This post is part of a series where Behance developers talk about the various tools they use to get things done and make ideas happen.
1. Who are you, and what do you do at Behance?
Hey young world. I’m Malcolm Jones and I’m a Senior Developer over here @ Behance. I originally studied Computer Science at The University of Virginia, had some fun in the startup world while living in Washington, DC, then finally made the big move to NYC to join our awesome team here in SoHo.
On average I end up working on a lot of back-end / infrastructure type projects. In one project I worked on, I took our old image service application ( which handles all of the photo-manipulation actions on The Network and Prosite ) and redesigned it from the ground up making it easier for us to maintain and test using PHPUnit. To deal with our ever increasing traffic, its important that we can add more image servers on the fly to balance out usage between our websites. To make this process easier, I went a step further to automate the creation of new image service cloud servers by using Rightscripts ( courtesy of our cloud computing management platform Rightscale ). These days, adding more servers to our image service pool requires minimal thinking and only takes a couple of minutes!
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time putting together a new internal application for our development team to better monitor all of our application metrics across the board. This distributed logger will allow us to track how well the Network, Prosite, Action Method, and any other application we create in the future are performing. This will let us better identify, fix, and release new application builds to keep our users happy.
Speaking of builds, that’s another one of my tasks here at Behance. Lately I have been making our Chief of Tech Chris Henry‘s life a little bit easier by running all of our application builds from “development” to “pre production”. This means I spend time reviewing our development team’s SVN logs, tagging our new feature releases and moving our new and improved code into “pre production” so that our head of QA, Dan Chan, can test everything before we move to “production”. If any of our developers find any serious bugs while in “pre production” I’m also responsible for hotfixing their changes so that our transition into “production” is as smooth as possible.
2. What hardware do you use?
Most of my work gets done in the office on a 21.5 inch iMac hooked up to a 23 inch Dell monitor. I’m in love with my Magic Mouse and my Wireless Apple Keyboard, especially on days when I feel like slouching all the way down in my chair like a cool kid in high school. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a huge Apple fan. My cellphone is a black iPhone 4 ( not for long if this iPhone 5 is everything I’ve been dreaming of ). At home I have a a 3G first generation iPad, two iPod Touches ( which I control wirelessly while they are both connected to speakers in my bedroom and living room ), and a 13-inch MacBook Pro.
3. What software do you use?
Formerly I was a HUGE vim user. As most developers know, vim is extremely powerful editor especially combined with the right .vimrc configuration and color syntax. These days, I’ve been spending a lot more time developing in Eclipse for PHP ( mainly because of the awesome library linking feature they have which allows you to Ctrl+Left click on a function / object and jump to the corresponding source file ). To upload to my development sandbox ( Ubuntu ), I use Filezilla and always keep synchronized browsing enabled. SmartSVN is my SVN client of choice ( the diff view is amazing ). I use the standard Mac OS Terminal when ssh-ing to any of our servers, and alternate between Firefox ( + firebug / firephp ) / Chrome / Safari when browsing the web. When I’m not using my Behance Dot Grid Journal, I take notes in Evernote and stay in contact/chat with others in the office using Adium ( gchat ). All of my email is read using Mailplane which always alerts me when I receive a new email.
4. What do you listen to while working?
This is a tough question for me because my music taste is so wild and all over the place ( get ready ). First of all, my music player of choice is Spotify and I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing. If I’m working on something that really requires my attention, I tend to listen to something a little easier ( Oldschool Prince, Chaka khan, Sade, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder … little bit of beach boys, Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, etc ). If I’m having a real good day and I’m just BEASTING through work I thrown on something hard ( Dipset, Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, A-Mafia, French Montana, Kanye West, Lil B … you know, music that makes you want to stand on tables and break things ). I’ve been known to listen to a little bit of dubstep or 90′s rock somewhere in between.
5. Out of all the equipment used, what piece of software/hardware do you feel is the most useful of all?
By far, the most useful piece of hardware for me are my monitors. Having such a large amount of real estate to work in allows me to focus my attention on a million things at once. Between all of the terminal tabs I usually have open while monitoring our various servers in the cloud, coding away in Eclipse while viewing the changes in Firefox, reading email, and finding new music to listen to on Spotify, it became clear to me on day one what I value most while working throughout the day.
To see a little more inside my mind, follow me on twitter: @bossjones