Brunch with Panache

A modular approach to building web apps with Brunch.

:: Node / CoffeeScript / Cordova / Backbone / Chaplin / Brunch / Sass / Handlebars / Swag / Hapi / Browser Sync / Jake

I created BWP while leading the UI team at Trunk Club, a Chicago startup I joined 18 months prior to exit. Apps using this framework were based on my experiences scaling up an enterprise e-commerce Web app for sears.com and kmart.com.

Tools for Building Rich Web Apps

3 minute read Updated

After recently planning to do a survey of tools for building rich web apps I stumbled across github.com/codylindley/frontend-tools, which claims to be an opinionated list of tools for building front-end applications. For those new to building modern web applications, it’s certainly easier to take in than larger lists like github.com/joyent/node/wiki/modules. But lists aren’t necessarily the best place to start for putting an application together. At least not where the rubber hits the road.

Update 2017-04-09: This post is out of date. Lately it seems Marko JS may become the new hotness following React and, for Web dev in general, look into JAMstack.

The Holy Grail of Rich Internet Applications

2 minute read Updated

Learning about Isomorphic Web Applications from Airbnb.

One of the largest perceived drawbacks to creating a SPA or other Rich Internet Application is that they’re not SEO friendly or very accessible. With the advent of technologies such as ARIA, HTML5 and Node.js, things are changing. Web apps are becoming more usable and accessible, though also making them crawlable and highly performant is a formidable challenge.

Developing Web Apps on Windows with Vagrant

12 minute read Updated

How to set up a Node.js development workflow on Windows using a Linux VM.

I earlier this month I spent way too much time writing an article on how to SFTP to Ubuntu Server with Sublime Text. The purpose of the SFTP effort was to set myself up for developing modern web applications on a new Windows 8 machine I bought to play SimCity 2013. And after getting everything working I realized the SFTP method had some gremlins and the file syncing reminded me of Dreamweaver—it simply wasn’t fast enough.

Lately, unless you were running a Linux machine or had the pleasure of owning a Mac with OS X, developing modern web applications has been a bit of a kludge. Enter Vagrant.

Vagrant is a tool for building complete development environments. With an easy-to-use workflow and focus on automation, Vagrant lowers development environment setup time, increases development/production parity, and makes the “works on my machine” excuse a relic of the past.

In this article I’ll explain how to set up a development environment in Windows using a virtualized Linux box, suitable for rapid prototyping. Then I’ll take it a step further and explain how to integrate a Backbone-based application framework with Vagrant and Sublime Text, greatly increasing the speed for developing modern web applications on Windows.

A Back-End for Backbone.js Apps

2 minute read Published

Using Ruby, Sinatra and MongoDB on Windows to create a UI back-end.

After writing about Developing Web Apps on Windows with Vagrant spent some time immersing myself in Ruby and Ruby Gems. Tonight, while catching up on some articles in my Pocket, I ran across the following article from Addy Osmani: Building Backbone.js Apps With Ruby, Sinatra, MongoDB and Haml.

Sweet. In addition to Addy’s very awesome and open-source book Backbone Fundamentals, he’s also writing some useful related articles. And though I’d likely ditch haml in favor of Emblem with Swag, Addy’s article ought to be a good starting point for the Ruby newbie.

The Holy Grail: Full-stack JavaScript MVC with Rendr

1 minute read Published

The quest for the Holy Grail of JavaScript revealed by Airbnb Engineering.

Spike at Airbnb just mentioned during a live TechTalk webcast that the Rendr framework they built was open sourced earlier this month: github.com/airbnb/rendr. The framework leverages Node.js and Backbone.js to allow full-stack JavaScript MVC using a common set of code–greatly improving time to content, improving crawability, and reduces overall application complexity.

During the talk, Meteor and Derby were mentioned, and Mojito *sigh*. And Stitch was also mentioned, as a part of the stack they’re using. So anyway, there you have it. The Holy Grail I talked about. It’s out, but admittedly, according to Spike, not quite finished. Caveat emptor.