betwixt code and music

Parse for the back end

Authentication for beginners

As we are compiling a lexicon of components from our adventures in React.js, we have also ventured into server territory. The thoughtful reader will recall that Facebook came up with React in order to more easily build components that can be used across their vast website (and yes, using Facebook is still using the internet - that seems to be a somewhat common misconception). The React library allows those fancy Facebook engineers to show a birthday event in multiple places using the same data and nearly the same code. This next leg of the journey is brought to us by the same team.

Parse is a server that allows software developers to use the common features of saving users and data structures to "the cloud" and then manipulating that data. Parse is based in Menlo Park, CA (in the digital hub that we call San Francisco). The group was acquired by Facebook in 2013. It is free to use unless the site being built is getting more than thirty requests per second. Because of this, most developers only use this for prototyping, opting to build out the back-end in-house once the project is ready to deploy.

Below is a functional register-login page that I put together using Parse, React, and the grid system called Materialize (built by a Google team). I enjoy using Materialize right out of the box as it has a very streamlined feel to it. The artwork on the linked page is lovingly borrowed from some amazing artists at
dribbble.com - go check out that site for a while! Once a user is registered and logged-in, the dashboard becomes available to them. The options in the navigation menu at the top change, depending on the logged-in status of the user. There is not a lot here, but it was fun to build!

Also, I did not really optimize it for mobile, so the navigation menu does not render properly on mobile yet. I know, I KNOW, that I should have done this first! Anyhow, do check it out if you are out and about on a desktop or laptop computer, and let me know what you think!

Click on the Millennium Falcon to continue

image created by reddit.com user Charlie

Finding Music Again

Shaking off the burnt toast

I got burned out. Being involved with something and thinking about it nearly all the time for over 20 years will probably do that to you. I am just now getting to where I can listen to some music and enjoy it again. That is a good feeling. Music is important in the lives of most people as it fills a big role in so many ways.

smoldering illustration by Nick Volkert from Chicago, IL, courtesy of dribbble.com

You might be thinking, "Where is all this coming from?" Well, I have been listening to many podcasts for quite some time, but two days ago, on a whim, I decided to put on some morning music. After a quick flip through my music app on the information phone, I found myself listening to one of my favorite albums: No Need To Argue by The Cranberries.

Like so many songs or albums, this particular group of songs always takes me back to junior year of high school. I am suddenly 16 years old and figuring things out. Many songs in this collection have a joyous sound, perhaps a carefree sound, but many have an underlying melancholy that encapsulates 11th grade perfectly for me. This is one of those albums that I can listen to from beginning to end and find zero flaws. I never want to hit the fast-forward button to skip over a song. Taken as a whole, the entire album makes a lot of sense to me.

lovely illustration by Chris Walker from London, courtesy of dribbble.com

A day later I found myself turning on more music. This time it was Kid A by Radiohead, by far my favorite band. This entire album makes me think of a soundscape in a post-apocalyptic world. Maybe there are roving bands of survivors battling to survive on what is left of the world's resources. Anarchy abounds.

Point is, music means something different to everyone all of the time. Most people could probably hear a certain song and be transported back in time or have a certain person pop into their mind. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana came out when I was in eighth grade. At the height of my uncertainty and angst in this time, this song was the perfect soundtrack to accompany my rampant individualism. When I hear Kiss From a Rose by Seal I always think of my wife as this was "our song" back in high school.

Thankfully, my love of music did not perish when I decided to leave behind music education as a daily pursuit.