Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Rafting the Green River through Desolation Canyon

After rafting the Yampa in June, we knew we'd experienced a once-in-a-lifetime kinda trip. We never expected to have two in one summer. When we got an invite to raft Desolation Canyon over Labor Day weekend, we jumped at the opportunity.

The trip started on Jack's birthday: Thursday, August 28th. We drove from Denver to Green River, Utah the night before, and had some adventures along the way. As we were heading down Vail Pass, our trailer started to swing from side to side, almost whiplashing us off the road. We quickly slowed down and didn't go over 65 MPH for the rest of the trip. I figured this was caused by the rear spring spacers we added to the Syncro. The heightened rear caused the raft trailer to be out of balance, and we needed a new hitch to drop it down.

We arrived around 1:30am, popped the top on our camper and went to sleep. The next morning, we woke up and met some of our fellow floaters for the first time. An hour later, were were getting ready to leave and I was inspecting our trailer. That's when I noticed one of the wheels was about to fall off. The bearings were shot and the wheel was barely hanging on.

Luckily, one of the guys we just met had replaced all his trailer's bearings the week before and was on it. He knew exactly what to do and went to work. There was a Napa Auto Parts store a mile away. Two hours and several trips to Napa later, we were back in business and on the road.

We celebrated Jack's 10th birthday while driving to the put in, opening presents and having a good ol' time. We also had some cupcakes to celebrate with everyone once we arrived. Jack was especially pumped for the huckleberries my Mom overnighted.

Happy 10th Bithday Jack! YAY Huckleberries from Mimi and Baba in Montana

We launched with five families total, 10 adults and 10 kids. We had five rafts, a duckey, an inner tube and two motors to get us through the flat water. We didn't get on the river until 6pm that first day, and only made it seven miles before dark.

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Posted in General at Sep 20 2014, 05:11:17 PM MDT 2 Comments

Getting Started with JHipster on OS X

Last week I was tasked with developing a quick prototype that used AngularJS for its client and Spring MVC for its server. A colleague developed the same application using Backbone.js and Spring MVC. At first, I considered using my boot-ionic project as a starting point. Then I realized I didn't need to develop a native mobile app, but rather a responsive web app.

My colleague mentioned he was going to use RESThub as his starting point, so I figured I'd use JHipster as mine. We allocated a day to get our environments setup with the tools we needed, then timeboxed our first feature spike to four hours.

My first experience with JHipster failed the 10-minute test. I spent a lot of time flailing about with various "npm" and "yo" commands, getting permissions issues along the way. After getting thinks to work with some sudo action, I figured I'd try its Docker development environment. This experience was no better.

JHipster seems like a nice project, so I figured I'd try to find the causes of my issues. This article is designed to save you the pain I had. If you'd rather just see the steps to get up and running quickly, skip to the summary.

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Posted in Java at Sep 08 2014, 11:30:33 AM MDT 3 Comments

The First Day of School

Another school year is upon us! This year brings a big change: Abbie is now a middle schooler! I missed blogging about the beginning of school last year because Trish and I were honeymooning in Ireland, Italy, Thailand and Fiji. For fall activities, Abbie and Trish are leasing a horse, so they'll be doing lots of riding. Jack is inspired to learn how to program, but I can't help but think some outdoor activities will be more fun. I hope to keep him interested in programming by organizing a fall Devoxx4Kids Denver.

First Day of School 2014

Personally, I'm not quite ready to start thinking about the fall. With a 6-day rafting trip down Desolation Canyon over Labor Day weekend, we hope to squeeze the last little bit out of summer before it's over. We'll be taking both kids and driving our Syncro with its new engine.

H6 Engine Conversion by RMW Solar Panel Installed. Thanks Dad! Nicer stance with spacers

Reunited and it feels so good!

When we get back, it's time for football/tailgating season, leaves changing and the finishing of the '66 Dream Bus. With the interior getting painted soon, I believe the final push is right around the corner!

Related: The First Day of School 2007, 2010 and 2011.

Posted in General at Aug 18 2014, 04:05:34 PM MDT Add a Comment

The Scenic Way to Santa Fe

After having a successful run at ski season with our VW Syncro, Trish and I figured we'd see how it performed in the summer. We took it 4x4ing in Moab, rafting in Dinosaur National Monument and camping for Father's Day Weekend. It was a trusty steed for our kids, dogs, skis and raft. Earlier this month, we planned a week-long road trip to Santa Fe to see one of my old college roommates. Because of the holiday weekend, it turned into a 10-day road trip. We left Denver in style on the morning of the 4th.

Happy 4th from our Red, White and Blues!

The motorcycle on the back didn't seem to slow us down much. We drove from Denver to Winter Park, taking the long way over Squaw Pass to avoid traffic.

