web development

Automated Backups in CPanel

I'm a middleman when it comes to my own webserver. My sites collectively are too large to exist as separate shared hosting with a webhost, but I also want to keep them all organized together and have the flexibility of managing each individual site that would come with a colocated or private server. If you're familiar with non-enterprise web hosting at all, you've probably just said to yourself "he must be on a VPS, then," and you're exactly right.

I host only a half-dozen sites or so ( though I'm looking for more clients! ), so I've got...

The Light-Blue-Collar Programmer (with Apologies to Clive Thompson)

A couple months back, I read in Wired (in hard copy, no less, because I'm one of those weirdos) Clive Thompson's column "The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding" . It resonated with me at the time, but I sat on the article until I could also link to it, and now it's too late to really weigh in on it, because as soon as it hit the web it blew up. The post has nearly 125k shares on Facebook as I write this, in fact, and way more Facebook comments than any of their recent posts that don't involve...

The New Alvies.org, 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 Alvies.org, 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 alvies.org 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...

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...

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...

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...

How Do You Measure the Size of Your Website?

And, does it really matter in every case?

One of my favorite things to blog about is probably the Caves of Narshe, because it's been something that I've worked on for nearly twenty years, and because it's something that I've worked on that I can always have attached to me publicly (unlike my actual job, which deals with enough proprietary code that I don't want most of it out there). I consider it to be a pretty big site within its fairly small niche, and in the places where it's not that big I still tend to think it does a lot of things better than its "competition."

So,...

Project in Detail: The Kegatron

The "Arkeg" is, as you might be able to suss out if you think long enough, a combination of a stand-up arcade game cabinet plus a "kegerator," another portmanteau describing a mini-fridge with a small keg of beer inside. This is, in fact, a real thing, and it's one that...

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