Who is Josh Abernathy?
I live in Seattle with my awesome wife and baby-morphing-into-a-toddler. I work at GitHub, mostly on GitHub for Mac. (If you haven’t checked it out, you totally should. I hear it’s great: http://mac.github.com/)
What does your typical day look like?
I’m usually at my desk by about 8:30a and I spend some time getting caught up with whatever I missed on the internets while I slept. That means email, twitter, support queue, etc.
I start my actual “work” by trying to figure out what I want to get done that day. For me, that’s helpful because it gives me something immediate to work towards. Longterm I might be working on SuperMegaAwesomeFeature which requires 4 new views, 2 big refactors, and some new git interaction. But maybe today my goal is just to get the UI finished for that 1 new view. I have an immediate, reachable piece of work. It’s all just mental games, but it works for me.
Then lots of coffee and music happen and some code pops out. Repeat that for a while, interspersed with some lunch and animated gifs, and that’s my day.
What do you do in your free time?
This is gonna sound super nerdy, but when I’m not hanging out with my family, I’m hacking on my various side projects. For me, programming is legitimately fun. I *want* to do it in my spare time. I don’t want to know what will happen the day that changes. Probably the universe will explode. Probably.
Where and when did you start programming?
I started with Chipmunk Basic back when I was 11 or 12 or something. It’s mostly a blur but I have a distinct memory of being totally confused the first time I got a C book from the library.
I’ve always been a Mac user so after doing some obligatory time in BASIC, I moved on to C and the old Macintosh Toolbox (GWorldPtr! CopyBits!). When Mac OS X came out, I learned Objective-C and Cocoa.
I did some Java stuff at college, a little bit of Ruby, and a lot more Cocoa. My Java web app experience turned me off to web development entirely. It wasn’t until my recent brush with Sinatra that I realized web apps didn’t have to be an awful, XML-ridden, God-forsaken messes. Who knew. Next you’ll be telling me web browsers have hardware-accelerated animations or some such nonsense.
These days I still mostly do Cocoa.
Favorite: Programming Languages, Frameworks?
Objective-C. (I know that probably makes me sound like an Apple brainwashee.)
But seriously, I love love *love* Objective-C’s faux-named parameters. It’s such an undervalued syntax but it does wonders for readability and self-documentation. Parts of the language are crufty, no doubt, but you’ll have to claw named parameters from my cold, Cocoa-y hands.
That said, there are things I love about Ruby, and Clojure fascinates me.
What OS do you prefer?
Mac OS X.
Current favorite apps?
That’s a hard one. I don’t use many apps.
I just got iA Writer a month or so ago and it does some interesting things. I continue to appreciate Twitter for Mac’s willingness to think outside the box. I use Reeder for Mac tons.
For non-Cocoa programming, I usually use TextMate. It’s kinda interesting—I’ve tried switching to Sublime Text 2 and BBEdit and neither have stuck. I can’t really pinpoint what it is about TextMate that keeps me coming back, but back I always come. Maybe it’s just Stockholm Syndrome.
Oh and GitHub for Mac. (lolz.)
Small picture for your Workplace?
Name something that has inspired you recently?
It’s hard to answer this without sounding super-pretentious. Reading about UX and design always inspires me. When I see other companies or products elegantly solving problems, it makes me want to hole-up with my computer and write code nonstop for months.
What do you prefer? Freelance work or full time employment?
Full-time. At the end of the day, a freelancer is a hired gun. It’s the difference between Star Wars if Hans was *really* just in it for the money, and Star Wars as we know it (George Lucas lolz aside). Hired guns are cool. People who believe in the cause make for better stories.
What are your goals for 2011?
Make GitHub for Mac more awesome. The End.