Hackers and Slackers: Data Science for Badasses
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Todd Birchard

39 Posts New York City Website
Former product manager turned architect with ongoing identity crisis. Does everything incorrectly before coming to realizations known as best practices. Completely normal and emotionally stable.

The End-to-End Guide to Building Forms in Flask

The subtle art of consenually capturing personal data

Happy Tuesday everybody! To start this week hot, let's talk about something that everybody hates: forms. The only thing more painful than filling out a web form is creating one, much less a functional one with feedback. Listen, if you're into creating pleasant form UI experiences, you're probably into some freaky shit. Call me.

Flask's youth is an advantage in one regard, in that there are only so many libraries available to handle any given task. In this case, there's

Flask Author imageTodd Birchard August 15
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Cloud SQL Postgres on GCP

Diving into Cloud SQL and its out-of-the-box API

Well folks, I have a confession to make. I've been maintaining an affair with two lovers. That's right; they're none other than Postgres, and Google Cloud. While such polygamy may be shunned by the masses, I believe that somehow, some way, we can just make this menage a trois work. What entices me about Cloud SQL is the existence of the Cloud SQL API , which generates predictable REST endpoints for presumably reading and writing to your database. Please allow a

Google Cloud Author imageTodd Birchard August 10
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MongoDB Stitch Serverless Functions

A crash course in Mongo's undocumented cloud offering.

I've been finding my opinion of MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Stitch wavering between two extremes lately. Sometimes I find ease of querying a cloud Database securely on the frontend to be a refreshing pleasure. Other times, such as when Mongo decides to upgrade to a new version (say 4.0.0 for example) and you find all your production instances broken, I like them less. That's when you realize that their documentation is an absolute train-wreck of ineffective explanations, which

NoSQL Author imageTodd Birchard August 07
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Abusing Tableau to Handle ETL Workflows

Weaponizing APIs against tyrannical software

Before we get into the specifics of how to sadistically abuse Tableau, let's clear the air: there's something about inaccessible, expensive, proprietary enterprise software that tends to put me in a touchy mood. As we know, B2B software pricing has nothing to do with code quality or even value-add, but rather the tendency of businesses to create time-based urgencies without warning; the kinds of urgencies which may be solved by, say, a tool of sorts.

My first interaction with Tableau

Tableau Author imageTodd Birchard August 03
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Using MongoDB Atlas as your Flask Database

Since we’re fans of Python, I’ll assume we both prefer enjoyable dev.

I’ve been messing with MongoDB’s cloud offering, MongoDB Atlas, for a few months now. From my perspective, the jury is still out on how Atlas and Stitch will fit into the picture of next generation cloud services, I can vouch that they’re fun to use. Since we’re fans of Python and Flask already, I’ll assume you prefer enjoyable development too.

We're going to set up a simple app where users can submit URLs via a

Flask Author imageTodd Birchard July 31
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Hacking Your Tableau Linux Server

Turning a BI tool into your data GUI slave

Let's say you're a Data Scientist. Well maybe not a data scientist... I mean, those online data analysis courses were definitely worth it, and you'd made it this far without being quizzed on Bayesian linear regression. So maybe you're analyst or something, but whatever:  you use Tableau, So you must be a Scientist™.

I've admitted a few times in the past to have purchased a personal Tableau Server license in my more ignorant years (aka a few months ago). While

Tableau Author imageTodd Birchard July 26
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Serving Frontend Templates and Assets in Flask

When Python developers manage presentation layers.

If you're familiar with Django (or Python to any extent), you've probably accepted the concept of what Python guys refer to as "static assets" without much consideration. At some point in Django's conception, a design decision was made: any code, styles, or assets were tucked away into their own respective uninteresting corners of the framework. Thus it was known: anything that isn't Python is simply a "static" asset to be dealt with either locally or via a CDN somewhere. Basically,

Flask Author imageTodd Birchard July 23
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Data Could Save Humanity if it Weren't for Humanity

A compelling case for robot overlords.

A decade has passed since I stumbled into technical product development. Looking back, I've spent that time almost exclusively in the niche of data-driven products and engineering. While it seems obvious now, I realized in the 2000s that you could generally create two types of product: you could either build a (likely uninspired) UI for existing data, or you could build products which produced new data or interpreted existing data in a new useful way. Betting on the latter seemed

Data Author imageTodd Birchard July 20
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Google Cloud Platform: Creating an Instance and Configuring DNS

Quality of services over quantity

For the last few weeks I've been enamored with Google's cloud platform, aptly named Google Cloud Platform. GCP contains the things you might expect from a young player in the 'screw AWS' space: much of what exists on AWS has an equivalent on GPC, but certain subtleties exist, such as the lack of Python serverless functions and so forth. That said, GCP makes up for any shortcomings by leveraging services exclusive to Google.

In my opinion, GCP is the first

Google Cloud Author imageTodd Birchard July 14
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Starting a Flask Project with Heroku

Make development fun again!

We all knew it would only be a matter of time before a blog full of Python junkies would touch on Python's fastest growing framework. Staying true to all that is Pythonic, Flask is a gift to developers who value the act of development. By minimizing level of effort and maximizing potential, Flask allows us to be as minimalist (or obnoxiously complex) as we want.

Why Flask?

Those of us who grew up loving Django have embraced Flask with a

Flask Author imageTodd Birchard July 08
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