About Myself and My Work

Greetings! My name is Chris Blackwell and I have been developing web applications for over 15 years. I love it as much today as the day I first started.

In recent years I’ve developed into an online marketer. I use my programming knowledge to make my marketing efforts more effective, without invading a person’s privacy.

You don’t need to get every data point on a person and invalid their privacy. I deeply believe that the best marketing is just good storytelling.


How I Got Started Programming

My love for the Internet started when I was finishing grade school. I was fascinated that one could create their own content and put it online for all to see.

In this very basic nature, the web has still not changed much. The web gives us all a truly open platform to create amazing things. Our lives have been enriched in ways we never thought possible.

My work has always been based on the latest standards and technologies available. I love making applications that are both easy to use and beautifully designed.

Programming Evolution

The first programming language I wrote for the web was Perl. Perl was a great language for writing code that you needed to run on a basic server in the early days. I also began writing PHP since version 3 was released in the late 1990s. In those days everything was a very manual process and you had to role everything yourself.

Like many web programmers, I learned Ruby to use Ruby on Rails when it became popular (I think I jumped on board around version 3). I was also writing several apps in CodeIgniter, a PHP framework. When Laravel was released in the fall of 2011 (I started with version 1.5), I jumped on board and haven’t looked back since.

One of my favourite features of Laravel was its modern use of PHP. It used every square inch it could of PHP and focused on pushing the language forward. Things jumped ahead in version 5.0 when it switched everything to be namespaced.

JavaScript Frontends and API Backends

In 2016 I started in use more and more JavaScript frameworks, and take frontend development workflows more seriously. I began using BackboneJS but quickly migrated over to using EmberJS. I wrote several large applications in Ember and found it a breath of fresh air for frontend development.

I decided that the best way to write web apps with great user experience was to separate our the backend from the frontend. This seems obvious now but wasn’t so obvious back then. I liked the idea of not having to do an entire backend development, just because I wanted to change the colour of a button.

Development Setup and Workflow

I often get asked what kind of programming setup I use. I am a Mac Guy, but I do have a PC for Gaming / Linux purposes. Based on the scope of the project, I switch off between my MacBook Pro and Retina iMac.

My day-to-day machine is a 16″ MacBook Pro w/ Touch Bar, hooked up to 2 x 5K LG Fine Displays. I use a simple Apple Magic Keyboard but, the mouse is the Logitech MX Master 3 (if you don’t have one of these, go buy it now). I use an Ikea sit/stand desk, but when I’m sitting, it’s on a Turnstone Buoy.

For programming, I’m using VSCode or VIM (yes I’ve tried PHPStorm, Code, emacs, Atom, etc), and always have iTerm 2 open.

I run websites like Boating Scout and WorkSweet.