Shimware

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Programs written specifically to make programming easier or simpler. Usually it involves some kind of kludge or requires the person to adopt some new convention.

The promise of Shimware is the user will never have to learn the specific programming language it generates.

Some examples:

  • coffeescript
  • compass, SASS, LESS
  • Gems

Recouping lost hours

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Yeoman_-_Modern_workflows_for_modern_webapps

I think I may have found a way to get 2-3 weeks of my life back since I started using Yeoman to set up projects. Of all the things it does, probably the most useful is auto refresh the web browser. All the other stuff is just icing on the cake.

Some time back, I built my own bash script that built out a decent project layout and fired off some useful templates. It gets to be a royal pain to maintain. While it’s good practice to think ahead like that, I think it’s better to use stand on the shoulders of those who’ve been there before you.

If you’re not already, start using project builders like Yeoman. There’s something nice about digging right into code and design without losing all your gumption in the metawork of getting set up.

 

Bike Share Chicago

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The other day, I tried out Chicago’s new bike share program called Divvy Bikes. Let me start by saying you need to be really comfortable riding a bike and riding in a densely populated area before you rent one of these bikes. I’m not sure if that’s clear for some people. I have ridden plenty in the city, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

The bikes themselves are really durable. They must weigh a good 40 lbs or more. They’re definitely built for wear and tear, not speed. They have three speeds. Well, really two useless ones, and a third gear that you’ll pretty much leave it. Since Chicago is relatively flat, you’d only need to switch down to get going quickly.

I was really pleased with the front basket design. It’s just right for laptop bags because it’s open on the sides and has a really strong bungie cord to hold it securely in place.

You can rent the bikes without a subscription. That’s something I didn’t know and was one reason I hadn’t tried it sooner. The price is right. It’s $7 for 24 hours, but you can only have the bikes for 30 minutes at a time. There are a lot of bike stations, but if they’re full, you have to go somewhere else to lock it up. I really thought a shortage of bikes would be the problem, not a shortage of places to drop them off.

A rider's POV from the seat of a DIVVY bike.

A rider’s POV from the seat of a DIVVY bike.

In my opinion, it’s better than a cab for speed and price. But it’s definitely not for everyone. I would not recommend tourists using them. Chicago may claim to be a bike-friendly town with it’s dedicated lanes, but Chicagoans in cars are not.

Overall, a great experience. The bike stations are where you need them. You can pretty much use it spur of the moment. The bikes themselves are a quality ride.

Shell Apps and Silver Bullets

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This is one of the better breakdowns I have read dissecting the native [mobile] app vs. the hybrid approach.

The difference is shell apps come from the wrong mentality. They start from, “How do we reduce effort?” instead of “How do we deliver the best product?”

via Shell Apps and Silver Bullets.