This Old App

This Old App
A podcast about learning, coding, smashing stuff together, breaking things apart, startups, failing, winning, and any other buzzwords we can think of..

Headless CMS + Static Site Generators
Dec 10 • 24 min
Randy’s been approached, both at his job and from an external firm, about the need for a CMS. The old stalwarts of Wordpress and Drupal don’t seem to work, but the idea of a Static Site Generator and persisted content does. Randy and Don discuss the new…
Twilio Segments, Pricing, and Proxy
Nov 19 • 21 min
Randy has been working on Twilio a bit since the team last worked on the Chasms project and updates Don on some of the interesting features Twilio has brought to market. In addition, they discuss a few gotchas about SMS pricing that might needlessly cost…
Power Apps for the People
Nov 5 • 40 min
Don has been hearing Randy tell him to quit coding so much and finally does something about it: He decides to build an app without writing a line of code (but not delegating it to someone else) by using Microsoft’s Power Apps platform. This week, we…
A Front-End Dev That Can’t Build a Website?
Oct 15 • 27 min
Chris Coyier recently posted a tweet regarding a front-end developer he knew that “could not build a website.” Is this strange? Shouldn’t every developer that claims front-end skills be able to prop up a basic site?
Clean Code is Covered in Caca
Sep 24 • 25 min
This week, we shall rant! The term “Clean Code” is a vague and irresponsible phrase to use regarding programming and Randy will have nothing of it. It’s time Uncle Bob’s cute money-making catch phrase was put to pasture.
Using a Framework Before Mastering the Language
Aug 27 • 35 min
Following a tweet from Ben Hong @bencodezen about whether people need to master JavaScript before using a framework, Don and Randy discuss how they have used, shipped, and been paid to use framework and applications many times without knowing the base…
Developers, Ageing, Naps, and What Are We Talking About, Again?
Aug 13 • 34 min
Don and Randy discuss the changes that ageing has on their development skills and focus, how to combat it (or adapt to it), and stay somewhat off the “old person joke” train… sort of.
Breaking down bootcamps
Jul 30 • 44 min
Randy reacts to a Tweetstorm about Lambda School using his former experiences as a bootcamp teacher to add some perspective
Getting going with Go!
Jul 23 • 36 min
Randy starts his new position and Go (or Golang) is one of the main languages used there. He reviews what he’s learned so far and what’s ahead.
Using Cypress for Integration Testing
Jun 25 • 38 min
Randy and Megan recently worked on a Single Page App and Megan learned how to use Cypress for integration/acceptance testing. Don and Randy discuss how Cypress works vs the old stalwarts, like Selenium. Automated testing for the win!
Microsoft Bounces Back: Monopolies, Ballmer Years, and Open Source
Jun 11 • 45 min
Don and Randy discuss the “New Microsoft” and how a change in leadership has led to a completely different experience with one of the largest technology firms in the World. We also take a road trip back to the early days of developing on the MS platform…
Trying to find a product-market fit
May 28 • 50 min
Don and Randy discuss the latest installment of the Chasms app saga. Don heads out to Denver for a sales conference loaded with potential customers of the Chasms text-to-chat system, but finds no takers. Further research finds a well-funded competitor,…
Testing with Node and JavaScript (Finally!)
May 14 • 33 min
After years of testing with Ruby on Rails and rspec, Randy never had quite the flow with testing on the JavaScript and Node side of things… until now. We discuss the value of testing with Node, Express, and in the context of Firebase Functions and why…
Managed Hosting Rocks! WPEngine, Pantheon, and Heroku
Apr 30 • 27 min
Randy is working with a client that uses Pantheon for Drupal hosting and he loves the tools. After spending a good decade using cPanel on cheap hosts, the stability that WPEngine and Pantheon gives PHP developers the best hosting options around. The…
Typescript Pain. Is there any Gain?
Apr 16 • 33 min
Randy is diving back into the Chasms backend using Firebase Functions, which is written (by him) in Typescript. We discuss the ins and outs as to why Typescript was chosen, some pain points that cropped up along the way, Randy’s attempt to rip it out, and…
Document Datastores and Many-to-Many Relationships
Apr 2 • 28 min
While continuing work on the Chasms app, Randy asks Don for his two cents on an approach to solving a document datastore (firestore) schema involving a many-to-many relationship. A discussion ensues to make sure the whole approach to the project is right.
