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Hi - I'm Clinton, and I'm the CTO of Momentum Learning in Durham, NC. I've previously worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Iron Yard, and RTI International, among others. My big passions are my kids and making the world of programming a more welcoming and diverse place.

Recent articles

Using @pika/web with Django to handle JavaScript dependencies

I love Django, but its story for handling JavaScript dependencies and bundling is not very good. Without plugins, you’re stuck using old-school multiple script tags in order of dependencies and praying that you get it right. The best solution I’ve found until recently is django-webpack-loader, but that requires a Webpack setup, which can be complex. I’ve been watching @pika/web for a little while, and I really like its approach to JavaScript dependencies. Read more...

My advice to new developers

On the last day of lecture for each class I teach, I give the same talk – my seven pieces of advice for new developers. I don’t know if my advice is all that great, but it’s what I’ve learned over the past 20 years of writing code and it’s worked out ok for me. Today was the last lecture for my third cohort at Momentum, the company I co-founded last year, and after giving the talk a third time, I thought I’d write it up. Read more...

2018 in books

I exceeded my goal this year of reading 52 books. I read 57 in total, the great majority of those being fiction.


Prevent content jumps when loading images

Web pages often shift their content around while loading images and other data. Using skeleton screens is one approach to prevent this. If you know the width and height you want to display for the image you’re loading, this is pretty easy to implement by setting the width and height in the CSS, along with a background color.


Just watched Tig Notaro’s new special and she does a really funny bit about the Indigo Girls and it reminded me of my first and best concert experience.

There wasn’t a lot of access to great music as a rural Southern kid. The local rock station, 102.9 KISS FM, was real heavy on Def Leppard and Guns ‘n’ Roses. Me and a few kids traded tapes that we recorded of music we found, and when the Indigo Girls hit, it was huge. Note that I had never met an out gay person in my life, nor even been informed that they existed. (Seriously, I can’t believe this was true, but I didn’t know about gay people until I was 15.)

I got my youngest aunt and uncle, who were pretty hip and lived near Atlanta so they knew who the Indigo Girls were, to take me to see them at the Fox Theatre, which is the most beautiful theatre. I’ve only been there once 26 years ago and I still think about its ceiling.

We got there and there was an opening band, also something I didn’t know about. The opening band was a punk band called Lay Quiet Awhile. Their lead singer, Danielle Howle, was amazing. She sang and shrieked and stage dove into the crowd and my mind was blown to shreds. This was the first punk music I’d heard and it slayed. I became an opening band man that night.

And then the Indigo Girls played and it was as amazing as you might imagine. Besides seeing the best show I’ve ever seen, I remember three things from that night. I found out about gay people. I’m still thankful that I found out there instead of at church. I remember that while I was in the men’s room at a urinal, a group of women ran into it declaring they were “liberating it for their use” and I was beyond terrified. And I remember this guy sitting right in front of me who kept trying to make out with his girlfriend and getting shut down so hard.

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