Karl Herrick

A technologist and web developer

React, Redux, and using the WordPress REST API

Web application development using React, Redux and server-side rendering has been exciting. A great general resource I’ve found on the topic is a book from O’Reilly Media titled, “Learning React – Functional Web Development with React and Redux.” It lays out the basics, while describing other helpful tools that one might use in a fully assembled application (Jest, ESLint, and React Router make appearances in this book as well).

One of the things I like most about the ecosystem is the number of resources offered. Not interested in reading a book? Checkout the React and Redux documentation. They’re both excellent. Additionally, there are plenty of videos (1, 2, 3), tutorials, posts and even a CLI tool, just to get started.

To explore some ideas in this space, I decided to bundle a setup that would consume portions of the WordPress REST API. While not trying to get too fancy, I’ve affectionately titled it, postpress and styled it to look similar to this site. Check it out at the project page on GitHub.


Fun with Cygwin

When interacting with a Windows system regularly, I like to install Cygwin. It has been my tool of choice to tie into Bash, or OpenSSH in some fashion, and from there use customized shell scripts for various tasks. In the past I’ve used it as a component in solutions to:

  • host environments for building and testing web applications
  • manage workstation policies and assist with software updates
  • provide backups using rsync
  • other really awesome things™

With tools like apt-cyg and ConEmu in addition, I feel rather satisfied. Obviously there are a lot of quality tools outside of this ecosystem, but as a base, I’m rarely in search of something else. With that said, I’m very interested in the future of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Getting info regarding Bash on Windows directly from Microsoft is rather refreshing. 🙂


Playing around with the GoPiGo

The GoPiGo has been exciting to work with as a platform for building robotic cars. In my usage, I started out with the base kit along with an older Raspberry Pi, and then gradually started to add pieces. I installed the wifi adapter (newer RPIs have wifi built in) for remote control, and the camera module for vision. A micro servo acts like a little arm on the side, and an ultrasonic distance sensor allows for obstacle avoidance. I even ended up including a foam dart launcher as well as a dancing water speaker for some audio with neat visual feedback.

GoPiGo spinning Although the GoPiGo comes with a battery pack capable of delivering up to 12 volts, I decided to also add a USB based 5200mAh battery pack to help power the 5 volt accessories. With a wide variety of project ideas, access to forums, and the pluggable nature of open source hardware and software, the GoPiGo makes for a fantastic learning environment.

Construx test platform

Code examples are provided in languages like C#, Java, Python, Scratch, and NodeJS. Wheel testing was difficult in the beginning, but I was assisted by the help of my children when they built a test driving platform out of Construx. This kept the rig in place while walking the contraption through its exercises. Below, you’ll find some video I took while playing with it. There’s also a screencast of the camera and distance sensor testing.


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