On Sabbatical

As I begin the new year, I'm trying something new. I'll be taking a sabbatical for all of 2016. Normally at this time of year I'm starting new courses and beginning research projects that I'll lead in the spring/summer semester. I've been following that rhythm now for over 16…

How to become a Fool Stack Programmer

At least once in your career as a programmer, and hopefully more than once and with deliberate regularity, it is important to leave the comfort of your usual place along the stack and travel up or down it. While you usually fix bugs and add features using a particular application,…

Introducing a New Thimble and Bramble

Introduction This week we're shipping something really cool with Mozilla, and I wanted to pause and tell you about what it is, and how it works. The tldr; is that we took the Mozilla Foundation's existing web code editor, Thimble, and rewrote it to use Bramble, our forked version of…

Messing with MessageChannel

We're getting close to being able to ship a beta release of our work porting Brackets to the browser. I'll spend a bunch of time blogging about it when we do, and detail some of the interesting problems we solved along the way. Today I wanted to talk about a…

Learning to git bisect

Yesterday one of my students hit a bug in Brackets. We're working on an extension for Thimble that adds an autocomplete option to take a selfie when you are typing a URL that might be an image (e.g., <img src="...">). It also needs to work…

Repeating old mistakes

This morning I've been reading various posts about the difficulty ahead for the Pointer Events spec, namely, Apple's (and by extension Google's) unwillingness to implement it. I'd encourage you to read both pieces, and whatever else gets written on this in the coming days. I want to comment not on…

Video killed the radio star

One of the personal experiments I'm considering in 2015 is a conscious movement away from video-based participation in open source communities. There are a number of reasons, but the main one is that I have found the preference for "realtime," video-based communication media inevitably leads to ever narrowing…

How to encourage contributors

One of the techniques I've used over the years in teaching open source is to invite core members of the projects we're working within to come and give guest lectures. I do this for a variety of reasons. First, I find that students are intimidated by the size and complexity…

Introducing MakeDrive

I've been lax in my blogging for the past number of months (apologies). I've had my head down in a project that's required all of my attention. On Friday we reached a major milestone, and I gave a demo of the work on the weekly Webmaker call. Afterward David Ascher…

blog.humphd.org

Last week I finally made some time to rebuild my blog. The server it ran on died in the fall, and I haven't had the time to properly get it back up. From 2006 until the end of 2013, vocamus.net/dave ran on a WordPress instance hosted faithfully by…