About Me

Ert at her first BBS terminalMy name is Ert O'Hara. I live in San Francisco. Currently, this site is me playing with code I'm learning and showing it to people who might like me to code for them. It's basically a portfolio of Drupal, CSS/Sass, JavaScript and responsive design development. This site is on an Ubuntu 14.04 16.04 VM that I set up on Digital Ocean (everybody wins referral link right here!) I installed a LAMP stack, configured my firewall, connected it to GitHub, installed Drupal, and began theming and exploring new ways to display aggregate content. I also added a nice security certificate from Let's Encrypt, and created a subdomain to get up to speed on Drupal 8.

I explain this in case the content seems particularly random... it kind of is. There is a Drupal module that will fill the system with dummy content, but I am both interested in the challenge of expedient content production and bulk operations, and I think it's nice to show a bit of who I am. I like music and math, food and film, camping and coffee, furniture and physics, watercolor and word play... hopefully that shows through. And, I love to make web pages and apps do what I want them to do. It makes me feel like a wizard :)

"As a front ­end web developer, I contribute clean, concise code, a collaborative mindset, and strong organizational skills. I like solving technical and design challenges, writing documentation, and improving efficiency in systems and workflows." That is (roughly) the blurb you'll find at the top of my LinkedIn profile. It needs to be brief there, but I can expound here.

It's all true. I love to organize things. A lot. It's a natural habit that I've worked very hard to turn into a super power AKA marketable skill. It underlies all of my other contributions.

My code is formatted with standards compliance and best practices in mind, and I try to organize it logically—as it relates to the shape of the content it affects, and semantically—to ease the task of handling thousands of lines of code. I want other people to be able to read and understand it. And, I need it to be organized so that I can read it and find things when I refer to it for examples or need to edit.

I love working with a smallish team amongst sets of other smallish teams. To me, this this is the sweet spot between the benefits of collaboration while still being agile and efficient. Nobody is perfect, and a good team helps catch the errors that slip by and provides a fresh perspective after looking at a project too closely and too long. I appreciate what I learn from others and their unique 'super powers', and I love to share tips and tricks I learn along the way.

As a woman, it is especially rewarding to empower other women with technical knowledge. My sense of wanting to help level the playing field is based on a concept that is very important to me, which is that gender/race/age/class expectations (all of those boxes we get put into) too often limit what we think we can and try to achieve. That is a detriment to us all. Every person should feel capable and free to reach their greatest potential.

As a kid, I wanted to be a detective/secret agent. I love to solve mysteries, for example, The Case of Too Many Records. One day an entire archive of product downloads refused to load on the site. My fellow developer and I worked like Mulder & Scully to deduce the culprit (too many expired records in the database) amongst the many possibilities. Another was The Mysterious Base Element Edit, wherein I noticed a site-wide disruption to theme and content layouts. Someone had changed the padding declaration of the base <td> element and added !important, thus affecting every <td> throughout the site. Case closed. Ert O'Hara, web inspector, at your service.

There are also design challenges. I compare Drupal/CMSs to a custom-built house, where the content is the furniture. I build the house with a good sense of what will be inside of it, but then sometimes I go berzerker on Craigslist and buy an art deco armoire because maybe it will take me away to Narnia... but then there is nowhere to put it. No problem. I find a way. I rearrange, explore other options, reassess priorities if I have to. And because of the great extensibility and flexibility of Drupal, if I need to remodel the house, that's always an option.

In the spirit of collaboration and organization, and because I like to write, I enjoy creating and refining documentation. I love it when I can contribute to improving workflow and making things easier and more efficient. My brain is faster than my hands, so I appreciate it when the path between thoughts and results is as smooth as possible.