UPDATE: If you’d rather watch the recorded talk, it is embedded at the end of this article.

Remodeling a condo in a 50 year old building is a miserable experience. An even worse idea is doing the physical work yourself while trying to run a tech consultancy/software dev firm. Living in the space while you do it is downright masochistic. My advice: don’t.

However; if you really want to update your living conditions and have a DIY attitude, you may choose to take the work on yourself. If you don’t want to take the extra time to learn professional software, then you’re in luck. …


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The popularity of JavaScript has risen sharply since 2000, transforming developer culture and creating opportunities to use the language in ways the world has never seen before. Unfortunately, the rapid rise in JavaScript’s popularity has also created a number of knowledge gaps.

Some of the most significant gaps are the hardest to see. Many different technologies blend together with JavaScript so well that it’s tough to tell where JavaScript ends and the other technology begins. I call this the “peanut butter” effect, because everything seems to go well with peanut butter.

The truth is, there are many different flavors of what the world calls “JavaScript”. The following breakdown is designed to differentiate each of the “flavors” from each other. …


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Austin Skyline: 2010 vs 2017

Austin continues to land in the “Best Of” news for it’s continued growth. The population growth rate currently stands at roughly 120 people per day (157 gross, ~35 people leave each day too). The lower historical cost of living in Austin led to a reputation of affordability. Combining this with a relaxed lifestyle, attractive climate, and plenty of activities produced a people magnet. Austin evolved into a destination city, and the momentum isn’t slowing down.

This progression has a significant impact on the talent pool. Austin continues to approach talent without consideration of the local impact or the manifestation of national talent concerns. …


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Developer Experience (DX) is something I’ve been passionate about my entire professional career. I recently shared some of my passion through a talk at Node Interactive North America 2016 in Austin, TX.

Developing Nirvana — Corey Butler, Author.io

As I reflect on the conference, I keep thinking about how developer workflow is very much like a human version of debugging. We look for breakpoints in our lives, like we do in our code. Sometimes we cobble together workarounds to keep life moving forward, just like we do code… and we usually feel the same way about our patch jobs in life as we do our patch jobs in code.


This was originally posted on my blog in 2011 and has been moved here for archival purposes. The points are still relevant today.

Throughout my years in the professional services industry, I have worked with many kinds of agencies. I receive a lot of employment questions that are often explained by the type of agency, but the only way to understand is to know the differences.

In an effort to help, I’ve provided a breakdown of my experience and observations within the industries. The first point of attention is that I chose the word “industries” instead of “industry”.

There are two overlapping industries that each staffing, recruiting, and consulting fall into. The first is contracting and the second is business development. Some may argue that HR is a third industry of it’s own, which I agree with to a point. However; I consider HR to be a function or sub-industry of business development. From a CEO perspective, HR is a critical factor in the direction of an organization. …


This opinion piece was posted on my blog in 2010 and has been reposted here for archival purposes.

I follow a local entrepreneurial group called RISE Austin who re-posts web articles from time to time. I typically just absorb them and try to keep my opinion to myself, but this article triggered some recollections of trends I noticed over the last year while I’ve made Austin my new home. Ultimately, my observations focus on the distinction between amateur and professional entrepreneurs & where some are placing value.

To be fair, I have operated my own web consulting practice for 8 years and was a moonlight developer prior to that. So, when entrepreneurs seek out a template-based web development site offering sites for $50/yr as their only means of a web presence, it bothers me — but as a business person, not as a developer. …


This was originally posted on my blog in 2012, but I’m reposting since I still get many questions about the subject.

I recently saw a question about converting from a contract role to a full time role, specifically about salary expectations. This common scenario often leaves first time contractors wondering how to not over or underprice themselves. This entry covers a few points about what you should consider when proposing your salary.

Let’s say you’re an independent contractor billing $75/hr. So, if you work 40hrs/week for 4 weeks per month, your salary is $12K/mo or $144K/yr, right? Not exactly. This large number sounds appealing, but it is a gross number, not a net number. First off, truly independent contracting means you’re working on a 1099 tax schedule. Full time employees work on a W2 schedule, which has different tax ramifications. There are also W2 contracts, but this typically means you’re actually an employee without benefits. …


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It’s hard to find developers who don’t know what npm is. With 350K+ unique modules in store at the beginning of 2017, it’s the “go to” resource for node.js. But npm is overweight for it’s age.

Childhood Obesity is a Problem… for npm

Npm is growing by leaps and bounds. Some growth is healthy, some is not. Like a child, it needs a proper diet of good practices and developers who exercise them.

350K is a lot of modules, but is that too many? It’s hard to tell. There are lots of unique cases where a slight variation of a module fits one use case better than another. …


I’ve made several major changes to node-windows. There are no more dependencies on native node modules, a new service manager has been implemented, a new logging feature is available, and new commands have been added.

It has been about a month since I released node-windows. Since then, I have been working hard on my main Node.js project, which targets multiple platforms. I’ve been lucky enough to have other folks do some testing on node-windows though. As a result, several issues have been fixed.

Challenges Overcome

node-windows no longer has any dependencies on C++ modules!

Node.js developers using Windows face the npm challenge. For those who haven’t done Node.js development on Windows, you can leverage C++ modules like anyone else, but since most developers distribute them in source format, you have to compile them. This sucks on Windows. Though npm does have a built-in utility for doing this, it is dependent on software that must be installed on the desktop in order to work properly. On Windows, this means installing Visual Basic and the .NET 3.5 framework. Visual Studio is huge. 2GB+ huge. This is further complicated by flags/switches if you’re using VS2012 as opposed to VS2010 (or, ugh, both). It stifles Windows developers, especially new developers, and sort of raises this false mantra that you either need to use a Mac or “just deal with it”. …


Develop Locally… and love every minute.

Despite the abundance of tools on the market for making web design and development easier, there are still fundamental challenges. All developers, experienced or otherwise, must deal with obstacles in their journey to a product release state.

The first barrier many people face is the act of setting up and maintaining web infrastructure. At some point in the design/development life cycle, web products must run on a real web server (i.e. over HTTP). To do this, developers traditionally recreate the web server environment on their own computers, often starting with the installation of Apache, Microsoft IIS, or NGINX. While these are powerful and robust web servers, they’re also massively overpowered for most needs and far more complex than necessary to configure. …

About

Corey Butler

I build communities, companies, and code. http://coreybutler.com

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