Personal Site & Blog of

Andrew L. Van Slaars

What I'm Currently Up To

I thought I’d create a page that is a little more dynamic than my about page and update this one with things that are currently on my plate… projects, job, interests, things I’m learning, etc.

As of: April 4th, 2018

Job

As I write this, I am coming up on two months in my current role. I am working as an Enterprise Architect for client applications at Cengage. In this role, I’m focused on strategic technology decisions that will impact the long-term direction of the technology solutions our teams build. It’s less day-to-day coding, but the trade-off is the opportunity to be involved in many of the big picture decisions.

I am absolutely loving this job! Not only do I enjoy the resposibilities of the role, I also get to work with an incredible team for a company who’s mission is a perfect fit for me, given my passion for teaching and education.

I am still working remotely. I really value the flexibility and additional family time remote work allows for, so for this, I am grateful 😀.

My Videos on egghead.io

All of my videos are available from my instructor page, or you can follow the links below for specific playlists and courses.

Safer JavaScript with the Maybe Type - COMING SOON!

I’ve recorded the lessons for a new course on the Maybe data type, using the excellent crocks library. I had a ton of fun making it and I’m looking forward to it being published.

End to end testing with Cypress

I’ve recorded the lessons for a new course on Cypress. I’m looking forward to it being published.

Build a React App with Redux

Build a React App with Redux

This is my second full course on egghead. It covers the core concepts needed to use Redux when building a React application. It covers the basics of creating a store through using middleware for async actions and even includes lessons on React Router v4 and how to prepare your app for deployment and make it live with now. It covers a lot of ground and comes in at 111 minutes!.

Learn Ramda JS Playlist

A playlist of free lessons that cover various functions and concepts used in the ramda js library.

Build Your First Production Quality React App

Build Your First Production Quality React App

This is my first full blown course on egghead. It is the result of a lot of planning, a lot of helpful feedback from the team at egghead and hours of recording an editing. I’m super excited to see it out in the wild and plan to produce more courses like this.

This 24 part course on building an application with ReactJS covers using Create React App, using Jest for unit testing, interacting with APIs using fetch, PropTypes, JSX, property initializer syntax, creating a simple router from scratch and even covers building a couple of functional utilities, including pipe. One of the goals of this course was to bootstrap with Create React App and avoid any additional use of npm install. This course is pretty dense and covers a lot of concepts that are useful when building an application in React.

Projects

Most of my “side-project” time lately has been spent on learning with small samples and preparing/recording new material for egghead.

I’ve been digging into GraphQL quite a bit for the past few weeks, so when I do get back to one of ideas from the back burner, I’m sure there will be some GraphQL involved.

Learning

I’m always learning something new. Currently, my focus is on getting up to speed in my new role, but some things I’d really like to spend some time on in the near future include:

  • GraphQL - This is one of those things I’ve read a lot about, tinkered with in small doses and planned to use in my work. Well, I have real intentions of making that a reality finally, so I have been putting some effort into understanding all the pieces and what it would take to use in projects, both legacy and greenfield. I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve seen come out of the Apollo team, so this is where I’ve been focusing a lot of my effort.
  • ADTs (Algebraic Data Types) - I’ve been spending time with the crocks library when I can and started a project on GitHub a while back to experiment and learn through unit tests. The project has started adding docs here
  • TypeScript - I recently got to use TypeScript in a real project to build some simple API endpoints in express. I have to say, It was a really nice experience. Took me back to my C# days (in a good way) without leaving the JS centric world I’ve grown to love.
  • React Native - While React Native isn’t new, it’s not something I’ve really spent any real time working with. I have some ideas for mobile apps that I would use day-to-day, so I think it would be fun to build a native app or two. Tools like Expo make the barrier to entry so low, it’s just a matter of finding time.
  • Docker and AWS - While I’ve used both of these off and on at different levels, I’d like to get a much deeper understanding of each and how to leverage all the amazing things AWS has to offer and the flexibility and reliability that comes with working in a container environment.