Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm a Web Magnate

Well, one can dream.  :-)

I've spent the past few months developing a web site / app using a bunch of new (to me) stuff: node.js, Express, mongoDB, along with HTML5, CSS3, and a little JQuery for a cool map using jVectorMap.  All with JavaScript of course. Learned a lot along the way, and now feel somewhat competent with most of the technology.  It's even hooked into Google Maps, Google Analytics, and AddThis for social networking.

Check it out here at  What is it?  It is a search service to find upcoming dog agility trials.  My main hobby.

For hosting, I looked into a few cloud services such as Heroku and Nodejitsu, but decided to use  So far I've been extremely pleased.
  • You get one month free, thereafter the "typical" $15 a month.
  • Their dashboard is cool-looking and, more importantly, fairly useful.
  • Creating and hooking up a small Mongo Database is simple, even a newbie like me can do it.
  • Uploading your code is simple, even a newbie like me can do it.
  • Linking their site to my domain name server was fairly straightforward, even a... (you get the idea).
  • On a crash it will send you an email (easy to configure) or text, then restarts.
There were a couple of minor gotchas.  I forgot to route both and  It took me a little while to learn about the .modulusignore file that tells the upload to ignore unnecessary or test files.  (Though it is smart enough to ignore your node_modules folder.)

So far so good.  I especially enjoyed making up agility-centric custom 404 (and 400 and 500) pages.  I'm finding that jVectorMap is a little flaky on some devices, so there is also a much simpler, somewhat "mobile friendly" search page.  But the main parts seem to work fine and some of my agility friends are already using it.