The Scenic Route over Squaw Pass Colorado High Country

When we arrived at our Ski Shack, the engine was making a loud knocking sound. We dismissed it as a random occurrence. When I drove to the gas station 45 minutes later, the knocking was loud enough that heads turned when I drove past. After fueling up, I started the van and began driving back to our condo. The engine sputtered, the tires screeched and then the engine died. I pulled to the side, conveniently still in the gas station's parking lot. The engine would no longer turn over.

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Posted in General at Jul 27 2014, 11:56:52 AM MDT 1 Comment

McGinity Photo on the cover of Whisky Magazine!

A couple years ago, my dad and I were driving to get some materials for a home improvement project we were working on. It was during a gorgeous Colorado sunset, one so beautiful that I called Trish and told her "You have to go outside and see it!" Not only did she capture the sunset that day, but she shot one of her favorite pictures of all time. She calls that photo "Stranahan's Truck" and its been one of her best sellers. In fact, this month it's featured on the cover of Whisky Magazine!

The original version of this photo is available on her website. Her description:

I love this photo I took of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Truck and Distillery last spring. Rob Dietrich is the head distiller of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey and this is his 1938 Dodge that John "the Duke" Wayne used to drive when he stayed in Aspen, Colorado.

I love this photo I took of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Truck and Distillery last spring.  Rob Dietrich is the head distiller of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey and this is his 1938 Dodge that John Wayne used to drive when he stayed in Aspen, Colorado.

Way to go baby! You're awesome! :)

Posted in General at Jul 26 2014, 10:24:00 AM MDT 1 Comment

Why I prefer IntelliJ IDEA over Eclipse

Over the last couple months, I've received a few emails asking why I prefer IntelliJ IDEA over Eclipse. They usually go something like this:

I keep seeing you recommending IntelliJ. I keep trying it intermittently with using Eclipse, but I feel like I'm missing something obvious that makes so many people think it's better. Granted having the usual plugins incorporated is nice, but other things like the build process and debugger sometimes seems a step back from Eclipse. Could you please blog a '10 reasons why I love IntelliJ' or point me to something that would clue me in?

I grew to love IntelliJ for a few reasons. It all started in 2006 when I decided to migrate AppFuse from Ant to Maven. Before that, I was a huge Eclipse fan (2002 - 2006). Before Eclipse, I used HomeSite, an HTML Editor to write all my Java code (1999-2002). Eclipse was the first IDE that didn't hog all my system's memory and was pleasant to work with.

The reason I started using IntelliJ in 2006 was because of it's multi-module Maven support. Eclipse's Maven support was terrible, and m2e hasn't gotten a whole lot better in recent years AFAIK.

Back then, I used to think everything should be built and run from the command line. A couple years later, I realized it was better to run tests and debug from an IDE. Now I'm more concerned with the ability to run tests and debug in an IDE than I am from the build system.

In 2009, I started doing a lot more front-end work: writing HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I also started digging into alternate languages for these: Jade, GWT, CoffeeScript, LESS, SASS - even Scala. I found IntelliJ's support, and plugins, to be outstanding for these languages and really enjoyed how it would tell me I had invalid JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

My original passion in software was HTML and JavaScript and I found that hasn't changed in the last 15 years. AFAIK, Eclipse still has terrible web tools support; it excels at Java (and possibly C++ support). Even today, I write most of my HTML code 9 (for InfoQ and this blog) in IntelliJ.

In reality, it probably doesn't matter which IDE you use, as long as you're productive with it. Once you learn one IDE well, the way others do things will likely seem backwards. I'm so familiar with debugging in IntelliJ, that when I tried to use Eclipse's debugger a few weeks ago, it seemed backwards to me. ;)

In a nutshell: the technologies I've worked with have been better embraced by IntelliJ. Has this happened to you? Have certain technologies caused you to use one IDE over another?

Posted in Java at Jul 21 2014, 01:33:55 PM MDT 14 Comments

Father's Day Weekend on The Arkansas River

I really enjoy being a father. I consider it one of my greatest responsibilities, one that has many rewards. There's nothing like hearing your son say "Dad, I'm really glad you made me go on this trip" (on our Yampa trip) or your daughter making you a Happy Father's Day book that says "you invented FUN!" Like many years in the past, we celebrated Father's Day Weekend with a camping trip.

Trish and I both invited our Dad's to join us, and they delightfully agreed. Trish transported her Dad to Denver by flying to Pennsylvania last Wednesday and road-tripping back with him. I flew my Dad in and picked him up from the airport Friday afternoon. We had a bit of road-tripping ourselves, with a drive to Fort Collins (to pick up our enhanced Syncro), then to Winter Park (to pick up our raft), then back to Denver.