Building an App (and Learning) with Vue.js
Mar 19 • 61 min
Randy has started working on the Chasms project again, and after the previous episode with David Rogers, he chose to use (and learn) Vue.js to get it started. Don and Randy discuss the various libraries being used to build the app, along with some…
Just Doing It Yourself Because of Liam Neeson
Mar 5 • 54 min
As a continuation to a previous episode, Don discusses why he’s going to roll up his sleeves and handle a data-gathering project himself. He attempts to support his choice using a reference to a Liam Neeson movie quote and Randy begins berating Don with…
Switching Frameworks to Vue.js with David Rogers
Feb 19 • 60 min
We interview David Rogers (a.k.a Al-the-X) about his career path among the front-end frameworks and his latest roles for firms switching from Angular and Backbone to Vue. A very valuable discussion takes place about why both firms chose Vue.js against a…
Learning JavaScript and Accessibility with Megan Schemmel
Feb 5 • 30 min
Don follows-up with previous guest Megan Schemmel, who is learning how to be a full-stack web developer. They talk about how she went from being a non-developer to knowing HTML and CSS, launching websites with Wordpress, picking up skills in…
Products are Fun, Promotion is Not, and Preventing Perfectionism
Jan 22 • 58 min
We begin talking about the career aspirations of sports officiants (tennis gigs) and upcoming technology projects Don wants to tackle, but it slowly morphs into a discussion about outsourcing, build/buy, and trying to maintain perfection simply because…
Discussing Firebase Authentication
Jan 8 • 54 min
Randy has a possible conference presentation coming up in the next few weeks, so he gets Don to listen to the outline and poke some holes in the outline. Along the way, they discuss what Firebase Authentication is, why it’s a worthwhile consideration for…
Follow-up with Mark on Flutter,, and Family
Dec 27, 2018 • 71 min
About a year has passed since we last spoke to Mark Thompson about his journey through a solo developer application build for using the new framework, Flutter. This week we talk about missed deadlines, family focus, Flutter achievements,…
Viability of a Watch App Concept
Dec 11, 2018 • 52 min
Don has an idea for a building a watch app to service American football referees and discusses with Randy whether the concept is viable for a build. Randy provides the customary ref jokes and insults in addition to playing Devil’s Advocate with the idea.…
React-ions and Corrections to Last Week
Nov 20, 2018 • 28 min
Last week’s episode about the speed of React development either struck a nerve, had enough keywords for a Google SEO explosion, or involved a prominent member of the React dev team (cough, Mr. Abramov) for us to hit our highest ratings, yet. So we…
Is React the Popular Kid in School?
Nov 13, 2018 • 62 min
During Randy’s interviewing stint, he spoke to a good number of firms that had needs for different stacks, but one particular framework stood out: React. Startups, small firms, and enterprise firms, alike, all seemed to have projects involving flavors of…
Chipping Away at Project Blockers
Oct 30, 2018 • 43 min
Don continues to work on his Azure-backed PDF processing application and describes his process to fix a number of blockers. After making progress, Randy asks him about widget pipeline options, like IFTTT and Zapier, and then attempts to invoice Don for…
Debugging Azure with Ego Driven Development
Oct 16, 2018 • 46 min
In another effort to prevent Don and Randy from working on the same stack, Don wanders off into Microsoft land to build a web app on Azure, and promptly runs into trouble. Through a little troubleshooting, they figure out the problem while discussing the…
Thinking About Smart Homes
Oct 9, 2018 • 29 min
After a two-week break, we return to discuss how Randy’s buying a house and is thinking about all the new tech and gadgets he can add to it. We discuss home automation, the unnecessary features added to some appliances, and the cool stuff being added to…
To Test or Not to Test?
Sep 18, 2018 • 50 min
Do you practice test-driven development or feel left out of the “cool-kids” club of folks that swear testing is a necessity to develop quality code? We discuss our history with testing, how we haven’t always used it, the struggle to learn it, and how…
What to Use for Mobile Development?
