Archived entries for Events

Walking for Farm Animals

This weekend, Aimee and I are taking part in the Walk for Farm Animals 2008 to raise money for Farm Sanctuary, a national non-profit that works to end cruelty to farm and food animals through rescue, education, and advocacy. It’s a great organization that, to me, is way more palatable than more confrontational organizations such as PETA.

We hope you’ll support us by donating $5-10 (or more) via our FirstGiving page (a secure way to send directly to Farm Sanctuary, and they’ll mail you a tax-deductible receipt).


goat at farm sanctuary

We visited Farm Sanctuary’s California farm in Orland last weekend (they have one on NY, too). We stayed in the farm’s guest cabin and were able to spend a lot of time with all the animals (Aimee discovered I’m something of a turkey whisperer). It was fun to see them in action and we had a chance to volunteer a little by preparing food and feeding many of the animals and brushing the goats.

Aimee posted a set of photos (ad 2 vids) from our time at Farm Sanctuary on Flickr.

happy pig at farm sanctuary

Also, if you vote in California, please join us in supporting Prop 2 (sponsored by Farm Sanctuary) with a “Yes” vote in November.

Prop 2 is a modest measure that would allow farm and food animals the ability to stand up, stretch and turn around. Through the reduction of these inhumane caging/crating practices (most commonly used by factory farms) will improve the health and safety of our food, support family farmers, and reduce the environmental degradation caused by these unnecessary practices. The NY Times has endorsed Prop 2 in a thoughtful and straightforward article.

We hope you enjoy our pictures and hope you’ll consider helping us raise money for this important organization.

Thanks and love,
nate & aimee

Slides: Professional Frontend Engineering

Update: Audio for this presentation is now available (mp3) from the conference’s site.

This year, my third presenting at @media in London (2006, 2007), Patrick offered me the morning plenary slot. I used the time to talk about a topic of great interest to me: Professional Frontend Engineering.

Over the last three or four years the role of Frontend Engineering has become more important, more respected, more challenging, and more in-demand than ever before, and so I wanted to put a stake in the ground clarifying what we do, how we do it, and why it’s so important to raise it to a professional level. I had four goals:

  • Put a stake in the ground.
  • Reiterate our values.
  • Advocate the discipline.
  • Nurture a healthy Web.

The goals were threaded throughout the four sections of the talk:

  • Historical Perspective
  • Our Beliefs & Principles
  • Knowledge Areas & Best Practices
  • Why It All Matters

The talk is embedded below (or download: keynote, pdf, quicktime).

I think this topic is critical to the advancement of the Internet. I’ll be writing more about this in these pages in the coming weeks and months, but for now enjoy the slides. And please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

Five Taipei Events

I arrived in Taiwan a few hours ago and am settling into my hotel room in Taipei trying to figure out what time my body thinks it is. But regardless of my body’s ability to keep up with me I have a busy few days ahead.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m presenting an internal Tech Talk to designers and engineers at the Yahoo! Taiwan office, hosted by my friend and colleague Aaron Wu. I love the chance to talk to designers and engineers in the same room, and so I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity.

Taiwan magazine iTHome article

On Saturday I’m offering the keynote at the Open Source Developers’ Conference here in Taipei. My talk is titled “An Insider’s Tour of the YUI Library.” I’ve been experimenting with video clips in my talks lately, and so even though I’m the only member of the YUI team on this trip, I’ll have the video and voices of many from the team with me on stage. I’ve done something similar once before, and it went well then so I’m hoping it goes well again.

Here is some local press coverage of the conference. It’s a trip to see my face surrounded by words I can’t read. If anybody can translate for me, please send me a note or leave a comment (click the images for higher-res copies).

University talks in Taipei

The third event is an interview for that same publication scheduled by Yahoo!’s local “tech PR” team. I’m not used to giving in-person interviews, let alone via translator, so it should be a fun and unique (and flattering) experience. They sent over a few of the questions in advance to set expectations and I gotta say the questions are thought provoking and interesting. (Though I am a little worried about how to translate some of the more fuzzy terminology.)

The fun continues on Monday and Tuesday with my fourth and fifth even is as many days: I have the distinct privilege of address engineering and CS students from both National Taiwan University and the National Chiao Tung University. Each two hour session is part presentation, part on-stage interview with professors, and part question-and-answer. My message is that Frontend Engineering is a first-rate engineering discipline, that industry is hungry for more skills practitioners in the field, and that it’s quite likely the most interesting and stimulating role to play in web and internet development.

I’m exceptionally humbled to be able to speak at such esteemed institutions. I will do my best to live up to the honor. Taiwan: Thank you!

Liveblogging Google App Engine release at Campfire One at Google

Liveblogging on Twitter at http://twitter.com/natekoechley

everything in this article is my paraphrasing of speakers’ presentations. not my own words.

(Video coming soon.)

  1. We run web applications. We’re only focused on this narrow goal.
  2. We handle the entire lifecycle of an app.
  3. Apps are run on Google infrastructure.

“It’s hard, but it’s worth it for us.”

“For the first time you can use the same infra we use…Auth, GOS, BigTable”

The Stack

  1. Scalable serving infra
  2. python runtime
  3. SDK
  4. Web based admin console
  5. DataStore

Demo: App from scratch in 8 minutes.

