Undead Coder Society

      Welcome to UCS X

      We are a fledgling business and developer community building web applications from scratch, and writing about our experiences.

      If you're looking for some more information: please see our About and Contact pages.

      Thanks for visiting!

      - Ricky
      Latest Blog Post

      The Problem of Programming Too Large

      I have a recurring problem in my professional life; I program too much. I don't mean I sit around and actually type letters into an IDE too much (although my girlfriend might tell you otherwise), I mean I have a tendency to over-complicate a simple solution into a much more complicated one; and it's wasting all of my time.

      The first time I noticed that I had this tendency was the day I tried to write my own Python logging utility. Now, for those that don't know, there is a Python logging package that I eventually ended up using, but that was after half a day's worth of work writing my own function when someone pointed out that a Python package already existed for that. See, the problem was that I wasn't even aware of the existence of a logging module and, more to the point, at that time I didn't even know that I should be on the lookout for such a thing. It as a lack of knowledge about what to even look for in a situation that was kicking my butt.

      When I learned about the logging package I went through a phase of emotions. Dangit, I was proud of my little logging utility! It was my code with my style and it logged exactly like I wanted it to. But...continue

      Recent Blog Post

      Getting My First Application Online

      The internet has always been a bit of a black box to me. I had an idea about what it was... a bunch of servers communicating with each other, but in the end that's about all I understood about it. Even after five years of working in the tech industry in various capacities I still didn't have a clear picture of it. Sure, I knew buzz words and pieces of it, but if you asked me how you stood up a website and hosted it from scratch, I would have been at a loss. So, it became one of my goals to do just that: stand up a website from scratch.

      One of the things I found while working 40 hours at a job was that I routinely had no energy to dedicate to my own personal growth. 40 hours would turn into 50 or 60 hours, and by the time I was done all I wanted to do was have a drink and relax. Video games and television became my relax time, and so my website building goal remained far off. Even though I could modify a .NET stack, or add a page to an existing site, or modify content of a site, I still never stood one up on my own.

      After I built my first Flask application, getting it online was the next big project. But unlike Flask, which is so conveniently built with...continue
      Recent Blog Post

      The Undead Stack - Frontend Edition

      As the lead frontend engineer for UCS, it has been my duty to develop a frontend architecture that works best for the size of our applications in terms of efficiency and reusability and also integrates seamlessly with the backend architecture that was built out by my associate, Ricky. That backend architecture is primarily comprised of Flask and MongoDB (though we recently switched over to mySQL for larger applications). I'm sure Ricky will share more about our DevOps workflow and our backend stack in good time. In the meantime, I'll fill you in on the frontend stack and how it evolved to its current state.

      When we first started building web applications together, I had no idea what direction I would take the frontend. In the beginning, I spent a ton of time exploring various frontend libraries, frameworks, and other tools (compilers, preprocessors, bundlers, etc). I knew I was going to utilize Jinja2 and Bootstrap to start out simply because I was already familiar with using them to build out user interfaces. We've come a long way since then, augmenting our stack with numerous packages and engineering a logical and highly efficient templating structure.

      But...continue
      Recent Blog Post

      My Journey Into Frontend

      My 18-year old self never could have imagined that I would be where I am now in my career. Especially since my 18-year-old self never even had plans of becoming a professional programmer. In those days, I was a fresh-faced college student in my first year of film school, with big plans to become the next Quentin Tarantino.

      I think it's pretty obvious I did not become the next Quentin Tarantino. And that's more than okay. After graduating with my film degree from UT, the bright and shiny dream of becoming a great filmmaker had all but been replaced by the harsh reality of the intense grind that takes place behind the scenes. Not to mention, financial prospects are generally low for a recent grad trying to make it in the film industry. I have immense respect for my UT friends who are taking on that challenge and in most cases having great success.

      Near the end of college, another interest of mine was rapidly gaining momentum: Programming. I had taken a Java course in high school and a Python course in college, but in both cases they were just electives and I did not take them very seriously. During my final year of college, I started taking youtube tutorials...continue
      Recent Blog Post

      My First Flask Application

      I wrote my first Flask application over a long weekend in 2016. I'd never programmed an application from top to bottom before, and starting from scratch was like drinking information from a firehose.

      My end goal was to put an application on the web that would utilize Ebay's API to look at the sales potential of item lists that were provided to me via Excel docs or a webpage. I would gather data from either a CSV import or by screen scraping it from a site my friend managed, and then feed it to Ebay's Finder API to gather item lists for interpretation about how often an item sold, when it had last sold, etc. Now, a great way to have handled this project would have been to map out exactly what I intended to build, including the pages that I was going to include on my site, the packages I was going to use for the screen-scraping, what my application was going to look like. But the truth is that planning has never been my strong suit, so I dove in head first and stated coding.

      It took me a couple of days to finish the initial project, one giant file full of templates, filters, helpers, views, one screen scraper, one CSV import module, a bunch of terrible...continue

      This site was built with Flask - a Python framework.