Often, when working from home, my 3 year old son comes over and smilingly yanks the laptop out from my hands and starts hammering the keyboard in order to see the letters he types on the screen and then laugh at the shape of a middle dot (•).
Until now I was firing up sublime text "cmd+"ed the font size and let him type there but I thought that I could maybe create an application out of that in a chance to also get acquainted with new cool technologies that kids are using these days like Reangular and Nue.js, if I call them correctly.
The result is aaaooo.in and I had a lot of fun creating it. In what would have taken 2 hours for any developer colleague of mine, I spend a couple of nights and created an application that uses ReactJS for templating and Zeit's awesome service for deploying the website.
Some quick learnings I had:
I had played around with Reach at Edenspiekermann a bit before I left and I'm happy to say that I still remember some things there 👴but this time the "top-down direction", "always use properties cause you can't change a component on the fly" made a lot of sense to me as I was building an app and not a website.
The deployment options for static websites are booming. I was amazed by Netlify 2 years ago and I'm mindblown by how well Now works. Their onboarding process is great (even I, a non-developer, got to complete it) and their CLI tool works great with the user interface.
I also added some configuration options, so you can customize the looks of the application (in case you belong in the 0,00001% of the population that doesn't like pink Comic Sans on neon yellow background), such as:
You can see how to change these in the Github repo and, why not, also make some suggestions.
PS1: While I haven't tried this with cats, I hope that my feline-owner friends also benefit somehow by it.
PS2: The voice reading the letters and numbers is of my son's, Ektoras. You can mute the app if you like, I won't judge :).