scott schlegel archives

At familysearch we’ve been working on a standard tool set for front-end developers to be amazingly productive/happy/awesome in. We settled on Node.js and have recently launched it in production. It is performing fantastically and we are falling in love.

If you’d like to work with Node.js and you’d like to do it at familysearch, give a holler to schlegel “at” familysearch dot org. Then we can tell you about all the other cool stuff we’re doing.

posted by scott 1 hour ago

“My current theory is that programming is quite literally writing.”
“The vast majority of programming is not conceptually difficult (contrary to what a lot of people would have you believe). We only make it difficult because we suck at writing.” Ouch. This came out a while ago, but it is still worth sharing. This quote came from slashdot user wrook, full post at

posted by scott on Friday, Jan 06, 2012

“If you find that your company buys expensive enterprise software instead of putting your A-team engineers on making awesome internal tools, then they don’t understand what the word ‘leverage’ actually means, and you my friend, likely have a serious and systemic problem.”
From John Hitchings, engineer at wealthfront on the importance of internal tools

posted by scott on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011

“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.”
John Lasseter in The Pixar Story. In his honor, I have decided to start calling all Hawaiian shirts, “Lasseters”.

posted by scott on Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
—Conan O’Brien. Words to live by.

posted by scott on Friday, Aug 26, 2011 is my new favorite site is an app to manage and automate all my social profiles. I love it for three reasons. First, it’s based on the dead simple concept that if I do something then it will do something else for me. So if I post on flickr, it will send that image to facebook. If a stock hits a certain price, I’ll get an email. If I publish a blog post, it will tweet about it. Each “task” is completely customizable, so I can set it up exactly the way I want. Second reason I love it, is the UI. It makes a 7-step process feel completely effortless. I wanted to take a video of it, but then I got tired and gave up. Last of all I love the sheer number of apps & services that it works with. Below is a screen shot of just the popular applications.

The app is in private beta, so you have to sign up. Additionally I have 5 invites, so if you want one and are quick feel free to reach out.

posted by scott on Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

10 things I’ve never heard a successful startup founder say

#3. “I wish we had spent less time talking to prospective customers before designing interfaces and writing code.”

The other nine quotes can be found here.

posted by scott on Monday, Aug 15, 2011

A lesser known feature in Chrome that I love, is the ability to directly search only in a given site AND end up on that sites’ search results page. To enable it, do the following:

1. Go to youtube and do a search. This is a one time step that teaches Chrome how to search.

2. Then, in the location bar, type and hit the “tab” key

3. Type your search query

This will dump you onto youtube’s search results page. So far I’ve got it to work on Facebook, LinkedIn, Craigslist and Amazon, among others. From what I can tell it “learns” as it goes.

posted by scott on Tuesday, Aug 09, 2011

Why don’t all companies buy the best hardware?

Great question. Here is a quote from stackexchange on the topic that is pitch perfect:

“So suppose you can save $2000 every three years by buying cheaper computers, and your average developer(or designer) is making $60k. If those cheaper computers only cost you 10 minutes of productivity a day, not at all a stretch, I’m sure that my machine costs me more than that, then over 3 years the 125 lost hours would add up to a loss of $7500. A loss of 1 minute a day ($750) would give a net gain of $1250, which would hardly offset the cost of poor morale”

Would a contractor ask his carpenter to cut with a dull saw? Full thread here.

posted by scott on Thursday, Aug 04, 2011

Web Development Survey Results

First off thanks to all those who particpated in our survey. The data points included some surprises that I hadn’t expected. I’ll let the results speak for themselves. As for the schwag, we’ll announce that soon too!

View survey results on Scribd

posted by scott on Monday, Aug 01, 2011

Help! 11 Question Web Development Survey

Annually alistapart has a web design survey which is jam-packed of interested data points about our industry. Their survey is built around the people, how they work, and how they learn. I enjoy reading it each year, but I’ve always wanted to know a little more about the technology behind it all. To that end, here is our first annual web developer survey. Each year we’ll solicit feedback from folks in and out of the NorthTemple community, then pool together the results and post them here.

As a thank you participating, we’ll randomlly send a few lucky readers some NorthTemple/FamilySearch swag.

Click here to take the 11 question survey

posted by scott on Monday, Jul 18, 2011

In a great example of practical living thru great design, the founder of Etnies shoes is building a dream house where every surface – even the furniture – is skateable or grindable.

Best. house. ever.

posted by scott on Friday, Jul 15, 2011

Eric Rise: “The Lean Startup”

If you haven’t watched this, do it now. it is a great introduction to the lean movement. Designers should be clamming to build products under this approach. Here’s the abstract, which was clearly written by a publicist.

“The Lean Startup movement is taking hold in companies both new and established to help entrepreneurs and managers do one important thing: make better, faster business decisions. Vastly better, faster business decisions. Bringing principles from lean manufacturing and agile development to the process of innovation, the Lean Startup helps companies succeed in a business landscape riddled with risk.”

posted by scott on Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011

Pushing code 50 times a day

Last week at FamilySearch, Eishay Smith came to talk to our org about Continuous Delivery. His company, which manages a quarter of a billion dollars in an SEC regulated environment, pushes code from commit to production in less than 10 minutes, about 50 times a day. Full talk here. Imagine how this would impact your work, if you could test features against a subset of real users at this pace.

If that sounds good, we’re working on it. Come help us.

posted by scott on Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011