Whatcha doin' DW?

Lot's of stuff really, but here's the big ones at 50,000 feet.

Reader Beware: This is just a personal brain dump. If you're looking for technical content, this isn't the post for you,

Hypertext Gaming and Twitch

The original plan for this was to focus all of my streaming on HTML5 related content. I planned it all out, and with doing three streams per week, for about 2 hours each stream, lead to a realization: I need a lot of content to fill that time.

Ultimately, it needed to change, and it has. Now I just do games that I want to do and "analyze" them in an attempt to eventually try and create my own game.

Details of when/why/how of the game are still unknown. But, it's refreshing to do something that is close to my heart and really a departure from what I'm used to sharing on the web.

If you feel like joining the conversation, head over on Sunday, Monday, or Thursday at 9pm CT to chat games, HTML5, or whatever is on your mind.

Hypertext Gaming...is it still a thing?

Yup.

Doing the Twitch stream has lead me down a path of learning how to do video content, and think down that line. For a long time, I've had content planned out for video casting, but wasn't familiar with the tools.

Doing a livestream changes that, and I'm hoping to have some content (including HypertextGaming as a show) soon.

Codin' Stuff and Projects

Over the past year, I've pretty much reinvented myself as a developer by learning how to work without an IDE and using nothing more than a terminal and some kind of text editor.

It's been a success, and at this point I use a browser-based IDE to code sometimes, or VI, Notepad++, or gedit. I've even moved onto a Linux box to do web development and deploy it to the Azure cloud. Kinda cool, if you ask me (but I'm biased).

Check out my progress on Github to see my commits. You can expect a series of developer videos on this in the coming months, as I've been planning it for a while.

We'll see how it goes, now that the blog is upgraded and setup with all the bells and whistles I wanted.

Blog/Vlog - Make Some Content

For the longest time I've wanted to vlog alongside my text-based blog, but have held off. With the Twitch stuff, I have the equipment to record things at the level of quality I want, and it has allowed me to work on my video conversation skills.

We'll see where this goes, but I see this being the first set of video content I start posting on YouTube.

Oh, you've probably noticed some changes to the site. It's going to do that as this is one of the projects I've been tinkering with that is going to turn into a video series if I manage to pull it together.

Feel free to add comment to the bottom of the screen.


Okay, that's enough of a personal update. I'll be in touch soon, I'm sure.

Thanks for playing.

~ DW

Hypertext Gaming - Starting June 29th on Twitch

Starting Sunday, June 29th I will be hosting a livestream on Twitch I call Hypertext Gaming.

The stream is my efforts to combine my two favourite things: HTML5 and Video Games into one conversation.

What is it?

The plan is simple: to play, chat, and enjoy HTML5 videos games from all the different perspectives.

The goal is to have a conversation about HTML5 gaming and put a spotlight it on. Nothing more, nothing less.

What to expect?

The format is still up in the air, but for now I have the plan to play HTML games, have some HTML-related guests join me live for the conversation (and play games), and then a bit of a technical deeper dive in HTML games by playing around with different tools to see what is out there with respect to game development in the HTML space.

Where to find it?

You can watch it live on Twitch or watch replays on YouTube.

You can also join the conversation on Reddit and suggest games for me to play or topics/themes you'd like to see on stream.

Back to Basics: The Text Editor

Goal

To use a minimalist toolset to build and manage an HTML and JavaScript/NodeJS project from the ground up.

Minimalist Toolset?

Simple: no Visual Studio or other IDE. This would allow me to do development on any device, in the literal sense.

Here's what I considered to be minimalist:

  • Text Editor (i.e. Not an IDE)
  • Browser based developer tools
  • Command line

That's it. I haven't done this sort of thing since I first got into programming back in university, prior to falling into Visual Studio in my third year.

Why?

Since the introduction of Windows Apps with the Surface and Windows 8, I've had the facination about having a consistent way to code across all my devices that can handle a keyboard.

As an avid Visual Studio user, I started to see that the Microsoft development flagship did a lot of magic behind the scenes without me knowing what it was.

Now, not only did I want to write code across platforms, but I also wanted to build something from the actual beginning rather than wait for Visual Studio to build the beginning for me.

To do this, I need to step away from my all-in-one toolbox and get back to basics with some simplier tools.

I ended up trying out a few, but these were my top three notable ones.

Sublime Text 3

I found the aesthetics of Sublime Text to be the best of the three, especially the high level view of the file on the right. Still, it didn't win me over in the end.

