codeblog: okay, now we’re coding; what about fixing the process?

This week’s coding adventure at Sailthru was fairly similar to last week, but my workload was much more varied in terms of coding HTML emails vs. actual programming (i.e. using Sailthru’s scripting language, Zephyr). I spent quite a bit more time digging through Sailthru’s dev docs to find solutions to programming challenges in order to add content and user data to a variety of email templates. Continue Reading…

codeblog: slicing & dicing….and breaking html emails

This past week at Sailthru was all about digging back into the painful process of coding HTML emails.

First the rough spot….one of the key lessons for this week is all about coding from scratch vs. using some kind of pre-baked code or using exported code from a program. The latter can be helpful, but it’s never a panacea in the world of web development. I knew this, but now I know it even better. Continue Reading…

codeblog: a gradual ramp-up, a new title, and “implementing” client dev projects

The week at Sailthru started off a bit slow, with some follow-up from last week’s first full html email coding session. Overall, my take on coding html emails from last’s weeks post still stands, but I don’t really mind it when it gets mixed in with some more programming-heavy projects. And that’s a pretty good description of this week’s workload…a mix of a few different projects. Continue Reading…

Song of the Day: The Barr Brothers – “Even The Darkness Has Arms”

barr_brothers_rockwood

Ok, so I’ve written these guys up before, but this song is new to me and just so f-ing good…

That opening dual guitar part is utter perfection. It’d be great with just one guitar, but I love how the second guitar follows along with the melody.

I have no idea if the Barr Brothers are working on a new album, but I just hope they keep releasing new tunes like this. Keep ‘em coming guys!

codeblog: getting started at sailthru and learning new programming languages

sailthru-logo-450x450_1

I just completed the 1st week of my wed dev apprenticeship at Sailthru, which helps businesses and brands engage with “smart data” to deliver custom, real-time experiences to millions of users. As often happens with the 1st few days at a new company, we spent a good amount of time on HR items, orientation and some training, including a full-day orientation session. Continue Reading…

codeblog: my web dev apprenticeship begins at Sailthru

general-assembly-chalk

So I’ve decided to take an interesting next step in my immersion into the world of web development (which I began last fall). In partnership with General Assembly, I’ve become a web dev apprentice for the next couple months at an NYC startup called Sailthru.

Sailthru helps businesses and brands engage with “smart data” to deliver custom, real-time experiences to millions of users. They seem to have carved out a decent niche with publishers and some solid players in the ecommerce space. I’ll mainly be focused on front-end development but I may also get a chance to dig into some backend and learn a little PHP. Overall, I feel like it’s a good next step that allows me to keep on learning and practicing, while also connecting with an interesting and growing NYC startup (and making a little cash too).

sailthru

To keep tabs on my experience, I’m going to try to blog about it each week on this site. I’m just starting, so I don’t have much to report yet, but I thought it’d be helpful to set some key goals and objectives for my time there. I’ll be sure to revisit these along the way, but here’s what I’ve got so far, including some the WHAT and the HOW for each goal, along with some examples:

WHAT: Master HTML email creation from top to bottom
for example:
–learn how to design/style via tables/rows
–learn how to incorporate personalized data
–learn limits of CSS and CSS3 as used in html emails
–build a number pr presentable templates for portfolio by May

HOW: This will naturally be a part of my day-to-day work at Sailthru. I’d like to be fluent with basic template-building process by end of 1st month.

~~~

WHAT: Find one decent-sized NEED at Sailthru and improve upon it
for example:
–NEED: might observe that their user-facing documentation needs improvement
–DO: provide major edit to all (or at least one key section) of documentation

HOW: This is TBD, since it will completely depend on their client needs and critical issues. But the point is to have some measurable impact on their business.

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WHAT: Keep my eye on the ball for my longer-term job search
–keep applying, interviewing, networking, and building up my “story”
–continue expanding on my Product Manager skill set (wireframes, user stories, UX, Omnigraffle, etc..)

HOW:
–daily emails, job searches, networking emails (or weekly events)
–month 1 – pick two key PM projects to complete (wireframe of site, user stories for certain app, etc…)

WHAT: Learn basic PHP
–Sailthru programs in PHP, so I’d like to understand the basics of this programming language as compared to Ruby

HOW:
This is TBD, as it will really depend on Sailthru project needs and availability of Engineers to help teach me basics.

~~~

WHAT: Finish one of my side projects
for example:
–I’d like to further improve one of my ongoing side projects. Best Ever Live Version and Gigmarklet are prime targets.
–Of course, I may decide to build something entirely new, since I’ve got a few ideas in the hopper.

HOW: This one will be hardest to track and stay on top of, since it will really depend on the amount of free time I have outside my day-to-day gig. For now, I’m going to simply set a deadline for choosing the project to work on…I’ll do that by the end of March.

New Web App: Best Ever Live Version (v1)

After some little battles with Amazon Web Services and Heroku, I’ve finally got a new Rails app up and running today. Here’s the description:

Best Ever Live Version

besteverliveversion

Best Ever Live Version is rails app I built for curating the best versions of live concert audio. Registered users can upload or link to their favorite live tracks by providing their own audio, or they can take advantage of a nifty search-and-add functionality that taps into  the web’s largest archive of concert audio (the Live Music Archive). In the future, I’m hoping to add a few key features including: playlist and voting capabilities, basic track editing (for fade-in and fade-out), and a more robust set of sharing options.

(side note: in case you’re wondering about the name, it is a tongue-in-cheek play on the common post-show responses of overly-enthusiastic fans claiming that a specific version of a song was the “BEST EVER!”)

If you’re curious about other apps that I’ve built, check out my portfolio page or dig into the code on my github profile. Also, if you’ve got any suggestions or want to contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or just go ahead and fork the project from Github.