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Interesting Things

A blog of whatever I find interesting. Mostly tech-related, but not entirely.

Tutorial: Automated Tests for Node.js

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The company that I'm currently consulting for has a codebase with a large, complex front-end written in React. Not only does this codebase actually have automated tests, but their test coverage is pretty good, and every new feature needs to include automated tests before it can be merged. This is incredible, and every software company should work like this -- sadly, very few of them do. This means that in order to do my job, I need to know how to write and debug automated tests for Node. I've been learning how to do this very quickly, and there have been a few stumbles and hurdles on the way.

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PyDX 2016

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I'm back in Portland, land of the hipsters. PyDX was this past weekend, and I had a great time! To be honest, I was looking for an excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest again after going there for PyCon, so when PyDX accepted my talk proposal, I knew I had found the right excuse. :)

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Tutorial: Deploying Static Sites on AWS

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I've blogged about how the contents of my website are maintained with Lektor, a static content management system. However, websites are about more than just content. Deployment is a deceptively difficult problem, and a lot of software developers struggle with learning how to deploy their software effectively. It's a large enough problem that there's an entire field dedicated to it: operations, or DevOps. I deploy my website using Amazon Web Services (AWS), and I've gotten some requests to write a tutorial for how to do that.

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Making HTTPS Certificates

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The latest website I'm working on needs to run over HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP. Turns out that getting HTTPS set up properly is really difficult! Even worse, I need to set up HTTPS on not just one domain, but an infinite number: I need to support wildcard subdomains! Getting this to work right involved a lot of searching the web, a lot of wasted time, and a lot of frustration. I'm writing it down to make life easier for you, me, and everyone else that might run into this problem.

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Learning React

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I've been working on a new project lately, and I figured it was time to bite the bullet and finally look into React, the hot new front-end Javascript framework that everyone in the web developer community is talking about. If you're not familiar with the web developer community, it truly is very fad driven. I heard about React months ago, but didn't bother learning it because I figured that in a month or two, everyone would have moved on to some other popular JS framework. However, React seems to have some staying power, and since Lektor's admin pages are built with it, I decided to finally learn it.

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PyCon US 2016

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PyCon! My favorite conference of the year, full of friends, projects, wacky ideas, and unexpected connections. I'm glad I had a few days between Write the Docs and PyCon to recover and prepare, because this year's PyCon was exhausting, inspiring, and wonderful.

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Write the Docs 2016

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I attended Write the Docs, a conference focused on technical documentation and those who write it. Although I'm not a documentarian (one who works in the field of documentation), it was an interesting and enlightening experience.

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Learning Lektor

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I've spent the last few days learning how to use Lektor, a static content management system written in Python a hybrid between a CMS (like Wordpress or Drupal) and a static website generator (like Jekyll or Pelican). I like Lektor a lot -- so much so that I re-wrote this website from scratch using Lektor! The code behind this site is public on GitHub, if you're curious. Since I just learned a ton about it in a very short amount of time, I think it's fitting that my first blog post should be about it.

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