Jessica Marcus

I’ve returned to web development after a decade away, and I’ve been ridiculously excited to discover how much the technology and tools have grown and matured in the meantime! Front end development provides such a broad slate of possibilities for providing solutions for so many different problems, and I love developing applications to help make people’s daily lives run more smoothly and with less stress, no matter how large or small that solution may be. Designing for data and people (rather than devices) is something I’m keenly interested in, and I’m psyched about the the vast-and-growing ecosystem of HTML5 APIs—especially when it comes to mobile devices and their ever-multiplying sensors. Web development is teeming with potential and possibility, and I am thrilled to be learning and creating within it.

Recent projects

Video Bleep: Bleepout

A public art project for First Night Boston 2015 and in conjunction with Figment Boston, Bleepout is the Video Bleep collective’s re-imagining of the classic arcade game Breakout. Presented in 3D on our immersive video dome on Boston Common, a visitor can join the game using nothing more than their smartphone’s web browser. We use Node.js and the HTML5 DeviceOrientation API to translate phone movement into control of game objects projected onto the 30’ dome. I was responsible for much of the client (smartphone) UI development and implementation.

Ortus Regni/Creosphere: “Learn to Play” web app

I was asked to build out a small “learn to play” page—optimized for iPad viewing—for a new card game due for release in the following week or two, as a subcontractor to Creosphere. I went a step further and demonstrated a responsive prototype to the client, who became enthusiastic about having his project accessible to a broader range of users than he had first considered. I delivered a fully-responsive single-page site, using Bootstrap as a framework to speed the process and while fielding many last-minute content additions (as any product approaching launch would have!).

Illuminus Boston: festival website, admin interface

Public art has been on the upswing in Boston, and I was excited to get involved with a new arts festival dedicated to projection, video, and light art: Illuminus, which took place the night of October 25th, 2014. As part of the website, the organizers wanted to be able to add and edit information about the exhibiting artists themselves. In addition to designing and building the static site and by using Backbone.js, Express, Node.js, Mongoose, and MongoDB, I built an application and RESTful API to allow an administrative user to add and edit artists’ information to a database, which would then be presented to the public as a gallery. The festival itself was very well-received by the public and during the event, thousands of mobile users took advantage of the website.

Other work

Jive Boston: website and cocktail search

From 2012 to 2014, I helped put on a popular monthly electroswing event in Boston. I also redesigned and rebuilt the website, and worked closely with one of my senior developer mentors to create my first application: Jive’s Cocktail Search. One of our resident DJs was Brother Cleve—known as “Boston's godfather of craft cocktails”—and as a result we had an excellent cocktail program. Many of our patrons would request recipes after an event, so I wanted to create an application that not only would easily answer those requests, but also serve as a useful tool for anyone wishing to make craft cocktails at home. Powered by JavaScript and jQuery, a user can discover cocktails by searching with a variety of criteria, from spirit to “shaken or stirred?”.

Personal project: bus predictor

Something that really struck me when I dove back into development was the fact that there is so much data being shared, openly accessible to anyone who would like to use it. And about a year ago, I moved to Somerville and now have two bus routes available that will take me to Sullivan Station via Broadway; because of my location, I don't really care which route is assigned to a given bus—I just want to know when the next bus is going to show up! Finding out that the GPS data of many transit agencies in North America is handled by one company (NextBus) and available as XML data, I decided to build an application that will allow a user to view real-time bus predictions for multiple routes and transit systems, all on one screen. This project is still in progress, and is being built in Backbone.js; you can see how it’s coming along on GitHub.

Skills and knowledge

Relevant:

JavaScript, responsive web development, web applications, a11y, CSS/Sass, Angular, Node.js.

Less relevant:

Stone-setting, platinum fabrication, fire breathing, snowboarding, meditation.