Recently, I published a 4 part horror story on Reddit that was fairly successful. I aimed to use web technologies to make an immersive experience that would actively engage my audience. I wanted to write a blog to share my technology choices, general informations, and lessons learned to hopefully help others build these kind of experiences. The full code for the website and all related scripts can be found here: Operation Storefront

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Deploying a web application is always kind of a scary process.  I feel like even when it works well, there’s a second where I wonder if it’s going to break.  Deploying a web application manually is probably where this irrational fear comes from.  Now that automatic deployments are the norm, there’s no reason to be scared anymore.

Capistrano is a standard for automatic deployments.  It’s been around for a while now, it’s a mature product, and it works really well.  There’s good documentation available, and honestly, it’s never really given me any problems.  Capistrano is also written in Ruby.  Unfortunately, I don’t program in Ruby (nor do I want to), so I’ve never really felt comfortable setting up and configuring Capistrano.  Not to mention that I feel a little dirty having Ruby code in my beautiful node codebase.

When I heard about ShipIt though, I got really excited.  I could have automatic deployments with a tool written in Javascript?!  Count me in!  I installed it, started configuring it into my Koa Starter Kit, and wrote this blog to document my progress.

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I recently started working on a new web project (borrowbot.net), and I was trying to decide how to structure it and what libraries to use.  I had used Koa.js in the past and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to use that again.  I came up with a list of things I wanted to include:

I also had found some cool packages that weren’t vital, but that I wanted to include.

After I got BorrowBot up and running and set up with those libraries, I started a new repo to make a starter kit.  I removed all the app specific stuff, and then I was left with a bare bones skeleton that can be used with any project.

Check it out, let me know how you like it, and make some cool stuff with it!

Koa Starter Kit

So I’m really into TV.  I watch dozens of shows at any one time, but since I’m constantly hopping around shows, I have a hard time remember which episode I stopped at.  Also, when shows stop for the end of the season or a mid-season break, I never know when they are supposed to come back on again.

I made Bloodhound to fix this problem.  It’s currently in very early stages of development, but already I find it very useful.  It will let me track as many shows as I want, pull information from multiple sources, and make sure that I know what is next to watch.  The source code on GitHub can be found at the link above, and a live hosted demo can be found at Bloodhound.tv.

Let me know what you think, and if you want to improve on it, please send a pull request.