Welcome

I am Chris Ward (aka Chris Chinchilla). I am a Developer, Writer, and full of crazy ideas.

After 15 years as a developer I realized that my skills lie in helping others understand technical subjects. I achieve this through technical writing, blogging, networking and educating people through presentations and workshops.

This site is the home of my personal and work projects and the experiences I have working on them. If you like what you see, read more, come and see me present, or support what I do.

Why do you call yourself Chris Chinchilla? Yes it does sound silly doesn’t it! It’s a nickname I’ve had since 1997 after a passing comment at school, I’ve carried it through all my fanzine and music years and like it. For those who are interested, a Chinchilla is a small (and very cute) South American rodent, a Small Town in Queensland, Australia and is a real name in South America.

  • Building Your First Blockchain App with Eris

    Building Your First Blockchain App with Eris

    A few months ago I was at the Berlin Blockchain awards, and it appears that 'blockchain' is the new buzzword that startups and tech-folk like to throw into everything, without completely understanding the concepts behind it. Whether you believe that blockchain is just a new buzzword for the industry or a truly revolutionary technology, developers are often uncertain of how they can use the blockchain concept in their applications. Eris Industries' solution might make this a bit easier.

  • Medium Exporter for Atom

    Medium Exporter for Atom

    I love Markdown and I love editing Markdown in Atom. But I also love the exposure that Medium offers, and whilst I admit it has a great editor, I like to be able to write offline and I like having a central repository (i.e. Git) of my work for collaboration, consolidation and other purposes.

  • Editors Friend for Atom

    As a (very) frequent writer and editor I often find myself writing and correcting the same words over and over again. Or in preparation for publishing I have to repeatedly undertake the same steps, such as adding short codes or formatting links.

  • Communist and cultural effects on tech communities

    Communist and cultural effects on tech communities

    This is my second visit to Tirana for the OSCAL conference, an annual celebration of open source technology in Albania's capital. Aside from excellent content, the conference stands out for a couple of reasons. Most attendees and organizers are under 30, and the gender divide is pretty much an even split. Anyone who attends tech-related events in other countries know that this is (sadly) unusual, and I was interested in digging beneath the surface to find out more.

  • Video - What’s New in AppCode 2016.2

    Video - What’s New in AppCode 2016.2

    A video about new features and improvements in AppCode 2016.2 is here!

  • An Introduction to Docker for Mac

    An Introduction to Docker for Mac

    Recently out of private beta, Docker's new native applications aim to replace the current methods for running Docker on Windows and Mac, creating a better experience for developers using those platforms. For the previous solution, Docker Toolbox used VirtualBox to create a small Linux virtual machine that hosted your images and containers. It worked pretty well but could be unreliable at times and required workarounds that sometimes resulted in unexpected outcomes or not working at all.

  • Rapid IoT Development with the relayr Android App and SDK

    Rapid IoT Development with the relayr Android App and SDK

    relayr is an IoT platform as a service, aiming to help IoT developers centralize and aggregate the data generated by IoT connected devices. By installing their hardware and software SDKs you don't need to worry about specific SDKs and data types generated by various devices, but instead code against the relayr APIs.

  • Video - Which Continuous Integration Tools Support Bitbucket?

    Video - Which Continuous Integration Tools Support Bitbucket?

    Automate your tools with Bitbucket

  • Otto: The Next Generation of Vagrant

    Otto: The Next Generation of Vagrant

    Not so long ago, Vagrant was the prime tool that attempted to solve that time-immemorial problem of "it works on my machine." Developers could create shareable Vagrant files to allow coworkers to spin up replica machines for testing code and the interconnecting parts of a typical modern project. Vagrant is far from dead, but it suffers from a couple of long-lasting issues, including the resource footprint of virtual machines created, the speed of sharing files between the host and virtual machine, and the speed of making configuration changes to virtual machines.

  • What Do Apple’s App Store Changes Mean for Developers?

    What Do Apple’s App Store Changes Mean for Developers?

    It's a sobering time to be a mobile developer, with both app and device sales down. Personally, I feel this is just the maturation of a new(ish) industry, and everything will work out eventually. But, noticing major dents in their revenue, the major players are clearly worried.

