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Implementing Push Notifications: Setting Up & Firebase

You know those the little notification windows that pop up in the top right (Mac) or bottom right (Windows) corner when, for example, a new article on our favorite blog or a new video on YouTube was uploaded? Those are push notifications. Part of the magic of these notifications is that they can appear even when we’re not currently on that website to give us that information (after you’ve approved it). On mobile devices, where supported, you can even close the browser and still get them. Article Series: Setting Up & Firebase (You are here!) The Back End (Coming...

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Double Opt-In Email Intros

You know those those “introduction” emails? Someone thinks you should meet someone else, and emails happen about it. Or it’s you doing the introducing, either by request or because you think it’s a good idea. Cutting to the chase here, those emails could be done better. Eight years ago, Fred Wilson coined the term “double opt-in intro”. This is how it can work. You’re doing the vetting Since you’re writing the emails here, it’s your reputation at stake here. If you do an introduction that is obnoxious for either side, they’ll remember. Make sure you’re introducing people that you really do think should know each other. Like a bizdev cupid. You’re gonna do two (or three) times writing The bad way to do an intro is to email both people at once. Even if this introduction has passed your vetting, you have no idea how it’s going to turn out. There is a decent chance either of them or both aren’t particularly interested in this, which makes you look like a dolt. It doesn’t respect either of their time, puts your reputation at risk, and immediately puts everyone into an awkward position (if they ignore it they look like an asshole). Instead, you’re going to write two emails, one to each person you’re trying to introduce. And you’re not going to reveal who the other person is, except with...

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Visual Email Builder Apps

I bet y’all know that apps like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp have visual email builders built right into them. You drag and drop different types of content right into a layout. You edit text right within the email. It’s nice. It’s a lot nicer than editing the quagmire of HTML underneath, anyway! But not everybody needs all the rest of the features that those apps bring, like list management and the actual sending of the email. Perhaps you have an app that already handles that kind of thing. You just need to design some emails, get the final HTML,...

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A Poll About Pattern Libraries and Hiring

I was asked (by this fella on Twitter) a question about design patterns. It has an interesting twist though, related to hiring, which I hope makes for a good poll. Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll. I’ll let this run for a week or two. Then (probably) instead of writing a new post with the results, I’ll update this one with the results. Feel free to comment with the reasoning for your vote. Results! At the time of this update (September 2017), the poll has been up for about 6 weeks. 61% of folks said they would be more likely to want a job somewhere that were actively using (or working toward) a pattern library. That’s a strong number I’d say! Especially when 32% of folks responded that they don’t care. So for 93% of folks, they either are incentivized to work for you because of a pattern library or don’t mind. So is a pattern library good not only for your codebase and business, for attracting talent as well. Only 7% of folks would be less likely to want to work there. Presumably, that’s either because they enjoy that kind of work and it’s already done, or find it limiting. Read the comments below for some interesting further thoughts. A Poll About Pattern Libraries and...

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Using ES2017 Async Functions

ES2017 was finalized in June, and with it came wide support for my new favorite JavaScript feature: async functions! If you’ve ever struggled with reasoning about asynchronous JavaScript, this is for you. If you haven’t, then, well, you’re probably a super-genius. Async functions more or less let you write sequenced JavaScript code, without wrapping all your logic in callbacks, generators, or promises. Consider this: function logger() { let data = fetch('') console.log(data) } logger() This code doesn’t do what you expect. If you’ve built anything in JS, you probably know why. But this code does do what you’d expect. async function logger() { let data = await fetch('') console.log(data) } logger() That intuitive (and pretty) code works, and its only two additional words! Async JavaScript before ES6 Before we dive into async and await, it’s important that you understand promises. And to appreciate promises, we need go back one more step to just plain ol’ callbacks. Promises were introduced in ES6, and made great improvements to writing asynchronous code in JavaScript. No more “callback hell”, as it is sometimes affectionately referred to. A callback is a function that can be passed into a function and called within that function as a response to any event. It’s fundamental to JS. function readFile('file.txt', (data) => { // This is inside the callback function console.log(data) } That function is simply logging the...

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