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Web Development is Awesome!

Peter Drinnan

PLEASE NOTE: I am no longer taking contracts but can recommend bitHeads for web and mobile application development, and Acart Communications for social media campaigns.

As for the rest of it, I've been busy lately using Laravel for PHP development, AngularJS and Knockout for SPA development, Bootstrap for responsive front-end development, and most recently started using C# for API development (speed blows away all others). I also dabble in Java (mainly for android), but have used it for web app development as well (with Spring).

Favorite tools are generally open source but I'm always happy to pay for a good product.

Stuff That Matters (to me)

Web Components - The Future of Web UI Development

Jan 18, 2015

Anyone who has been following web trends know by now that Angular 2.0 will be radically different from what we've used so far. In trying to understand why the Angular team is changing much of the architecture, I think one has to consider that emergence of web components as a new standard.

So what are web components? In a few words, they are encapsulated snippets of HTML, CSS and Javascript that can be added to an HTML document to provide custom components. Think of RAD development for the web, where you simply drop components into your app, configure them and move on without having to do a lot of repetitive coding.

As the standards for web components become reality, it will open up a lot of doors for web developers who have until now been forced to hack every page for every browser to do what other development platforms have been able to do for years - allow developers to focus on long game goals, not in-your-face UI issues.

You can see an example of a web components based UI design prototyping tool here, or go through the deck below.

Avenue Post - My Favorite News Aggregator.

Dec 20, 2014

I've been using this tool for a few weeks now and it covers pretty much anything I'd care to read about in my daily news hunt. Covers news for Ottawa, Canada, World and specific interest topics. The mobile version is not yet out but looking forward to using it at some point.

See: Avenue Post

The Consensus on AngularJS being Awesome

July 26, 2013

I've been working with javascript frameworks for years and although they have been progressing in leaps and bounds, the ones I used were stuck in the same paradigm of tip-toeing around the limitations of HTML.


A coupe of months ago I decided to check out what all the buzz around AngularJS was about and quickly realized this was a framework (or maybe a philosophy) that is wholly grounded in the notion of extending HTML dynamically, and taking full advantage of the largely yet unexplored potential of HTML5 and CSS3.

AngularJS lets you define your own HTML tags. For those who want to be W3C compliant (front-enders), it lets you use data attributes to extend the DOM. It is a paradigm shift in thinking that effectively raises a big fat middle finger to old browsers (ahem ... IE).

It is relatively new and I hear a lot of developers who have homed their skills with other Javascript frameworks use that as an argument for not using it. It is a weak argument if you look at the growth of usage:

Marketing Agency Digital Opportunities for 2013 to 2016

March 20, 2012

Opportunities Just starting out in Ottawa as a professional marketer? Here are a few ideas to think about for getting a toehold in a highly competitive industry. By taking advantage of the latest trends in digital marketing, you may be able to capitalize on opportunities that arise in an industry that is going to be turned upside down over the next 5 years.

The article is based largely on my own experience over the last couple of years as a hands-on developer and consultant working within an Ottawa marketing agency.

Power to Change Lives

Nov 22, 2012

LUTW We just launched this site on November 20th. It is one the the best projects I've worked on in a while. Several years ago I saw the first low-powered LED bulbs and knew this was something with potential to sustainably improve literacy, health, and economies in developing countries. When I saw the chance to participate I couldn't resist. We are now seeing low-cost solar power systems combined with low-power LED bulbs empowering millions of people around the world with opportunities to improve their own lives. This is largely thanks to the hard work of organizations like Light Up The World

Working on the new LUTW website was a great collaborative project with many dedicated hands. It showcases the amazing illumination projects being managing all over the world. There are so many stories to tell and the website can only show a fraction of what is being done but I think it will touch anyone who sees it.

Stay tuned for the tablet revolution...


Working Towards the Accessible Web

July 12, 2012

WCAG Color Contrast Checker I enjoyed contributing my time last week towards building the new WCAG color contrast checker with my colleagues at Acart. Initially this was going to be an internal tool but it was so cool we decided to release it into the wild.

The main idea behind the tool is that it appeals to designers rather than programmers. Based on feedback so far, we think we got that right.  

The whole thing was built on jQuery and CodeIgniter. Building it with these tools cut our development time down to a fraction of what it could have been otherwise.
Acart has a very creative team so there will be plenty more great tools to help designers make the web more friendly for people with visual impairments. I'm looking forward to posting them here.


Android Free At Last

May 24, 2012

Google beats Oracle As much as I dislike Google's new privacy policy and general gravitation towards petty corporate sleaze, I am very happy to see the king of corporate greed and sleaze beaten in court by a Jury that overwhelmingly supported Google's defense of the Android Java API against Oracle's patent claims.

Relating specifically to Google Android, this is an important event for many developer who were until now on the fence waiting to see where the wind would blow. It is now much safer to invest the time it takes to fully master the Android implementation of the Java API.

For development in general, this is an important ruling that may be a hopeful precedent for the fight against patent trolls who are already hurting developers and consumers.

Let us hope that Larry Ellison is the first of many patent trolls to lose the case.

My Mobile Modus Operandi

April 22, 2012

Scanning Cellphone After countless hours of analyzing web analytics and simply observing people in the real world I have found that people have a different take on information when they are on the move.

Simply put, shoppers, partiers, or business people rushing to see clients want information that can be quickly absorbed. When at home or an office there is more time to read 2 page company mission statements.

As a mobile website developer hired to help clients plan information architectures, I discourage simply trying to make desktop sites "responsive". CSS hacks forego the opportunity to build an engaging presence that focuses on the mobile mindset.



Find Me

I am a web application developer based in Ottawa.

You can often find me at local Ottawa cafés talking with other developers or at Chapters in Kanata (with my dog) reading development books that I actually buy from time to time. I have many Ottawa based associates specialized in several areas of web development so if I can't find a quick solution I can likely refer you to someone who can help. I am a regular participant and occasional host for developer events in Ottawa.

Aside from being a web developer, I try to enjoy everything Ottawa has to offer as a city and as a recreational area. During the summer I am an avid Ottawa river sailor, hiker, camper and canoeist. In winter I am a cross country skier and snowboarder.

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