If you know what this is, you’re probably not a software engineer.

In my previous life as Network Engineer, I thought about things like routing, switching and AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) a *lot*. Like pretty much all day, every day. So it was kind of nice to see that there is some notion of these things in software as well. The functions are pretty much the same, except one happens on LANs and WANs, and the other happens inside a program’s functionality. …


Sorry about that “State” thing in the title, I just couldn’t help myself.

Giving React components a “State” is the most popular way to store program data in parent components that child components might need for themselves or to share with other children so they can do their jobs. Up until recently the only way to give a component a state was to declare it as a Class Component, which is a bit messier and more involved than the Functional Component, which is what everyone likes. But then, a little less than a year ago the boffins at React released v16.8, …


Julie Andrews never actually played Ensign Nellie Forbush, USN (the character who sings “Cockeyed Optimist” ) as far as I can tell, but she has the most popular recording of the song currently on You Tube.

“When the sky is a bright canary yellow
I forget ev’ry cloud I’ve ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.”

‘A Cockeyed Optimist’ from South Pacific, 1958

Since we are currently studying JavaScript, and UI rendering in particular, we are encountering something of a controversial topic: Pessimistic or Optimistic rendering? What is the difference between the two, and when are either of them appropriate?

So…great topic for a blog post, right? Apparently a lot of other folks on this site thought so too. …


Hey! I got this!

Deliverables in coding bootcamp have an annoying habit of coming at you in waves. Big, tall, hairy waves. By the end of this week (in addition to writing this blog post, and making a presentation on it) I have to finish 25 labs, retake a code challenge that I did not pass last week (which will require copious practice and repetition), AND create a module Final Project, that must also be presented.

(Technically, this should not happen, because a responsible, conscientious student doesn’t, after the LAST “Big Hairy”, breathe a big sigh of relief and take the next two days…


We are at the end of 3 weeks of bootcamp, and just finished our final projects of the first phase the school calls “Mod 1”. The project is supposed to demonstrate mastery of the concepts taught, and as such has to contain certain elements, like use of proper OO concepts, DRY programming, use of Active Record to create and update databases, and the ability to extract information from remote sources using APIs.

Beyond that, we were free to build whatever our imaginations could dream up….sort of. At our first meeting, my new project partner and I decided that we both…


The last time I wrote code was as an undergrad back in the early 90s. Yes, they actually had computers back then, and they didn’t have to be programmed with punch cards.

(And if you got that “punch card” reference, then you are old even to an old fossil like ME.)

The super-advanced, state-of-the-art language we used was “ANSI-C”, or just “C” for short. Object-oriented programming was so exotic as to be practically unused, and there was only “C++” in which to do it. …


I’ve worked in high-tech my whole life: as a semiconductor engineer, a network engineer, an applications engineer, a small-business technology consultant, a marketing manager….but never as a software engineer, a “coder”. Well, that changes starting today: my first day of boot camp as a student at Flatiron School.

You might ask “What would make a person — a middle aged person — with so much experience and education (with undergraduate and masters degrees), decide to put himself through the pain and ardor of coding boot camp, with fellow students half my age (at the OLDEST!). …

Eric C Smith

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