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The Personal Blog of Todd Sharp

Hello, World

Posted By: Todd Sharp on 3/5/2017 7:15 UTC
Tagged: Misc
It's been quite a while since I've blogged.  For a while there it seemed like no one really followed blogs anymore, but I decided that it's a good time to get back in the blogging business.  


Who is Todd Sharp?

I'm a developer.  I guess you could say I'm kinda on my second career.  In my first career I worked in various roles at AT&T.  When I was a kid I had always wanted to be a programmer, but back in the 80's and into the early 90's you pretty much needed to be a pocket-protector wearing Poindexter to make a living writing code so I decided to go to college for Journalism.  I started working at AT&T in 1996 while going to school at night.  My first job was officially a "summer intern" which required me to do such interesting tasks as "fetch the box of wire from the back of the truck" and "scoop that mud out of the bottom of that manhole with this coffee can".  Paying dues and whatnot.  After that first summer I hired on as an Installation Tech.  Back in the mid 90's everyone wanted a "second line" into their home so that they could fire up their 56k modem and surf the "information superhighway".  I spent a few years doing that before the ADSL boom happened.  Turned out they needed Engineers to help design the ADSL build out.  I got an interview for one of those Engineer jobs (thanks to my father who had been in the Engineering department for years - YAY nepotism!) and was promoted to "Loop Capacity Planner" - a management position.  I'd go on to spend about 11 years in various management roles  - none of which actually required me to supervise other people.  In 2004 I was on the Staff Support team which was charged with supporting 5 states of Planners in the Midwest region.  Part of how we supported them was via tooling which was just starting to become web-based.  Since I knew how to create Excel macros I was asked to help out the "web team" (one other guy).  Just your typical mid-90's "web master" career path.  I didn't realize it, but that would be the start of my second career and the one that I had wanted since my brother and I "hacked" the code on our Commodore 64 back in like '85.  

Once I started writing code and learning I was hooked.  I'd buy books, read blogs - whatever I could do to learn more about programming.  I even started attending conferences - often on my own dime since I wasn't "technically" a developer at AT&T.  I started blogging (on the now defunct cfsilence.com) and even launched a mildly popular service for multimedia presentation sharing called SlideSix.  One thing led to another and I met the guys who I now have the pleasure of working with every day.  I left AT&T in 2011 and joined the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (most infamously known for being the place Edward Snowden worked for a few short months before he leaked government secrets).  It's been a good ride - I love my job and it's been a really great place to work.  

The ColdFusion Days

I broke into development working with Macromedia (now Adobe) ColdFusion.  At that time it was a popular choice for people with no programming background because it was dead easy to get a site up and running.  I'd quickly learn that the fact that it was so easy meant I wasn't writing efficient and reusable code so I learned as much as I could about design patterns and object oriented code.  I look back on my time with ColdFusion with mixed emotions.  If I had started with something more complicated I'm not sure I'd be where I'm at today, but I feel like I probably should have made a quicker jump to a more mature language.

It's Groovy Baby...

When I joined Booz Allen, our team decided to move away from ColdFusion.  Since CF is a dynamic language that runs on the JVM we started looking for a similar language to ease the transition for us.  We decided on Groovy with Grails as our web framework.  I (very happily) use Groovy/Grails to this day.  It honestly saddens me that more people don't use Groovy and Grails.  I once told a friend that Groovy is "ColdFusion all growed up" and I stand by that assessment.  Groovy gives you all the power of Java with none of the verbosity.  

I also have a torrid love affair with Amazon Web Services.  This blog was created (in about 12 hours) from scratch with Grails 3.2.4 and is deployed on Amazon Linux running on an EC2 micro instance with a MySQL backend running on Amazon RDS.  The code repo is AWS CodeCommit.  I'll probably blog a bit on AWS from time to time.

Front End

I'm a "full stack" developer - which means I work with every single inch of the web application from the database to the front end - including deployments and architecture.  When it comes to front end I typically reach for Angular 1.x.  Obviously jQuery is always around because I'm not a masochist and 100kb is nothing with the bandwidth that users have nowadays.

Some Personal Bits

I'm happily married going on 15 years to my best friend.  I have two children - a girl (almost 11) and a boy (9).  We live in the Blue Ridge mountains in Northern Georgia where we have a cat, dog, potbelly pig and 7 hens.  I may blog about some personal things from time to time.  

I have a few ideas for some posts already in my head.  I'm on a journey to continue learning as much as I can and become a better developer and I like to share cool things that I learn.  I'll mostly blog about Groovy and Grails and occasionally some front end bits sprinkled in for good measure.  

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to reach out to me at any time - via the comments below or via any of the social networks linked in the footer of the site here.