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Q&A with Dave Rupert

Lead developer at Paravel, Austin

My name is Dave Rupert and I’m the lead developer at Paravel, a three-man web design based in shop in Austin, TX. I’m also co-host with Chris Coyier on Shop Talk Show, a sound effects podcast that also covers Web Design and UX. Paravel is also working on an app called DayTrip.

How did you get started in development, what is your background?

I started making websites when I was 15 years old (that was in 1995). I made lots of sites as a hobbyist and cut my teeth running a blog and forum for my friends in my spare time. After college I taught English in Japan for three years. When I got back in ~2006 I started making websites professionally.

My first job was for a real estate company that burst in the bubble. Shortly after thatTrent Walton, Reagan Ray and I formed Paravel. We made everything from small one page brochure sites to complete custom CSMes for clients.

Where did you learn coding? Looking back, would you recommend your path for beginners?

I’m entirely self-taught. I did take some Computer Science courses in college but only learned Pascal and Haskell. Other than the ability to read and understand code, that didn’t translate much. Being self-taught has it’s ups-and-downs. It’s rewarding but you piecemeal together all the basics.

If I was just starting out today, I’d probably enroll in a hack school to learn how to code. I’m okay at teaching myself but it takes about 30x longer that way. If school is too expensive, I’d sign up for a Online Course (Treehouse, Code School, etc) and have my friends and family hold me accountable for that being my actual job.

What are the books and weblogs helped you to improve your professional skills?

“Designing with Web Standards” by Jeffery Zeldman changed my life. It opened my eyes to the idea that I could have a career in Web Design and could care too much about crafting websites. Any book by Dan Cedarholm was influential. Of course CSS-Tricks has proved invaluable over the years as well.

What front-end technologies and tools do you use for your work?

I’m using quite a few different frameworks and tools from day-to-day. They break up in about 3 different areas:

  • Jekyll/Gulp/Sass/Browser Sync/Pattern Labs for Prototyping
  • Ionic/Cordova/Angular/Sass for Mobile App Development
  • Rails/Sass for App Development on DayTrip

There’s probably even a few more I forgot to mention. I recently switched over to Windows so I’m exploring that world as well. It’s different but I’m enjoying it.

Who are the developers, colleagues in Austin or outside you admire most?

There are too many to name! Everyone in Austin (especially: ATX Built, Refresh Austin, Austin JavaScript, Caf? Bedouins) inspires me regularly to keep making cool stuff. On Shoptalk, Chris and I have had over 130 guests and each one has impressed me. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to talk to so many smart and admirable people over the years.