Ben Karl

Full Stack Web Development

About Me:

I develop websites, web applications and other interesting things in New York City. I consider myself to be deeply enthusiastic about test-driven development and am very passionate about designing clean, maintainable code.

Currently I work as part of Condé Nast's Ad Technology team building technical solutions across all of Condé's editorial brands. Previously I worked with Cyrus Innovation as an Agile Consultant and Web Developer working primarily in Ruby on Rails and Ember, with some dabbling in CoffeeScript, Django, React, Docker and more. Previous to that I worked with Quartz to develop custom ad creatives for clients such as GE, Zurich, ADP, Bank of America, Deloitte, SAP, US Trust, and many more.

My primary specialty is in JavaScript and Node, and I'm quite familiar with most related technologies and frameworks, including Browserify, Mocha, Grunt, Gulp, Backbone, Ember and React. I'm well versed in Ruby and the Rails framework and like to play around with Python on the side. Prior to web development I spent seven years in public relations working for technology companies like Sony PlayStation, PayPal and Toshiba.

Check out my contact info and drop me a line!

Writing Tests Without a Web Framework

I learned how to build web applications using Ruby on Rails, where unit testing is a strong, well-documented part of the development process. Rails provides the structure and boilerplate to write tests automatically - when you create a new model a unit test file is created automatically! This is great because the thinking about how/when/why to test a class or module is taken care of, and you don’t need to waste time testing abstractions that the framework provides.

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Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for stopping by! My name is Ben Karl, I’m a web developer living in the East Village in New York City. My blog here is mostly about web development, but from time to time you may see some stuff that interests me generally like funny internet gifs, food, Seahawks football.. things like that.

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Look Up

Job Board


Coverage Reportr

WDI Proto

Look Up! shows you where the other planets in the solar system are relative to your geographical position. I pulls information from the browser and renders relative information about the planets so you can see which of the planets are currently visible to you.

This app uses Rails as a server proxy for the Astronomy API, Backbone.js to organize the planetary data on the client-side, and D3.js to render the visualization.

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Coverage Reportr solves a simple yet persistent problem all PR people face: coverage reporting. Typically compiling and organizing a coverage report requires lots of time in an Excel grid, but now you can create coverage reports quickly and easily!

The app is built on Rails and has four associated models. To add a hit to a coverage report the user provides an article URL, which is then parsed with Alchemy API and Nokogiri to extract the publication, title, author, date, and tone. Users can then share coverage reports with other users and export them to .csv format.

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General Assembly has a big job board displayed in the lobby of their main office where students, alumni and friends can share notes about various job opportunities. Job Board takes the old analog board and puts it online with features that make it easier for people to connect.

The app uses OmniAuth to let users log in with their LinkedIn account. The cards can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the board with the use of jQuery UI and we use Ajax to save the position of the card to the database. If someone 'Likes' your card you'll recieve a notification in your profile.

Also of note is that Job Board is heavily tested. Using RSpec we currently have over 70% test coverage on our models, routes and controllers.

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WDI Proto is the official site for my WDI class, Proto. General Assembly's Web Development Immersive (WDI) course is an intensive, full-time, three-month-long bootcamp where students learn all there is to know about web development. WDI Proto started in April and ended in July, 2014.

This app uses Backbone.js to neatly organize information about each student into Backbone models. On the "Meet the Class" page you can see the collection view rendered as a thumbnail and each individual model view is rendered when you click on an image. Both views are rendered using Underscore.js.

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The Satellite is an experiential, photo-realistic portrait of Earth generated entirely from real-time satellite data. The project was started by Gabriel Winer, Dana Karwas and Ivan Safrin. A colleague and I, inspired by our love of science, helped Gabe and Dana rebuild and host their own custom site.

The Satellite is fully responsive on all media devices and formats, utilizing programmatic style updates to adjust to screens of any width.

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