More details

  1. Scalable Serving Infrastructure: fault tolerant (redundant). Fluid: don’t need to schedule needs up front… more servers come online dynamically.
  2. Python Runtime and Libraries. All tools are generic, so new languages can be dropped in later. Python used in same python available otherwise. Goal: you can use any language eventually. We don’t want to limit you.
  3. SDK: Environment to develop apps locally. Avail for Linux, Mac, Windows today. (But can probably work anywhere.)
  4. Admin Console: web-based admin console. (Looks like google finance meets google analytics.) Tools for request logs. Data explorer. Usage/quote numbers. App-version balancing. Can hook up domain (don’t need to run at *.appspot.com).
  5. Scalable Datastore. Schemaless object store. Not a clustered sql thing. Instead based on BigTable. (Whitepapers online.) Horizontally scalable. Reacts to hotspots. BigTable instead of SQL is a big change, and may take some time to get used to. But we think you’ll come to like it. Schemaless means you can add a new datatype or entity whenever – no need to update your schema.

Now we’re looking at a Datastore Model Class.

GQL Query example

SELECT *
FROM Story
WHERE title = 'App Engine Launch'
AND author = :current_user
AND rating >= 10
ORDER BY rating, created DESC

Other Notes

Mail Sending API

no setup needed.

Make HTTP Requests

Authenticate with Google Accounts

Frameworks

The whole Django framework.

Guido van Rossum: Creator of Python and member of Google App Engine team

My passion is making life easier for developers. With python i’ve done that for decades. Now i’ve joined GAE team. Excited by potential. (and that python was first picked)

First time that GOogle has let third-party people run software on their infra. That’s fundamentally a big deal.

8:13 PM “We’re offing 100% of the python lang.”

8:14 PM – we don’t offer threads, but you won’t been it because of our scalable arch.

GAE uses a quota system so nobody monopolizes the infra.

me: if it’s so scalable, why do they need the quotes?

What’s Next?

  • large upload/download support
  • purchase additional capacity
  • other language support
  • offline processing.

Speaking at Web Design World in Chicago

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be giving two presentations at the Web Design World conference in Chicago in May. My first session, the plenary on Tuesday, defines and discusses Professional Frontend Engineering. The second explores way to enhance web sites with the YUI Library. (Full descriptions of both talks below.)

Speaking at Web Design World, Chicago, May 5-7 2008

You can save up to $300 on registration when you register online (or via 800-280-6218) and use my special promo code SPKOE. Plus, using that code is worth a couple drinks on me after the sessions!

Here are longer descriptions of the two sessions. I’m still creating both of them, so please feel free to leave a comment below with feedback or requests for stuff you’d like to hear about.

Professional Frontend Engineering

“In 2001, most web developers simply pushed pixels. The Web was pieced together by print designers and back-end engineers – almost no one was deeply focused on the front-end. Today, in 2008, as front-end engineers we author complex and efficient software and bend reluctant browsers to our will. And we are broadly recognized and respected as a first-order engineering specialization.

In this talk, I will define the characteristics and important practices of our discipline. I’ll discuss the key challenges we still face. And I’ll offer 13 tactical tips from the front lines that you can put into practice today.”

Enhancing Web Sites with the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library

“YUI is chock full of more than 40 utilities, widgets and tools that make web development and browser-wrangling less painful for small personal sites and heavy-duty industry-leading applications alike. This all-new talk covers what’s new in 2008 (lots), what’s coming next (some very cool stuff), and some practical tips from the trenches. If you’re a seasoned YUI pro, you’ll learn about hidden features and optimization tips. If you’ve never heard of YUI, you’ll learn how to get started. And if you use a different library, you’ll learn about YUI’s library-agnostic tools for things like compression, profiling and unit testing. It’s gonna be fun.”

Meet Up?

I’m looking forward to meeting designers and developers from all around Chicagoland. Please drop me a comment or email if you’re gonna be at the show — or even just in the area — and want to catch up for a drink or dinner. (I’m also planning on being in Madison, Wisconsin — my hometown — the weekend before the conference. So give me a shout if you’re in that neck of the woods.

The Details

See you there!

The 34-Blade Razor from Yahoo!

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Stoyan Stefanov for the publication of Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs after presenting them at the PHP Quebec Conference in Montreal last week. The 20 new tips bring to 34 the total performance tips his team at Yahoo! has published in the past two years.

Stoyan (who authors the phpied.com blog) is part of an established tradition of Yahoo! sharing performance research publicly and widely. Stoyan’s teammate Tenni Theurer concluded the official blog post announcing these data and findings by saying, “We share our findings so that others can join us in accelerating the user experience on the web.”

I agree. That’s why I was honored to help disperse their 14 Rules for Faster Web Sites in my presentation at the @Media conference in London last year.

And that’s why it was a special honor to write the foreward to Steve Souders’ High Performance Web Sites book for O’Reilly last year. (Steve used to head up the Performance team at Yahoo!.) In the foreward I tried to express why performance matters to professional frontend engineers:

Here is why it matters. As a frontend engineer, you hold a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. You’re the users’ last line of defense. The decisions you make directly shape their experience. I believe our number one job is to take care of them and to give them what they want—quickly. This book is a toolbox to create happy users (and bosses, too). Best of all, once you put these techniques in place—in most cases, a one-time tweak—you’ll be reaping the rewards far into the future.

Read more about Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs on the Yahoo! Developer Network site.



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