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Todd Birchard

New York City Website
Product manager turned engineer with an ongoing identity crisis. Breaks everything before learning best practices. Completely normal and emotionally stable.

Complex Features in MongoDB Cloud: Add Image Tags with AI

Using functions, webhooks, and values to utilize external APIs.

Friends, family, and most importantly, strangers: I approach you today with a tale of renewed inspiration. After loudly broadcasting my own confusion and mediocre ability to actually implement an effective cloud via MongoDB Stitch, my ineptitude has been answered with an early Christmas gift.

My incessant complaining gained some acknowledgement from a couple of folks over at MongoDB. Perhaps the

NoSQL Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Dec 14
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Geographic Data Visualization with Mapbox

Visualizing Geodata with Mapbox's API and Tools

There's a trend among those using Jupyter Notebooks (or equivalent) which leads me to believe humanity is coming to an important realization: Google Maps, as an API is expensive.

Regardless if Google maps is embedded as a consumer-facing widget, or part of a routine data-pipeline, a single surge of high-traffic can leave enterprises with price tags in the hundreds of

Data Vis Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Dec 11
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Simplify Your Python Project Configuration

Using .ini, .yaml, or .env files to cleverly set project variables.

As we cling harder and harder to Dockerfiles, Kubernetes, or any modern preconfigured app environment, our dependency on billable boilerplate grows. Whether or not that is a problem is a conversation in itself. The longer I keep my projects self-hosted, the more  I'm consumed by the open-ended approaches people take to manage their project configuration variables.

Full disclosure here: this

Python Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 29
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Hacking and Hustling: Full User Auth Without Writing Code

Weasle your way through coding by exploiting freemium software

The midlife crisis is a striking phenomenon common and equally inescapable to all of us. I’m fairly certain I’ve come to a turning point in my life where I too must admit I will never be cool again. I know this because I check Product Hunt on a daily basis, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

I’d estimate

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MongoDB Stitch Serverless Functions

A crash course in MongoDB Cloud’s bread and butter: serverless functions

At times, I've found my opinion of MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Stitch to waver between two extremes. Sometimes I'm struck by the allure of a cloud which fundamentally disregards schemas (wooo no schema party!). Other times, such as when Mongo decides to upgrade to a new version and you find all your production instances broken, I like the ecosystem a

NoSQL Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 26
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Stitch's “Query Anywhere”: Executing Business Logic via Frontend

MongoDB Stitch vs the impossible: secure database queries via frontend JS

Some tools are simply the right tool for the job. I imagine this must have been the thinking behind the wave of JSON-like NoSQL databases at their peak, and even so today. If we figure we’ll be passing information as JSON to an endpoint, to then have it structured into a schema, only to be promptly broken down again

NoSQL Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 23
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Image Compression Using Gulp and Imagemin

The simplest way to optimize page speed without breaking everything

I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in any more Gulp tutorials; task runners aren’t exactly the sexiest topic in the world, and chances are if you’ve made it to this blog, you’ve either solidified a CI/CD pipeline for going live with software, or you simply don’t need one. We’ll make an exception

JavaScript Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 21
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MongoDB Cloud: "Backend as a Service" with Atlas & Stitch

MongoDB's silent transformation from an open-source database to enterprise cloud provider

Unless you've been living under a rock (or only visit this site via work-related Google Searches, like most people) you've probably heard me drone on here and there about MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Stitch. I even went so far as to hack together an awful workflow that somehow utilized Tableau as an ETL tool to feed JIRA information into Mongo.

NoSQL Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 15
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Scraping Data on the Web with BeautifulSoup

The honest act of robotically stealing data

There are plenty of reliable and open sources of data on the web. Datasets are freely released to the public domain by the likes of Kaggle, Google Cloud, and of course local & federal government. Like most things free and open, however, following the rules to obtain public data can be a bit... boring. I'm not suggesting we go and

Python Author imageTodd Birchard Author image
toddDec 17
Nov 11
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Improve your AWS Lambda Workflow with Python-Lambda

Create and deploy AWS Lambda functions with ease in Python

In our series about building AWS APIs, we've covered a lot of ground around learning the AWS ecosystem. Now that we're all feeling a bit more comfortable, it may be time to let everybody in on the world's worst-kept secret: Almost nobody builds architecture by interacting with the AWS UI directly. There are plenty examples of how this is done,

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