. A logo that would guide my journey to becomeing a mastermind.

Or, I dunno, I just got sick of my old one. Here’s how it went.

Connect Yourself to the World

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A few days ago, I was lucky enough to attend a gathering of some local web developers and software artisans. I’ve previously documented my loneliness and the degree to which it afflicted me, so this was a welcome event. Just a few hours with intelligent like-minded people really kicked my ass. It was a time when I could tell I was the dullest tool in the shed, but that was fine. It’s not that I wasn’t sharp. It’s that I was in a shed with lawnmowers made of lightsaber.

Excess Verbosity

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I have a tendency toward verbosity. I’m a really wordy person. TOO WORDY, IN FACT.

I think the reason I do it stems from a fear that my ideas won’t get through to people. I used to have to explain things to non-technical people, and sometimes that made my brain go around in circles attempting to come up with the right words. I got rather accustomed to stringing words together that had to adjust previous words with more detail, supposedly assuring that I wasn’t misunderstood. By the way, there’s one word for that paragraph: Pleonasm.

Mostly it just confused people, so something had to give.

AJAX Loading Done Right (and Wrong)

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Oh man. This really bothers me. Some of the time, it’s just not well-implemented. And when it is, I always appreciate it.

Note: For non-technical people, AJAX loading is a term for what browsers do when they load more content without needing to load another page. A good example is Facebook news feeds. I’ll use it interchangeably with terms such as dynamic loading or auto loading.

A lot of websites just love to keep streaming content into your browser, sometimes as you’re scrolling along. Done properly, this is a useful annoyance-relieving tool. When botched, AJAX loading is an obtuse pain in the ass. In this post, I’ll look into mostly good implementations to show you the reasons these work pretty well. Usually.

I’m Here for the Evolution

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I never really addressed this, so I’ll do it now. I’ve been programming as an amateur for a long time. I’m almost 20, and it’s really grown into my primary focus over the last few years. I’d like to share what led up to the starting of this blog. It’s only a part of a big change for me.