Travis Tidwell

Web technology, software, and everything else that bores my wife..

Introducing The Combined Form and API Platform for Developers.

I am very excited to talk to you about a new project that I have been working on called <>. As a quick introduction, is the first combined Form and API platform built specifically for Developers. It provides them an easy to use drag-and-drop form builder interface that not only creates forms that can be embedded within their applications, but also automatically generates a RESTful API to support them. Take a look at this 2 minute video to get a better idea of this amazing technology, and enjoy!

How to Build a M.E.A.N Web Application

Lately I have been really getting into a new web application stack referred to as the M.E.A.N stack. To give you a very brief description, the M.E.A.N stack is a full web application stack where JavaScript is used at every layer. The acronym stands for the following:

  • M: MongoDB – A NoSQL database powered by JavaScript.
  • E: ExpressJS – A Node.js application framework.
  • A: AngularJS – A front-end single-page javascript application framework.
  • N: NodeJS – A server-side javascript application engine.

This stack has many benefits that caters itself to the new Web 3.0 movement where the Internet of Things is radically changing old paradigms on how web applications should be built. For example, the M.E.A.N stack requires a total separation between the Front end application and the Backend server via RESTful API’s. This provides the ability for multiple front end applications to be built on top of a single backend REST service.

When learning how to build a M.E.A.N web application, one thing that frustrated me was the lack of a complete walkthrough tutorials on how to build an app within this architecture. I was able to find plenty of documentation over the atomic pieces of M.E.A.N (such as plenty of documentation and videos over AngularJS), but it was really up to me to put all the pieces together to build an application. I created this presentation and video as a COMPLETE walkthrough on how to get your application started.

I hope you enjoy it.

When to NOT Use Drupal

Today, I gave a presentation to the Drupal Dallas meetup over when to NOT use Drupal. This is in many ways a hard topic to discuss, since as a Drupal fan, I want Drupal to be the solution to many web problems. However, it just isn’t pragmatic in many cases, and the presentation I gave explores this topic.

In short, my challenge is for everyone to stop saying “Yeah, Drupal can do that!” and instead start saying “Yeah, Drupal SHOULD do that!” and mean it.

I hope you enjoy.

A Nerds Guide to a $100 DVD-less Car Movie Experience

For those out there with kids, you already know what a nightmare it is to go on a road trip with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids… but driving in the car with them on a road trip makes me go batshit insane. That is why it is important for all parents out there to establish a road-trip strategy to keep your kids occupied. Movies are great, but that also opens the door for more frustration trying to deal with movies in the car… Things like…

  • It’s expensive! (especially if you have more than one kid who don’t like to watch the same movies)
  • Keeping track of DVD’s in the car is a nightmare
  • Car DVD players have a tendency to trash your DVD’s
  • You have to keep swapping out movies unless your kid is OK with watching the same one over and over…
  • The list goes on.

So, for all those parents out there, who would like a good car movie experience for both the kids and you, here’s a nerds walkthrough on how you can make it happen.

Fun With GIT and AWK

For those of you who use GIT, you have probably noticed that while it is an incredibly powerful tool, one area that it could use some help is reporting. For example, Let’s say that I want to determine all changes to a file provided a date range… how would you do that? While there are many plugin utilities out there that provide reporting to GIT, very rarely will you find a utility that is able to generate the report you need at all times.

One thing that many people do not realize is that within GIT you can easily pipe the log to another application and quite literally build your own reports from within the command line. One of the more powerful applications that you can utilize is AWK, which allows you to write some code that parses through a log to generate a report to your needs.

Here are a few that I created to give you an idea of what you can do with this technique.

Working With Seamless iFrames

As a web developer, one of the things that I have learned is that old conventions should NOT apply to modern practices. iFrames is a great example of a wonderful web technology that is shunned today based on old impressions and existing bad practices. But, when it comes to iframes, you should not base your impressions off of the applications of that technology, but off of the technology itself. And as it turns out, iFrames are amazing if used correctly.

Coder Soundtrack Volume 3

It has been a while since I released my last Coder Soundtrack, and due to such a great response from the previous soundtrack, I have decided to bring you my latest. I hope you enjoy…

An Online RSA Public and Private Key Generator

I was recently in a meeting where a person needed to generate a private and public key for RSA encryption, but they were using a PC (Windows). This is something that is easily done via a terminal using ssh-keygen on Mac and Linux, however on Windows… this tool is not easily accessible to the non-technical person.

It then occurred to me (and a head slapped followed), that I have fairly recently published a library for Javascript RSA encryption which includes private and public key generation for RSA encryption. Not only that, but this is all available online.

So, if anyone needs an online RSA key generator, look no further than

Sudo Make Me a Sandwich… Literally!

So, I have been preparing for my presentation that I will be giving to the jQuery Conference, where I will be talking about automating and testing the web using a combination of jQuery, Node.js, and Phantom.js. This presentation will primarily go over a new library that I wrote called jQuery.go.js, which takes the jQuery interface and brings it into Node.js for the sole purpose of web automation and testing using the Phantom.js headless browser. It is a project that I am very happy with so when you get a chance, check it out and give me your feedback…

But what REALLY excites me about this presentation is the project I came up with that demonstrates the power of these three JavaScript technologies combined. What I basically created was a command line application that allows you to order a sandwich from Jimmy John’s website. This should strike a chord with many geeks out there, since there is a legendary XKCD comic which I basically made real with this project…

So, without further adieu, I give you MakeMeASandwich.js!