A Hoodie for you (5): Ray Daly

posted by Lena

Ray Daly is a designer and developer. His first JavaScript app was HTMLjive – an HTML Editor – released January, 1996, and his CouchDB app was a finalist for the 2011 CouchConf Developer awards. Now, he spends his day at his own company, also known as his “app lab“.

He wrote a great tutorial on how to get started with Hoodie and we’re happy he shared his thoughts on his work and experiences with Hoodie with us:

Hoodie: How did you come across Hoodie?

Ray: I know some of the contributors from JSConf. When they announced  Hoodie, I was interested and immediately started following it.

What was your experience when working with it?

Working with Hoodie is great fun, especially considering it is under development. The demo app was easy to get running. Impressive that it included signup and registration. It is almost as much fun as the videos.

It is simple for a front end developer to build an app. I’ve recommended it to several of my developer friends. It has a much easier learning curve than AngularJS, though it serves a different market.

We’re still amazed by the work you put into rewriting Hoodie’s documentation – how come you took the time to do this?

To learn more about Hoodie I started modifying the todo demo. My notes became the tutorial. Writing a tutorial makes certain that nothing is missed when learning a new tool. It is also an easy way to give back to the Open Source community.

My interest in todo apps is well known. I tweeted a few years ago “Todos Are To Chairs as Developers Are To Designers”. I even started a Flipboard Magazine on that subject. I’ve added my Hoodie tutorial to the magazine.

In which points do you see potential for improving Hoodie?

Plugins take Hoodie apps beyond the trivial todos and into solving real world problems. So even a blog post of what might be possible with plugins would be appreciated. And I’m really looking forward to the share plugin. A plugin for sign-in with Facebook, Google and Yahoo would also be of interest. I assume Passport with Node.js might be part of it. (Editor’s note: working hard on these, more news on this coming soon :) )

In general: are you working on Open Source Software frequently? If so, why?

Prior to starting my own company, I rarely worked on any Open Source Software. It was hard to get support from my employers and I have a young son. One project that I did do was Muton – a jquerymobile version of CouchDB’s Futon.

Now with my own company, I’m writing some tutorials and doing things like my other my Flipboard Magazine: Toolboxes of Designers and Developers. I’m sure some code will be sent github’s way soon.

In a comment on our blog you mentioned the Washington Post mobile site in which you implemented offline-approaches. Why did you do so? And what do you think of initiatives like “Offline First” in general?

Offline is a fact of phone apps. In a rural area or in a big city, a phone is going to lose connectivity. So at The Washington Post we spent a lot of time supporting offline to give the best possible user experience. Local storage became our friend.

Unfortunately, the term mobile has come to mean both phones and tablets. But designing for these devices is very different. The importance of designing for offline gets blurred by articles that generalize on mobile design. So we don’t see much discussion of off-line for mobile.

Offline First is a key feature for the apps I’m working on at myself.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


In this small series, we’re introducing Hoodie-Committers and other Hoodie-People. If you want to join, talk about Hoodie or give us feedback, we’re happy to talk to you! Just ping us on Twitter or IRC.