Aug 28, 2018 • 46 min
We discuss the state of development around iPhone and Android development, mainly with using non-native code bases. Randy makes valid complaints about Apple. Don wonders why he isn’t allowed to complain about Apple. The subjects of ReactNative,…
Grab Bag - GraphQL vs REST, Websockets, Uber Fusion, Redux Sux, and Firestore Search
Aug 7, 2018 • 56 min
Don and Randy get back from a couple weeks of trips and projects and discuss a grab-bag of subjects of things they’ve worked on or learned.
Returning to Game Development with Renee Lahoff
Jul 24, 2018 • 41 min
We speak with Renee Lahoff, content editor for Moms Can: Code, who began a career years ago as a game developer, left the industry to start a family, and found that a return to the business wasn’t as difficult as expected. Topics covered: Unity, Game Jam,…
Benefits of Coding While Streaming with Jesse Weigel
Jul 10, 2018 • 47 min
Jesse Weigel talks about being a self-taught developer, how he got started live-streaming his code on FreeCodeCamp and YouTube, and how creating a coding community makes him a better developer.
Moms Can: Code with Bekah Hawrot Weigel
Jun 26, 2018 • 52 min
After giving birth to her fourth child, and suffering a serious medical issue in the process, Bekah Hawrot Weigel coped by finding a new path in life as a software developer. We talk about how she joined Moms Can: Code, founded by Erica Peterson, and…
Callbacks! and Promises! and Awaits! Oh My!
Jun 19, 2018 • 28 min
We discuss the asynchronous nature of JavaScript, the old-person method of callbacks, the evolution to Promises, and then the shiny new car of Async/Await. We whine about the learning curve of all three approaches and try to figure out why so many blog…
Relational vs Document DBs
Jun 12, 2018 • 51 min
We yell at document datastores to get off our lawns! We talk about the joys of SQL and 50-year-old relational databases we grew up with, trying to make sense of why MongoDB, Firestore, and Dynamo are necessary, and Randy’s unhealthy love for Materialized…
Project Chasms - Part 3, Prototype Feedback and The Bug
Jun 5, 2018 • 40 min
We discuss our prototype of Chasms as it’s used in the wild, successfully supporting a real business.
Appraising Alexa (and other voice interfaces)
May 29, 2018 • 54 min
We talk about Alexa development, the strong developer ecosystem Amazon is investing for it, some of the privacy problems it’s facing, and a few quips about Apple, Google, Microsoft, and even Samsung.
Finding Firebase
May 22, 2018 • 47 min
We talk about Firebase as a new backend tool for a few projects we’re working on and cover many of its features, what is weird about it, and why this seems to be a product in which Google is making a big investment. Hint: It’s about the Person, er, people!
Project Chasms - Part 2, Debugging and Brainstorming
May 15, 2018 • 39 min
In another installment related to the Chasms app, we discuss errors with the prototype, finding the right balance of customer/product fit, and the need to brainstorm without adding requirements to the ideas.
Project Chasms - Part 1, Getting Started
May 8, 2018 • 17 min
Listen as Don and Randy begin a new side project together from problem/solution explanation, planning, and build approach. We aim to reduce the product scope and target a quicker launch of the prototype.
Why do we podcast (and other projects)?
May 1, 2018 • 45 min
People (and ourselves) have been asking: Why are you all doing this? What is motivating you to podcast? In this episode, we discuss our motivations for podcasting, our side projects, and why we’re doing multiple challenges at the same time.
The 30-Day Deadline of Failure and Follow-Through
Apr 24, 2018 • 32 min
Mark Thompson gave himself a tough 30-day deadline to build and launch the first version of his app, Setting a goal gave him tremendous motivation, but also served him with a strong dose of feeling failure. Find out how Mark finally…
Learning and Shipping with Flutter
Apr 17, 2018 • 23 min
Mark Thompson discusses his learning and launching a native app using Flutter, a new cross-platform framework developed by Google.
Learning CSS Grid
Apr 9, 2018 • 20 min
We have a guest, Megan Schemmel, discuss her new career as a developer, learning Wordpress, and taking on the new Grid functionality of CSS
Learning JavaScript (Better)
Apr 8, 2018 • 16 min
Don and Randy discuss the steps we’ve taken to better learn JavaScript, Node.js, React, and React Native. A whole lotta videos and pain.
The Intro!
Apr 6, 2018 • 6 min
Randy and Don introduce our new, loose-form podcast, and talk about how it contrasts with our more formal, parent podcast, CTO Think.