Blogs

Blogs

An intro

Hi there, if you're reading this, let me say hello and give you a warm thank you for stopping by.
My name is Nate Cavanaugh, and I am the Director of User Interface Engineering here at Liferay. What does that title even mean?
Well, it basically means that I have minions do all of my work for me, while I blog online ;)
Actually, it means that I'm the guy who is in charge of the UI, and (willingly) takes the lumps when it's bad (which it is), the themes in Liferay (architecturally speaking), the Javascript and AJAX, and pretty much the entire front end.

I have been with Liferay since November of 2006, and in that time, there are have been many changes to the front end, most prominent is the new themes architecture. I've also made a lot of changes to the Javascript, and helped polish some things up.

Of course, I didn't do any of that alone, and there were and are many different people who helped, including folks like Brian Chan, Jorge Ferrer and many others.

A little background on me: Before joining Liferay, I was briefly a Senior PHP Developer for Pricegrabber, a Front End Developer for Juxt Interactive, and the Art Director for PowWeb.
The product I am most "known" for was the now defunct Expanse CMS, which was a PHP based content management system designed for artists, designers and other creatives.

I also run my own website/blog/portfolio, Alterform.

My background is in graphic design and PHP development, and let's just say that I have some very strong opinions about both :)

One of the things I am most passionate about, however, is user interaction. There is an incomparable feeling of joy when you use a product for the first time, and things just make sense.
And there is an incomparable feeling of rage and hatred when things don't.

One of my favorite quotes (oft-quoted and for good reason) comes from Mr. Albert Einstein:
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."

For me, it's the little things that drive me crazy. I want to know why the things in this world can't just make sense.

For instance, the light switch in my apartment. When I first walk in, my goal is to turn on the light inside. One would assume that since that's most people's first priority, they would make the switch that controls the light inside the one closest to the door.
But no. For some reason, they decided that the switch closest to the door should control the outside light.

And I look at that, and I ask "why"? Why can't we have things that just make sense?

And that sort of anal retentivity, that sort of obsessed compulsion to make things easy is what I hope to bring to Liferay.

I want Liferay to be a product that you enjoy using. Not only that, but I've found that most of the people who advocate Liferay and opt for it, require other people to use it.
And it's to those people I feel the biggest kinship. To them, I hope to give the gift of usability.

Most of us will muddle through what we're using, including our company intranets, our bank's website, our content managment system.
We'll overcome the errors, and come to get used to the defects.

But there is a better way, and I would like to help bring it to reality.

We have some really great ideas, and a lot of great people working here, and I plan on using this blog to not only talk about those ideas and people, but to also explore ideas and concepts that perhaps we're not used to.

However, one of the things that annoy me about a lot of blogs (my own personal one included), is that it assumes that people really only want to sit under the vent of hot air that usually comes forth from a lot of blogs.

In that spirit, I plan on offering some resources, perhaps some tutorials, some tidbits that will hopefully make your life run more smoothly.

If you can, I recommend sticking around. I promise I'll do what I can to make it interesting.

Look forward to seeing you here :)