On a warm spring day in 2004 I downloaded a zip file and I didn’t know it at the time but that very simple act would change my life forever. The archived zip file contained an open source project called CivicSpace which was an ambitiously released variant of the PHP powered Drupal Content Management System. As a young web developer I was already an enthusiastic user of open source software and serendipitously stumbling into the world of Drupal enabled me to turn a struggling business idea into a career.
I believe in the spirit of the open web and communities of programmers contributing towards making innovative and secure technologies through collaboration. Within the Drupal community I’ve contributed code, patches, documentation and organized events to make the CMS an even better tool to power the web.
My wife Abigail and I spend our free time spoiling our sweetheart Springerdoodle named Sprint. Sprint joins us on hikes, runs, swims and any other adventure we can share together. We love spending time outdoors and the spirit of competition in sports. Whether it’s competing with ourselves in half marathons or competing with other teams in adult kickball we find joy in burning energy and striving for another goal.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s I started my career as a web professional building content heavy sites in Dreamweaver and notepad relying on FTP to move files around. Managing content rich sites like a local newspaper and a state government agency with thousands of static files I realized the burdens of content maintenance were overwhelming and not scalable. I needed a Content Management System so I did what every kid in the early 2000s did: I built my own. My first implementation was built using VB and ASP but the limitations and costs of hosting limited my ability to scale so I searched for other options. PHP was a rising force on the web at this time and so I cobbled together a primitive CMS of my own generating dynamic pages via a MySQL database. I was very much a novice programmer so this ambitious personal project would ultimately be challenged by my own limitations and that’s when I stumbled into the world of Drupal.
Thousands of other open source developers were facing the same problems as me and solving them with much more elegant solutions than I could have come up with on my own. I embraced the software and also the community of openness, cooperation and mutual respect that was endemic to Drupal ecosystem.
For more than a decade I happily developed hundreds of projects in Drupal embracing it as a monolithic tool for everything. Yet as powerful and flexible as Drupal was it left much to be desired in scaling for performance requiring costly server configurations and significant security and reliability risks.
Since developing that first magical Angular app I’ve diversified my skillset and embraced React along with Vue for building frontend projects. In the past two years I’ve been particularly enamored with Gatsby and the potential of PWA static sites to deliver extremely performant and reliable web experiences.