Saturday morning, we packed up our sleeping bags, life jackets and border collies and drove to the Cotopaxi KOA on the Arkansas River. We arrived late afternoon, and were quickly impressed with the KOA's glamping attributes. We had an excellent riverside spot, with RV hookups for the van and a sweet concrete patio. We enjoyed a wagon ride, frisbee, fishing, and marshmallows by the fire before retiring for the night.

Dad at Cotopaxi KOA New bumpers and RV hookups Frisbee! Banjo Happiness

Crazies on the wagon ride

Nice spot to wake up Let's Go!

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Posted in General at Jun 19 2014, 08:53:10 AM MDT Add a Comment

Rafting the Yampa through Dinosaur National Monument

In January, my friend Brice sent out an email to a bunch of folks asking us to apply for a river permit lottery. He sent us links to lotteries for Dinosaur National Monument - Yampa River and Desolation Gray - Green River. There were 10 of us on the email and we all applied for both permits. In mid-February, I found out I won the Yampa permit and the trip planning began. This was a huge deal for some since they'd been trying to get this permit for 10 years.

When we got all the details worked out, we were scheduled to launch on Saturday, May 31 and take out on Wednesday, June 4. Our put-in was Deerlodge Park and take-out, Split Mountain. If you're interested, you can see a map.

Over the next four months, many emails flew between us (33 pages if printed out) and much planning ensued. We had a planning BBQ, endured a permit-award-never-sent-fiasco and I tried to back out for Abbie's 5th grade continuation ceremony. Since I was the permit holder (and had to go), the crew convinced me it was a trip of a lifetime. We left Abbie in Denver for her ceremony and took Jack with us. When we launched on May 31, we had 21 people, 8 rafts and one inflatable kayak. Of the crew, 6 were children (aged 6 - 11).

Eddy... Set... Go!

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Posted in General at Jun 11 2014, 10:30:23 PM MDT 1 Comment

How do you stay current with emerging technologies?

I recently received an email from a former co-worker. She was curious to know what I read/do to know what it is "trending" in the software world. I think this is good knowledge to share, and I'm also interested in what others do to keep up. Here's my response to her:

My technique for staying up-to-date is mostly reading, and attending some user group meetings. For reading, I read news.ycombinator.com, as well as infoq.com - who I now write for. DZone.com (esp. Javalobby and its HTML5 Zone) is also pretty good, as is arstechnica.com. I don't read nearly as much as I used to when I was subscribed to all of their RSS feeds and read them religiously.

Nowadays, most of my information comes from Twitter. I follow people that are involved in technologies I'm interested in. I try to keep the number of people I follow to 50 as I don't want to spend too much time reading tweets.

For meetups, most are on meetup.com these days. I'd find a couple that have technologies you're interested in (e.g. a local HTML5 meetup or Java user group) and join the group. You'll get email notifications when they have meetings.

Other than that, sometimes I do "conference driven learning". I'll pick a few technologies I'm interested in learning, submit a talk to a conference or user group, then be forced to learn and present on them when it gets accepted. It can be stressful, but it works and usually results in a good presentation because I can share the experience of learning.

One interesting thing I've realized about Twitter is I can make technologies seem "hot" based on the people I follow. If I'm following a bunch of AngularJS folks, my feed is filled with Angular-related tweets and it seems like the hottest technology ever. If I tweak who I follow to have a bunch of Groovy enthusiasts, or Scala folks, the same thing happens.

Of course, the best way to learn new technologies is to use them in your daily job. I strive to do this with my clients, but it doesn't always work out. I've found that working on open source projects and speaking at conferences can help you learn if you're in a stagnant environment. Then again, if you're not happy at work, quit.

What do you do to stay on top of emerging trends in technology?

Posted in Java at May 28 2014, 10:48:38 AM MDT 4 Comments

Syncro Solstice 2014

Our Camping Crew I like to think I've been part of the VW Community for many years. In reality, I've been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the restoration of my '66 to finish. When we bought our Syncro last year, I became an active participant again. Last Thursday, we took full advantage of this wonderful community - joining a bunch of folks in Moab for Syncro Solstice.

The Syncro Solstice is an annual Volkswagen Transporter Jamboree produced by enthusiasts in the Intermountain area. The event hosts both 2WD and 4WD vehicles in an off-road desert-style family-camp-and-expedition Jamboree, held late spring in Moab, Utah. Our Eurovan, Bus, Doka and Microbus friends are a hit and also very welcome.

My parents joined us for this camping extravaganza, as did our "we love to go camping" border collies. The people were great, the vans were inspiring and the views, mesmerizing. We love Moab and the weather was gorgeous the entire time.

VW Sunset

Syncro Camp B Sunset

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Posted in The Bus at May 21 2014, 10:21:11 AM MDT Add a Comment