  • The Story of English by Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil

    It's taken moving to a non-English speaking country to realize how wide spread and common place the English languages is in the World. This has piqued my interest in learning about the origins of our bastard tongue and how it got to this position.

  • Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood, by Jamie Russell

    I loved this book and couldn't stop reading it, which was a pain as I mostly read before going to sleep. The book takes an era by era look at how the video games and movie industries have tried to collaborate together, and largely failed.

  • The Offline Coding Challenge, Theoretical Concepts in Videos, and Beginner Coders Wanted

    The Offline Coding Challenge, Theoretical Concepts in Videos, and Beginner Coders Wanted

    I recently read http://www.bfilipek.com/2016/05/coding-without-google.html about a Developer's workflow before the proliferation of the internet, search engines and developer websites. It reminded me of an idea I had wanted to write about for a while and this blog post prompted me to drag it off my todo list.

  • Teaching Programming: What’s the Best Language for Beginners?

    Teaching Programming: What’s the Best Language for Beginners?

    Like many of my age and generation, I started learning to program with BASIC. These were the days when you bought magazines full of pages and pages of code for games or basic applications. You spent hours with your friends painstakingly typing these programs into a computer to find there was a typo, or the game didn’t work, and then giving up. It was more about hanging out with your friends, whilst your parents felt like you were learning something.

  • An introduction to the Docker trusted registry

    An introduction to the Docker trusted registry

    Many of us start our Docker journey pulling images from the Docker Hub with the time-honored docker pull command.

  • 8 Key Announcements for Android Developers at Google IO

    8 Key Announcements for Android Developers at Google IO

    Another year, another IO. Google made a slew of announcements, from their own foray into the assistant arena, to several curious devices and apps. Few of these have details or any API access for developers, so SitePoint will cover those at a later date. If you’re interested in reading more, I recommend Google’s official IO blog post.

  • Create Cross-Platform Desktop Apps with Electron

    Create Cross-Platform Desktop Apps with Electron

    Call me old-fashioned, but I have always preferred using a desktop app suited to each purpose. I feel that if all I'm going to use is a browser for everything I do, then why have a 'proper' computer? On a practical level, I travel frequently and am generally 'between' internet connectivity or using unstable internet connections, and 'real' applications are typically far better at allowing effective offline working.

  • Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Last weekend I was back in Tirana for my second OSCAL, an awesome little open source conference that has a massively diverse audience and punches well above it's weight. Whilst in Albania I was conducting some interviews and research for a forthcoming article on the Albanian (likely also including Kosovo) startup and tech scene(s), but more of that later. When I visited Albania last year it was my first trip to a Balkan country and since then I have visited Serbia (twice) and Croatia. Last year, everything was new and novel, this trip I was seeing beyond that into things I might have missed.

  • Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Like many of my age and generation, I started learning to program with BASIC. These were the days when you bought magazines full of pages and pages of code for games or basic applications. You spent hours with your friends painstakingly typing these programs in to a computer to find there was a typo, or the game didn't work, and then giving up. It was more about hanging out with your friends, whilst your parents felt like you were learning something.

  • Dependency Management with the Swift Package Manager

    Dependency Management with the Swift Package Manager

    Chris Ward looks at the Swift Package Manager, an early-days dependency management utility for Swift.

  • A 1001 Crate Cluster with Microsoft Azure

    A 1001 Crate Cluster with Microsoft Azure

    Crate.io focuses on database simplicity and horizontal scalability. We aim to make scaling your data from millions to billions of records and beyond as simple as possible.

  • Video - Real World Use Cases of NoSQL Databases

    Video - Real World Use Cases of NoSQL Databases

    A modern and flexible alternative to databases

  • Managing data storage with block chain and big chain DB

    Managing data storage with block chain and big chain DB

    There's no denying that whilst Bitcoin's future may be hazy right now, the underlying technology it relies upon -- the Blockchain -- has revolutionized many industries and projects, with more to come.

  • The Past, Present and Future of Swift

    I'm excited about Swift for reasons I will expand upon later, but it's mostly the enthusiasm it has attracted. In less than six months, here are the project's GitHub stats.

  • Understanding the Docker Ecosystem

    Understanding the Docker Ecosystem

    Attend any tech-related event or read any tech-related article over the past 18 months, and you will likely have heard of Docker and have an inkling of what it is and does.