We have liftoff for Operation: Jekyll Blog!

A command prompt with the jekyll build command and the Sublime Text editor with this sites project.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I've been meaning to get a blog up for a while now, but just never got around to it. With a lot of interesting stuff coming up in the forthcoming months, now seemed like the perfect time.

A brief introduction

It’s only fitting that the introductory post have a brief introduction of myself, so I’ll go ahead and start off with that. My name is Matt Bengston, and I’m a web developer, gear head, gamer and all-around tinkerer of things. I am also a husband and soon-to-be father. I currently work as a front end developer at ICF Interactive and am the webmaster/web developer for Import Image Racing. That’s a lot of labels for one person, but I just like to think of it as more things to get super stoked on. Or more reasons to sleep.

About this blog

So, what is this blog about? In short, it’s about my life as a whole. Honing in a little bit, it’s about four main things; Web Development, Cars, Video Games/Game Development, and life in general. It’s a place for me to express ideas and concepts that are currently intriguing me, reflect on recent experiences, log progress on current projects, and generally mash my hands on my keyboard in the hope that interesting content comes out of it.

A brief overview of the tech side of this blog

If you are not a tech person and have no interest in the tech side of this blog, feel free to skip this section as it’s just going to be filled with a bunch of techno-jargon.

Even though my background mostly comes from specializing in WordPress development, this blog is built using Jekyll, a static site generator built with Ruby. That means it takes Markdown and HTML files and builds them using Liquid templates to a static HTML site running at peak efficiency with no CMS overhead or bloat. Jekyll is an extremely powerful platform, and through Ruby plugins is capable of some mind blowing stuff, but one thing it does fall short with is JavaScript and style processing. To solve this I’m using a Gulp build that handles the concatenation, minification, and additional processing of JS and Sass files. This will more than likely end up as it’s own blog post where I’ll go into further detail about the workflow for this.

What you can expect

Obviously with a blog launch, there’s going to be an initial lack of content. I first created this site locally in December of 2014, which was roughly 8 months ago. While I got incredibly busy and was not able to work on it at all, whenever an idea popped into my head that I wanted to write about, I would write down the articles title and subject so that I could come back to it and eventually write a post about it. Now that the site is complete, I can finally start crossing these posts off one by one. Here are some of the topics I’ve written down, so you can get an idea of what kind of content will be posted here.

  • Why I bought an obscure 25 year old imported Japanese sedan instead of a new car
  • Restraining the mighty JSP monster: my Handlebars to JSP Transpiler built to extend
  • Things I learned from my first trip to Costa Rica
  • Benefits of modular front end development
  • Benefits and pitfalls to working within a Styleguide
  • Why I’m so stoked on the Unity game engine
  • Mission:IMPOSSIBLE–Being a car enthusiast while staying financially responsible
  • Mixing WordPress with a modern, automated workflow
  • Small agency or big corporation? My experience from making the jump
  • An overview of my experience as a first time home buyer
  • Making a stress-less workflow for stress-full Magento
  • I want to make a video game, part 1: Where to start?

As you can probably tell, the subjects are all over the board. Hopefully this means that whether you are a developer, a car enthusiast, or just a general life lover you’ll be able to find some entertaining content. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the blog!

Latest Projects

Roll-a-ball gyroscope game
In Dev

A gyroscope-controlled mobile game based on Super Monkey Ball.

Gyroscope Demo
In Dev

A collection of gyroscope demos both in Unity and the browser.

AWS Lambda Toolkit

A small library of AWS Lambda development tools to help make AWS Lambda development easier.

Optimized Averages

A small utility for calculating optimized averages for estimated beacon distances via bluetooth strength signals.

Handlebars to JSP Gulp Transpiler

A proof of concept Handlebars to JSP Transformer built on Gulp, for those that aren't super stoked on the mighty behemoth that is the Wild West of JSP.

JavaScript 8-puzzle Solver

A JavaScript solution to the classic 8 puzzle, implementing an A* best search algorithm to complete the puzzle.

Import Image Racing Rebuild

A complete website rebuild for Import Image Racing from the ground up, from wireframes and design to complete custom Magento integration.

Platformer video game (TBD)
In Research

A side-scrolling platformer video game built on the Unity game engine, with an emphasis on playability and movement technique.