Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Weblog | 0 comments

Sacramento isn’t well-known for its software development community. But ever since moving into the region, I’ve been surprised to know that there’s a scene with plenty of activity.

Take Hacker Lab, for instance. This co-working space and non-profit recently opened in the Midtown district — just 5 blocks from the Blue Line 12th & I Station — and is hosting all sorts of developer events. I attended its Mobile App Developer panel recently, featuring engineers and managers from all sorts of backgrounds. One panelist has even overseen development of Adobe Photoshop; and another recently dropped out of university to forge ahead in the startup world! I’ve included my tweets from the event below, which includes recommendations from the panelists on what to focus on.

And, in conversation with Hacker Lab’s co-founder Eric Ullrich, upwards of 60+ developers congregate at a time for their numerous hack-a-thons. There have already been “app jams” and weekend contests to create games from scratch with the Games Development Meetup Group. This energy is precisely what he hopes to centralize and harness, and legitimize Sacramento as a place where techies can thrive.

The main take-away from the night: PhoneGap (through Apache Cordova), HTML5, and Javascript technologies culminate into solid, monetizable applications. Despite concerns over performance, there are ways to mitigate them through tools like FastButton and through proper Javascript coding techniques (single-page app development is gaining steam, for instance, meaning that page reloads won’t be necessary). A few of them seemed to dislike Appcelerator Titanium as a platform, particularly for Android development.


I came away from this week’s Hacker Lab events energized and happy to be in a city where so many good things converge — Yelp-worthy food, smart people, bicycle lanes, & light rail.


  • Chris Minnick, Minnick LLC, and author of Webkit for Dummies
  • Joseph Burchett, 5th Planet Games and organizer of the Sacramento Game Developer meetup
  • Thomas Amsler, Consultant and Organizer of the Sacramento Google Developer Group
  • Mark Miro, Software Engineer at Ask Ziggy
  • Christopher Haupt, CTO at GreenStack Inc.


Twitter event transcript

Tue, 29 January 2013

  • 7:42pm @retrogamer4ever & @chaupt @SacHackerLab highly recommends for credit card transactions securely even w\ Javascript.
  • 7:21pm @SacHackerLab is starting a CodeAcademy meet-up group in February, meeting up 90 minutes per session to go over coding examples.
  • 7:19pm @chaupt @SacHackerLab recommends Peepcode screencasts, jQuery: the Missing Manual, and Javascript: The Good Parts.
  • 6:57pm RT @StanfordBiz: The U.S. spends $300 billion in pharmaceuticals and $2.7 trillion in healthcare every year. #EscapeFire
  • 6:57pm @retrogamer4ever @SacHackerLab: Cookies not stored with bookmarked web app, so users forced to re-login. His solution: using LocalStorage.
  • 6:55pm @retrogamer4ever @SacHackerLab: AngularJS great for enterprise-y bindings& components, w\ dynamic data, embraces MVC, adheres to standards.
  • 6:54pm Thomas Ansler @SacHackerLab: FastButton solves the mobile button lag “bug” so that your UI is more responsive.
  • 6:51pm Mark Miro @SacHackerLab: iOS has 2 JS engines, one for Safari & one for other apps, and the latter is a lot slower. Bad for PhoneGap. :-(
  • 6:49pm @retrogamer4ever @SacHackerLab: Modernizr framework checks for almost every type of feature on all the different phones.
  • 6:45pm @retrogramer4ever at @SacHackerLab: a lot of responsive issues in the mobile space can be solved by exjs (is that right?) and jQuery Mobile.
  • 6:33pm @SacHackerLab in Midtown hosts a mobile app development panel, complete with delicious pizza, with experienced devs!