Let me tell you a story

Note: This blog was cross-posted from the StrongBlog, check it out!

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped - turned upside down - and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became the Developer Evangelist of a place called StrongLoop. Well, that didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped, but you get the gist. I'm the newest employee at StrongLoop and our first Developer Evangelist! I'll elaborate on what I'll be working on later, but first, I wanted to give you some background as you'll be hearing from me a lot.

How did I get here?

My first computer arrived at our home in 1993 while my mother was out. It didn't look all that complicated, so I began to take it apart in an effort to find out how it worked. We were all relieved (and more than a little surprised) when I was able to put the computer back together, except for a few "extra" screws, and it still turned on. I moved quickly from hardware into software and began programming games in BASIC and then C++. I played around with a lot of languages back then. If you want to inspect my geek card, I will happily regale you with the minutes from my high school TI programming club, of which I was Vice President.

After high school in Southern California I moved east to attend the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, working on various computer projects along the way, most of them on the web, which was still quite new at the time. I enjoyed the campus so much that I decided to stay and become a developer with the University's Information Technology Services department. While there I wrote code in NATURAL, Java, Perl, JavaScript (and HTML and CSS), and Python.

The University allowed me plenty of opportunities to tinker and teach others what I had learned. I quickly became the "go to" person in our developer community for JavaScript questions (there were over 250 developers on campus). That's where I picked up the the teaching and public speaking bug, and it has helped me focus my professional energy. Although I've moved around a bit since then, I'm now settled in Washington, DC with my attorney wife and spoiled pets. I've spent many years evangelizing web technologies through community classes, hackathons, barcamps, and conferences all over the world. And now I get to do the same for an amazing company that plays a huge role in the Node.js space, StrongLoop!

So why Node.js?

Developers often ask me: "Why Node? What's so special about it?"

As with many JavaScript developers, over the last 10+ years I've wanted so much more from this little language that could. Now that we're finally seeing progress in the language definition we only have one lament: browser support. We all like to rag on Internet Explorer, but the fact is our environment is fragmented much further than support for template strings and other ES6 features; we can't even agree on how to get line numbers into error objects.

Node.js is an immense leap forward. It makes JavaScript a first-class citizen on the back-end and provides a consistent environment in which to work with JavaScript. The asynchronous nature of Node lends itself quite appropriately to HTTP, a system of unknown numbers of requests with numerous potentially blocking actions taking place on each hit. Node is built on top of the V8 engine, making it incredibly fast. JavaScript is one of the most widely used languages today, and it deserves more attention than our browsers have been giving it for the past 20 years.

Okay, Node is awesome, but why StrongLoop?

I've been a fan of StrongLoop for a while; their developers are smart - really smart. We have a number of Node core contributors that have helped us get to where we are now. The company is strong and growing quickly. We've just announced a partnership with CA Technologies and the first complete API lifecycle management UI for Node. Besides contributing to the Node core, we also maintain some great open source software. All of that is to say that StrongLoop is heavily invested in the community - something I've been passionate about for years. And this brings us to the last question for today...

What will you do exactly?

Great question! As a Developer Evangelist I'll be engaging with my fellow developers on a daily basis (that's you!). Aside from blogging here at StrongLoop HQ, you'll often find me on Stack Overflow and Twitter answering questions and making jokes. I'll also be hitting the road to speak with community members, organize events, and teach anything and everything from Node to Express and Loopback, and anything else you want. My ears will always be open to gather feedback and absorb what's important to developers and bring that knowledge back to StrongLoop.

Are you interested in getting StrongLoop out to your event? Hit me up at callback@strongloop.com and we'll see what we can work out!

Until next time...

"Outside of a dog, a [blog] is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
-- Groucho Marx

Published on January 22, 2015