Blog Archives

Cleanly declaring AngularJS services with CoffeeScript

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I’ve recently fallen in love with AngularJS for building JavaScript applications. I’ve also come to rely on CoffeeScript to provide a more comfortable, concise syntax than plain JavaScript. It’s common to define many services when writing AngularJS applications. Services are just plain JavaScript objects that are registered with AngularJS' dependency injection system, which makes them available to other parts of your application. If you have experience with Java, this will be familiar from Spring or Guice. I prefer to have very little logic in my controllers, and instead create a domain model from layers of services that each have their own responsibility.

One thing I’ve gone back and forth on is how best to declare AngularJS services using CoffeeScript. Let’s imagine a somewhat contrived example service named Tweets that depends on the built-in $http service. When it’s constructed it saves a timestamp, makes an HTTP call and saves the result to a property. Here’s a pretty straightforward...


Casting the Apple of Eden from bronze


Early in August, my wife, Eva Funderburgh texted me from her bronze casting class:

Hey! I’m one of only two people in the class. I get as many investments as I want. Can you come up with a good plan to make an apple of Eden model by the time I’m home?

Until recently, I’ve been a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed series of video games, especially since it intersects with my interests in parkour and climbing, history, and science fiction. One of the key artifacts in the games' fiction is the Apple of Eden, an ancient piece of technology that gives its owner magical powers and the ability to influence people’s minds. The plot of the games often focuses on finding or controlling these artifacts.

My wife had been branching out from ceramic sculpture to bronze casting, and we’d talked a bit about making a replica prop of the Apple out of bronze, but I never wanted to take up space and materials that she could use for her actual art. But now we had the opportunity, and better yet, a deadline. Within a week, we needed to have the wax form of the Apple built and ready.

The Apple of Eden


Maruku is obsolete

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A few weeks ago I finally released Maruku 0.7.0 after a short beta that revealed no serious issues. This was the first release in four years of the venerable Ruby Markdown library. I inherited Maruku over a year ago and I’m very proud of the work I’ve put into it during that year. I’m glad that I was able to fix many of its bugs and update it to work in a modern Ruby environment. However, I want to recommend that, if you have a choice, you should choose a different Markdown library instead of Maruku.




My wife Eva Funderburgh (Hollis) is a professional artist, and has been making sculptures full-time since we both moved to Seattle in 2005. I don’t have much talent for clay, so my main contribution is to help with her website. A few weeks ago we launched the third iteration of her site, which we’d been working on for several months.


Middleman 3.0

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For the last 8 months or so, I’ve been contributing to Thomas Reynolds‘ open source project Middleman. Middleman is a Ruby framework for building static websites using all the nice tools (Haml, Sass, Compass, CoffeeScript, partials, layouts, etc.) that we’re used to from the Ruby on Rails world, and then some. This website is built with Middleman, and I think it’s the best way to put together a site that doesn’t need dynamic content. Since I started working on Middleman in November 2011, I’ve been contributing to the as-yet-unreleased version 3.0, which overhauls almost every part of the framework. Today, after many betas and release candidates, Middleman 3.0 is finally released and ready for general use, and I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to help build.


Securely and conveniently managing passwords


Good password security habits are more important than ever, but it can be hard to take the common advice about using complex, unique passwords when they’re so inconvenient to manage. This article explains why password security is such a big deal, and then lays out a strategy for managing passwords that can tame your accounts without causing an undue burden.