Initial release of Pinwheel

January 26, 2019 8:25 PM

by Andrew Zigler

After about six months of work, my Pinwheel MUD engine (a variant of Ranvier) is finally in a usable, distributable state with the groundwork needed to add any variety of features. Up until now, I was rewriting all of the source files and making changes to the entities to support full persistence and a web server. I’ve also made numerous changes to the underlying architecture of the engine and reduced the discrepancies between player and non-player characters. As of now, it’s possible for someone to clone the repository, npm install, and with a single command launch a conjoined MUD-web server that’s ready for content and gameplay.

Web Components: spoils of the browser wars

February 28, 2019 8:24 PM

by Andrew Zigler

When we discuss the context of the “browser wars” we often focus just on how one particular browser can get an edge on its competitors by developing or supporting a new feature. While the growing pains of this process have made designing for differing browsers sometimes tedious and unreliable, the war seems to finally be coming to an end and it’s time to reap the rewards.

Converting this website and blog into a Nuxt app

March 31, 2019 4:31 AM

by Andrew Zigler

At the end of 2017, I built this blog with Hexo and then migrated the rest of my site to to use the same Markdown format. Creating the website this way came with a lot of positives, one of the biggest ones being that I controlled the entire build locally on my computer. It’s been fairly easy to make small adjustments to the build process and the resulting files, but generating a static site has also impeded my ability to make this website more dynamic and interesting. But that’s all changing, as I’m converting my website and blog into a pre-rendered Nuxt app!

Finding my style with Material Design

April 30, 2019 7:40 AM

by Andrew Zigler

As I continue converting this website into a Nuxt app, I’m encountering design decisions that permeate deep into the style of my actual website. It’s amazing how dramatic a decision about padding, font, and color can impact the aesthetic and usability of a web interface. I’m more inclined to use an established UI framework that’s been battle-tested and brainstormed into something more polished, rather than making something homebrew for the user to see and interact with. As a result, I’ve started mastering Material Design as I assemble my website and blog with Vuetify components.

Enabling Google to crawl my Nuxt app for superior SEO

May 23, 2019 4:55 PM

by Andrew Zigler

I'm in the final stages of turning my website into a Nuxt app, and all my hard work is finally starting to pay off. When the site was previously statically generated on my computer using Hexo, it was relatively simple (if only tedious) to also configure the pages for ideal SEO. Each page was a collection of partial templates that rendered with the page's details from the command line. From there, I created a simple JavaScript plugin for Hexo that allowed me to add the relevant metadata fields that I needed for each page, but it required defining those properties on the actual Markdown files for each blog post. Once again: tedious. Now that the website is an app, those pages are still statically generated but they're created via a web framework that's actually flattening each route of a single-page application into a static page. Nuxt is creating static HTML that transforms into a SPA upon loading. Talk about a turbo charge!

Publishing my first-ever npm packages

June 22, 2019 10:25 PM

by Andrew Zigler

I'm continuing to work on a few different Nuxt projects after creating this website, but I quickly hit a point where I was tempted to copy code that I had already created, so I paused my projects and returned to my website with the goal of compartmentalizing those useful bits for reuse. After all, this is why the JavaScript ecosystem has npm!

Adding Auth0 to a Nuxt app

July 22, 2019 11:16 PM

by Andrew Zigler

My latest web project required adding security and user authentication to a Nuxt app. The app is served as a static generated (pre-rendered) site on Netlify, which then "unfolds" into a full-featured single-page application upon loading. From then on, each successive route is explored on the live app in the user's browser and the user is therefore no longer navigating static files. This approach provides many benefits for SEO because the content of each discrete page is already embedded in a static generated file that represents the resource, and this improves both load times and Google's understanding of our website.

Using Phaser 3 with Nuxt

August 30, 2019 12:42 AM

by Andrew Zigler

If you're not familiar with Phaser, it's an open source framework for creating browser games in Canvas and WebGL. It comes with a lot of functionality out of the box, allowing a developer to easily implement sprites, sounds, animations, particles, cameras, physics, user input, and other game logic. It's primarily used to create web games, but it's a rendering engine with built-in state logic so it can be used for a wide array of applications that need to marry visuals with user interaction.

Relaxing with CouchDB

September 25, 2019 9:40 PM

by Andrew Zigler

I'll admit it: databases scare me. I've always avoided databases in my projects because the idea of sorting and scheming all my necessary data is an intimidating task for the uninitiated. Up until now, if I needed to store data then I would usually save it to a local JSON file (like for Pinwheel) or put it in localStorage (like for this website). However, you can only do that for so long until you start to hit limits in your implementation. So this month I've been dedicating myself to learning databases. Ideally, I just want to shove data into JavaScript objects and store them just like that, so its no real surprise that my first major database exploration has been with CouchDB, which is a NoSQL database maintained by the Apache Software Foundation. And I have to say, it's been a relaxing experience so far.

Untitled Goose Game Review: Avian Agent of Chaos

October 23, 2019 11:30 PM

by Andrew Zigler

People online are practically jumping up and down excited about a casual simulation game about a naughty, naughty goose. In its first two weeks, Untitled Goose Game sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. We've officially crossed the Rubicon. With enough creativity, anything can be a game.

JavaScript and Java Most in Demand Software Languages

November 22, 2019 10:50 PM

by Andrew Zigler

Programming languages JavaScript and Java are the most sought-after skills for IT professionals, according to a recent report from online academy Pluralsight. The report, called the Technology Index, breaks down the demand for a software developer’s proficiency in specific languages.

Review: Visme puts your visuals ahead of the curve

December 29, 2019 10:50 PM

by Andrew Zigler

I've been updating some of the images on my website, and conforming to a new image size for all of my social media shares. This turned out to be a pretty big project, since I needed to crop or rebuild over forty different blog post headers into the new format. I didn't want to do it with Photoshop again, so I joined Visme to make it easy! Visme is an easy-to-use online tool that you can use to create and organize all types of visual content. Visme has been around for over 5 years, so it has a lot to offer. Bloggers (like me!) are using it to create static graphics or presentations, but I promise that I'll try not to get too hammy with it!