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We onboarded a new member of our team this week. They happened to be an internal promotion which, incidentally, is amazing because not only are they talented but they brought with them a ton of institutional knowledge that is a valuable add to us on the Solutions Team. That also means that the transition process is a little mixed-and-matched — some things they’ve had set up since they started working for the company but other things are brand new to them.

Among those in the latter category is an oft-used shell script that can hash company names from strings into…


Where I work, writing and testing Java can be tough. Beyond the fact that Java itself isn’t always the friendliest language, I’ve sort of accepted the fact that, most of the time, all of my code will be underlined because of missing modules and any attempt to run code locally will fail.

It’s tempting to ignore these issues, find workarounds, or even not test things locally before making a PR (it’s the same pattern of every other file…why would it fail?), and I’m guilty of all of these. Fortunately, I work with people who see problems and seek to fix…


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After facing gRPC last week, it was a real relief to see that I could actually connect to the API I was looking for in Python. As I continued to receive feedback about the integration, I could lean on that connection as a constant and go down other routes to debug. This week, I got one piece of feedback that had nothing to do with how I was connecting to the API, but instead how I was parsing data in Python:

Why is my text being cut off when I use the create function to add a new row to…


About a week ago, my manager posted an @channel in Slack asking someone to pick up a semi-urgent ticket. The result, of course, is a silent standoff where (I imagine) everyone on the team reads the message, holds their breath, and hopes someone else responds. I lasted for about 10 minutes…which means I ended up with the ticket.

It was a pretty standard request, albeit one that I didn’t have much experience with. But when I asked the person who did have experience, they pointed out that there was one unusual aspect in this case: we were being asked to…


Better than any actually relevant image

I was a bit busy with a home improvement project this weekend, so I’m taking an opportunity to live up to some standards that we should all aspire to:

  1. Take time to do important things that aren’t relevant to my career. There are some people, I’m told, who live to code. I am not one of those people, but it’s easy to get sucked up in work when we spend 40+ hours each week on it. Life and the people in it should come first (for me, anyway).
  2. Stick to my routine, even if I have to alter the standard…

Last week, I was assigned a unique ticket for a high priority client. The client uses HTML and CSS files that my company generates to add a checkbox element to their checkout if shoppers want to opt in to our services. What was unique about the ticket was that the client wanted us to customize the code to match their desired style, which included turning a standard HTML checkbox into a round toggle with a check mark inside the circle when it’s active:

The good news here is that because this was such an important client, I was given help…


I’ve been trying to build up the momentum to get started on a personal project recently, but it’s a challenge. There’s a lot that I’ve learned and forgotten, and the prospect of re-learning lessons while I struggle through a project on my own is…unappealing. Still, the benefits of practicing things like system architecture, database maintenance, and front end component design are huge for our professional growth. So this weekend I’m dipping my toes in the water a little bit by looking at something I don’t do often at work: React.

I started with a compilation video by Ben Awad, which…


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I’m a Solutions Engineer. And like many Solutions Engineers, it’s my aspiration to someday work as a Software Engineer. That’s one of the reasons I write this blog every week — because I have a lot to learn if I want to make it.

One piece of advice I’ve heard is that reading pull requests (PRs) is a great way to learn because you can see the code an engineer is writing and follow their thought process on how they solved a problem. I reviewed a PR this week that used a function I wasn’t familiar with: window.performance.mark. …


Loyal readers know that I have some pretty great coworkers. I came across a perfect example this week when I asked a coworker to explain what they were working on and they decided to take an hour to hold an information session for the whole team. I learned a lot so, in the interest of solidifying my understanding, I’ll be writing about one of the core concepts of an API: Controllers.

What is an API Controller?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. In other words, an API is a tool that helps services communicate with each other by the handling of requests. We send an…


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The title is a little misleading this week since…I haven’t actually learned what I want to know about encryption yet. This is extra unusual because I work with PGP as part of my job. When I get a request to set up file encryption for a client, I re-read documentation that I always have trouble following, try my best to make it work, usually fail to do that, and have to consult a more seasoned engineer. This is not an ideal workflow, so I’m spending some time this weekend trying to better understand the language and logic around encryption.

PGP vs GPG

These…

Mike Diaz

Solutions Engineer

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