The negative I had about it was trying to figure out why there was a price point on it. I get that software like this takes time and effort, and ultimately money. I just didn't understand why I would pay for something that I deemed as a "pretty" application.

I know the application has a lot to offer. For example, the large number of plugins through the package manager and the ability to write scripts to customize and tailor the experience. Still, it just didn't grab me other than the aesthetic.

Moving on.

Notepad++

I have used Npp a bunch over the years, but never as a primary code editor. Generally, it's the replacement to Notepad on a server so that I can edit config files on the spot once and a while. This time around, I gave it a real shot.

Ultimately, I was impressed. More specifically, I was impressed with the ability to set the syntax colouring on any language and the officially managed plugin list.

I ended up installing a few plugins to allow me to browse through my file tree, and thanks to the Github community, I added syntax highlighting for both CoffeeScript and LESS.

I'm still using it now with my JS projects, but the web hipster in me misses Sublime.

Vim7

And then it finally happened: I dropped the GUI. Through the years, I have always tried Vim as I know it can be powerful. Unforuntely, I was never really able to get the hang of it...until now.

Vim gives me the ability to write my JavaScript on any platform, Linux or Windows as it's totally command line based.

Here's what got me sold on it: the plugins. Again, the only ones I wanted should allow me to explore the file system and have syntax highlighting. Thanks to Github, I found that and managed to get it going in an hour.


In the end, I'm using Notepad++ probably because I'm a cheapskate and don't understand the price point for Sublime Text. I use Vim when I need to use a shared machine or device that has a terminal.

Still, the experiment was a total a success that between Vim and Notepad++ I get the ability to build code and project structure from the ground up myself, and be able to code from anywhere on any platform.

Thanks for playing.

~ DW

End of Support for Windows XP FAQ

If you are still holding on to Windows XP even though Microsoft has officially ended support for it as of yesterday read this.

Brian Bourne, Colin Smith, Marcos Nogueira, and I some questions about why you should really consider upgrading at this point.

Not to mention, you will get a browser that actually works (referring to IE11).

Thanks for playing.

~ DW


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Microsoft IE MVP - Year Four

That's right everyone, I've been awarded the the Microsoft MVP award in the area of Internet Explorer again for 2014.

This is year four, and I'm as pumped as ever to keep it up for another full year!

Here is to another year of being an IE MVP!

Thanks for playing.

~ DW

BUILD 2014 Cool Stuff - Day 1

I haven't been to BUILD, but I always follow it as Microsoft makes a bunch of really cool announcements throughout that pump me up.

I know there are plenty of people talking about BUILD, but I thought I'd take a moment to share my favourite bits that came out of day one.

IE11 on Windows Phone 8.1

If you're not a WP owner, then you won't care about this. You'll just be missing out.

I use the browser on my phone often. It's a continuous disappointment to me that phone browsers are limited in so many ways. Now that IE11 will be part of my Windows Phone, I won't need to be disappointed.

Plus, Cortana doesn't hurt either.

Reference - IEBlog

Enhanced F12 Developer Tools

IE11 introduced a complete refresh of the F12 Developer Tools. With the IE11 update for Windows 7 and 8.1, we developers get some enhancements including:

  • Source Maps
  • Ability to identify library files (to skip them when debugging)
  • Updates to the JavaScript Console and CSS Editor

You can get a more in-depth review of the dev tools from this post from Aaron Powell and this one about the JavaScript console, and finally this one about the CSS editor.

Status.modern.ie

I blogged about it already.

I am a huge fan of transparency when it comes to technology, and so I found this site to be fantastic.

Enterprise Mode

Old versions of IE lingering around the machines in a big enterprise has been a thorn in my side since I started up with the whole HTML5 thing.

IE has something of an answer. It's called Enterprise Mode and it allows for the IT (not developers) to configure through group policy how IE should render certain URLs, for example to an old HR application that only renders in IE8.

You can learn more about from this post from Chris Love.

WinJS Goes Open Source

Although I'm not a big non-web developer these days, I like watching how I can leverage my HTML and JavaScript skills outside of the browser.

I've always thought WinJS was a cool idea, but wasn't quite what it needed to be.

Today, Microsoft announced that WinJS is going open source. This will allow for the JavaScript community to actually get involved with development and possibly help form the furture of cross-platform development both on and off the web.

This, combined with universal apps, makes HTML and JavaScript a very helpful set of skills when it comes to developing Windows-based apps.

Check out the library on Github or on MSDN.


This is just the tip of the iceburg, but this has been quite the day for HTML and JavaScript developers.

Looking forward to see what happens on day two!