Josh's Brain Blogs

The New, Part Two

What you missed in part one was mostly me explaining that I like old video games and I've lived a lot of places. Full steam ahead into part two!

The Design In Practice To make this idea work, I needed to establish the requirements for the design, just as if it were a fully-scoped project. I needed the design to...

The New, Part One

I hadn't done a whole lot with my eponymous website in a decade; not as if the thing gets a boatload of traffic, but as someone who makes his living and has his major hobbies all connected to the web, it was a bit awkward to have something quite so stale. In the time since the site was last refreshed, I've learned a great deal about design and development, changed my focus personally and professionally, and lived in a great many varied places, and that's something I wanted to reflect in my own personal webspace. Hence, this new site.

The Design Impetus...

Drupal 8 Drove Me Temporarily Mad

When I first started building my new site here, I had only one system in mind with which to run it: Drupal 8. There were a few reasons for this, but chief among them were two. First, I'd been using Drupal with a lot of success for many years to get sites with custom designs up and running quickly for both small businesses and my own needs (most recently, when I spent a brief time attempting to sell my home in Massachusetts on my own). Second, I hadn't had a chance to use Drupal 8 yet and I expected it to be light years ahead of what I was used to, and I was excited to add it to my...

Don't Trust Tech Too Much

My wife got a new car recently, a slick little 2016 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn. It's worth noting here that I will not-humbly claim that this is largely my influence - I've wanted a GTI since I was 20 years old, and now she's had two. She doesn't like me crowing about that influence, though, so don't tell...

Mmmmmmm, Text Pastries

Do you use Sublime Text ? You should, it's great. I used other tools for web development for the last ten years or so, but early in 2016 I made the change to SublimeText and I don't think I can ever go back. I was sold the first time I was able to download a community-sourced plugin to provide accurate syntax highlighting for a LESS file, and sold even harder the first time I wrote a macro to generate a bank of similar table rows with a key combination.

The coolest thing I've seen, though, might be...

Why Thumbtack Isn't Working for Me

I run the server on which this site lives as a managed VPS (with Wiredtree out of Chicago, for what it's worth - I've been with them for the better part of a decade now and have been very pleased with their service). The biggest reason I have it as a VPS is because the traffic I get over at Caves of Narshe is sufficient to make shared hosting solutions a non-starter, but the revenue that CoN brings in is wildly insufficient to run a legit private server - or, indeed, to pay for a VPS on its own. As such, over the years I've brought in a few small clients for whom I maintain and host their...

Project in Detail: CoN World Cup

I've been a soccer player for the vast majority of my life, but my path to being a soccer fan was a slower one. That's something for some other blog, probably. But over at the Caves of Narshe, still my primary online community, there have been over the years a lot of folks who have been soccer fans just like me, and a fair amount of banter around the Beautiful Game, as they say.

There's actually more crossover between...

Guest Post by the Blogger's Daughter





Project in Detail: Mobile Caves of Narshe

As most of the web development for the Caves of Narshe is a one-man operation, I admit that the site can be slow to adapt to trends. Most recently, that trend has been responsive web, which is particularly annoying given that the site's core competency, video game information and walkthroughs, lends itself extremely well to use on a mobile device. Most games now are played with the user either on the mobile device itself, or with the phone or tablet sitting next to them as they play from the couch. A hard-to-use UX for mobile makes the site itself less attractive to players, which...

Generating Consistent Hover Effects Programmatically

A while back, I had a project in which I had a series of buttons that needed to be styled in a rainbow of candy colors, for a list of items that all lead to different spots in the same content hierarchy. The design mockups I was given for the project were detailed but did not appear to be internally consistent from color to color; the base colors were chosen from a brand guide, but the guide did not provide any detail for how to lighten or darken the colors for user interaction states. I started by developing CSS to match the mockups, but the problem kept gnawing at me. If these were solid...


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