tutorials

Turbocharge Your Jekyll Blog

5 minute read Updated

How to dramatically speed up your static blog.

The need for speed is upon us. Out of the box the speed of an Octopress site kinda drags. However, there are a number of things you can do to to speed it up without a complete overhaul. Learn how to turbocharge your Octopress blog.

Drupal 7 for WordPress Admins

7 minute read Updated

WordPress continues to become more and more sophisticated as time draws on, with a constantly improving admin dashboard and easy-to-use plugin architecture. And themes like Twenty Eleven give both bloggers and web developers something to appreciate. But while WordPress is a great CMS for personal blogs, it’s not well suited for more complex applications such as Drupal, on the other hand, and by design, excels at all of the above and more.

his article will look at some of the similarities and differences between WordPress and Drupal 7, explain how to accomplish some of the less intuitive administration procedures in Drupal, share some newbie gotchas and timesavers, and provide a list of modules useful to get a new Drupal site off the ground. It is assumed readers are new to Drupal but have a familiarity with using the WordPress blogging platform.

Host Websites in the Cloud in 10 Minutes

4 minute read Updated

Hosting companies Bluehost and Dreamhost offer simple, one-click installation of popular blogging platforms like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. The affordable hosting plans offered are low-cost, but you tend to get what you pay for: shoddy up-time and slow server responses.

What would our hero Mario do about this? I’m thinking he’d Tanooki suit up, make a mad dash and fly to the first cloud he found. And that’s what this post is all about. Read on to learn how to host a website in the cloud in 10 minutes. It may not be as simple as 1-click hosting, but it’ll almost certainly be faster. And you’ll earn some geek cred for doing something complicated to do something simple.

Host images on S3 with Octopress

3 minute read Updated

Learn how to host Octopress images on AWS S3 using Rubygems.

Glancing over the Octopress plug-ins list yesterday I noticed something I hadn’t seen before, an Image tag & uploader for S3. Curious to tinker around with it I set-up an account for S3 and integrated it today to decrease my blog header background image size and serve it from the cloud with caching.

Update 2016-11-22: You can find the open source Octopress version of this blog circa 2015 right here. Once you’re ready to move on from GitHub try Simple Websites with Jekyll and Docker. And, once you’ve nailed that approach, try going for PageSpeed 100 with S3 and CloudFront.

Follow along to learn how to host images on S3 with Octopress.

PageSpeed 100 with Jekyll, S3 and CloudFront

11 minute read Updated

Perfect your Google PageSpeed with AWS S3 and CloudFront website hosting.

After moving this website from WordPress to Jekyll in 2013 I’ve written enthusiastically about Jekyll. But it wasn’t until recently that I was able to hit the elusive PageSpeed Insights score of 100 for both desktop and mobile performance. Here’s how I got there using Jekyll with S3 and CloudFront, and how you can too.

Chat Applications With Redis, Docker and Go

4 minute read Published

Create your own web-based chat app using Redis, Docker and Go.

For several weeks I’ve been thinking about how to go about creating a chat application. After a knowledge drop from Kent Safranski I was inspired to stand-up the chat app using Redis. For the experiment I decided to use Go given the concurrency affordances baked into the language. So I took A Tour of Go and hit the blogs to see what I could find in the open source community.

Reading Redis, Go, & How to Build a Chat Application made me aware of Redigo, a Go client for Redis, and helped demystify use of Redis’ PubSub with Go. The article was a solid introduction and did a great job breaking things down, but ultimately left me wanting a prototype to try things out on the Web. After some more sleuthing on DuckDuckGo I discovered an open source demo app meeting my requirements and providing a great sandbox for experimentation.

In this article I’ll cover how to create a chat application which uses Redis and Go by leveraging open source software and Docker, and use Ngrok to expose the app to the Web over HTTPS.

Automating iOS App Icon Creation

6 minute read Updated

Automate creation of iOS App Icons using SVG multi-rasterization to PNG with Inkscape and shell scripting.

While working on a React Native app for Lumpen Radio I got to the point where I was ready to enter beta - and I needed an App Icon for my app. I hit up a few peeps with apps already in the App Store to understand how they created their app icons. Much to my chagrin I found out each of them had created their app icons manually using an image editing tool of some sort. Not wanting to work through the process of manual image creation using a GUI editor I stumbled upon an Inkscape template and accompanying script that’ll do it for you.

Developing Web Apps on Windows with Vagrant

12 minute read Updated

How to set up a Node.js development workflow on Windows using a Linux VM.

I earlier this month I spent way too much time writing an article on how to SFTP to Ubuntu Server with Sublime Text. The purpose of the SFTP effort was to set myself up for developing modern web applications on a new Windows 8 machine I bought to play SimCity 2013. And after getting everything working I realized the SFTP method had some gremlins and the file syncing reminded me of Dreamweaver—it simply wasn’t fast enough.

Lately, unless you were running a Linux machine or had the pleasure of owning a Mac with OS X, developing modern web applications has been a bit of a kludge. Enter Vagrant.

Vagrant is a tool for building complete development environments. With an easy-to-use workflow and focus on automation, Vagrant lowers development environment setup time, increases development/production parity, and makes the “works on my machine” excuse a relic of the past.

In this article I’ll explain how to set up a development environment in Windows using a virtualized Linux box, suitable for rapid prototyping. Then I’ll take it a step further and explain how to integrate a Backbone-based application framework with Vagrant and Sublime Text, greatly increasing the speed for developing modern web applications on Windows.

Ultima Underworld Stygian Abyss on RPi 2

12 minute read Published

Transport yourself back to 1992 with one of the best RPGs ever made.

I installed DOSBox on my Raspberry Pi today so I could play one of my favorite childhood games: Ultima Underworld - The Stygian Abyss. You can learn more about this game on Abandonia. If you like what you see, follow this guide to set it up on your RPi and be instantly transported back in time with this 1992 retro classic.

IRC on RPi

3 minute read Published

Learn to use IRC on your Raspberry Pi. Tutorial and IRC client cheat sheet.

I'm learning how to run IRC on my Raspberry Pi so I can have a distraction in my lab. The setup I've got is pretty spartan, but that's what I was going for on a $35 Linux box running off an 8GB SD card. You can do this too! It's simple and fun. Why not give it a shot?

CoffeeScript for Tessel with Yeoman and Gulp

5 minute read Published

Learn how to transpile CoffeeScript to JavaScript using Yeoman and Gulp for use with the Tessel microcontroller

A few years back Sauce Labs co-founder Jason Huggins (@hugs) was giving a talk at js.chi(), showing us how to use an Arduino to change the color of an LED based on an input. During the talk Jason suggested those interested in microcontrollers check out Pumping Station: One up on Clybourn. So I got some friends together and we went to PS1, and learned the basics of programming an Arduino. The event was a fun experience and, later that night, netted me a working Larson Scanner. Since then I’ve procured a Raspberry PI, and started tinkering with Google Coder. And now it’s time for Tessel.