5 Questions with Dan Clouse

February 11, 2015

Blog | Culture | 5 Questions with Dan Clouse
5 Questions with Dan Clouse

When you first meet Dan Clouse, you might mistake him for an urban farmer. Often dressed in flannel and sporting a scruffy beard, you’ll find him canning tomatoes, brewing craft beer, or tinkering around his house in North Carolina.  Beneath that seemingly hipster exterior, however, is an accomplished classical musician friends jokingly refer to as Dr. Tuba. He’s also a senior developer at GeekHive.

The second child of Gayle and Melvin, Dan grew up in Big Rapids Michigan.  After earning multiple advanced degrees in both music and technology, he netted a Doctor of Music Arts from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Music and technology, in fact, have shaped most of Dan’s life. He explains, “When I was in school studying music, I was writing code on the side. Likewise, even though I’m programming, I still play gigs and write music.”

For the past few years, Dan’s focus has been web applications, usability and emerging technology.  When he’s not writing code, he plays tuba with several symphony orchestras and also takes the stage as banjo player with the Piedmont old time band, The Zinc Kings.

In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

This answer has changed in the last 5 years- today, it’s the foundation for a flexible and responsive HTML5 front-end.


If a website were a cake, back-end web development would be… ?

It would be the flour- no one eats it alone and un-baked, but it’s the structure.  In the hands of a careful baker, simple ingredients can create surprising substance.


What are some creative ways you’ve used your back-end development skills?

I’m mostly a front-end architecture guy now, but that’s really driven my understanding of what a back-end is supposed to do.  I got on board with REST APIs, JSON, and Angular.js’s HTTP services, and now I preach it to any programmer who will listen.  That’s the most surprising shift I’ve made- from code producer to best-practices evangelist.


What are some of your go-to books, links, or resources for back-end web development?

I have to put http://stackoverflow.com/ at the top of the list of resources, but second is Google, followed shortly by trial and error.  These days the internet and a willingness to fail can get you very far in the technical sphere.  However, developing philosophy and perspective are critical to being a valuable team member and focusing your future learning.  The two books that have had the greatest impact on me as a programmer are JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford, and Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm.  Both books are very brief, very thoughtful, and imminently useful.


As a remote team member, what’s the biggest challenge you face as a GH developer?

I’m trying to devise a way to beam pizza and beer to my house from the office parties.  I think I’m close.


Heather Waters

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