Kevin Bloch

Kevin Bloch

Bern, Switzerland
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Kevin Bloch

Kevin Bloch

Bern, Switzerland
Member since December 20, 2016
PostgreSQL, JavaScript, Perl, and Haxe are among Kevin's specialties, but he has worked with many programming technologies since his interest began during grade school. The bulk of his career has been as a lead desktop and full-stack developer, but his favorite areas of focus are project management, back-end technologies, and game development. He works diligently alone, but also loves being part of a team.
Kevin is now available for hire
Portfolio
  • Toptal
    Google Docs, Kramdown, Trello, Slack, LaTeX
  • Mllnnl
    Node.js, PostgreSQL, TypeScript, ReactiveX, JavaScript, Mocha, Chai, PostGIS...
  • In the Beginning was the Word Game
    Haxe, HaxeFlixel, Haxelib, FlashDevelop, Windows, OS X, Linux, Gimp, Blender...
Experience
  • JavaScript, 20 years
  • Perl, 15 years
  • SQL, 13 years
  • PostgreSQL, 11 years
  • Regex, 9 years
  • Git, 3 years
  • HaXe, 1 year
  • HaxeFlixel, 1 year
Bern, Switzerland
Availability
Part-time
Preferred Environment
VSCode, Linux, Git
The most amazing...
...web stack I've written generated a foreign-key-aware UI for any table, on the fly, from a Postgres DB schema. The back-end audited each table automatically.
Employment
  • Technical Editor (Publications Team)
    Toptal
    2017 - PRESENT
    • Wrote, formatted, edited, and published blog articles, anonymous guides, and other site content.
    • Prepared and sent newsletters.
    • Recruited and coordinated with authors.
    • Brainstormed and coordinated with the design team for illustrations.
    • Applied SEO research to articles.
    • Helped execute social media outreach plans.
    Technologies: Google Docs, Kramdown, Trello, Slack, LaTeX
  • Senior Back-end Developer - Node.js
    Mllnnl
    2017 - PRESENT
    • Maintained, extended, and scaled the back-end.
    • Managed DevOps processes.
    • Did code reviews.
    • Coordinated with front-end developers.
    • Implemented the back-end test suite.
    Technologies: Node.js, PostgreSQL, TypeScript, ReactiveX, JavaScript, Mocha, Chai, PostGIS, Apiary.io, AWS RDS, OpenShift v2
  • Indie Developer
    In the Beginning was the Word Game
    2015 - 2016
    • Created two very basic Android apps.
    • Built two games for Ludum Dare game jams (i.e., very rapid development).
    • Designed, developed, blogged and tweeted about, directed, tested, published, and promoted a commercial video game while contributing bug and feature patches back to the open source technologies being used.
    • Open-sourced my own library, FlxScrollableArea.
    Technologies: Haxe, HaxeFlixel, Haxelib, FlashDevelop, Windows, OS X, Linux, Gimp, Blender, Audacity, Godot-engine, Shotcut, Inkscape
  • Linux Server Administrator/Automation Developer
    Stepping Stone GmbH
    2015 - 2015
    • Provisioned KVM server (Linux and Windows) for various client projects, each involving setting up servers from cloned VMs, updating the internal wiki, configuring Zabbix host monitoring, and customizing Iptables-based firewall scripts. Some projects also involved database and application back-end setup, creating simplified/prettified documentation for clients, and VM template maintenance.
    • Provisioned web hosting, mail accounts, backup accounts, and ownCloud servers – set up and administered when requested by various clients.
    • Helped install new RAID drives in rack servers and remove old ones.
    • Automated DNS settings and firewall change for 200+ servers by writing bash scripts to extract server data from MediaWiki pages and to automate execution of DNS and firewall update scripts on every running Linux-based physical server, vServer, and KVM server.
    • Optimized maintenance window notifiers and developed features – optimized and extended a Perl script using data from LDAP for exporting and for sending scheduled reminder emails.
    • Helped prepare for colocation migration by taking physical inventory of rack servers and switches and updating firmware on newly purchased switches as well as provisioning a web server from ancient hardware to display a message during migration.
    • Helped with physical colocation migration by uninstalling rack hardware, moving it, organizing it for most efficient reinstall, reinstalling it, and reconnecting cables.
    Technologies: KVM, QEMU, Centos7, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Windows Server 2012 R2, NFS, GlusterFS, LDAP, PhpLDAPadmin, DNS, Alfresco, SugarCRM, MediaWiki templates, MediaWiki SSH, Spiceworks, SVN, GitHub, Terminal, Vi, Bash, Iptables, OwnCloud, Remote Desktop, Libre Office
  • Project Manager and Full-stack Software Engineer
    Brant Aero
    1996 - 2015
    • Added a number of features, including a drag-n-drop image uploader, a "pending" feature for group request submissions, a history search feature with full text indexing and fuzzy text search for stock items, Facebook-style homepage notifications, and more, to a purchase request system.
    • Created a government extranet for inspectors to approve policy manual revisions.
    • Enabled cache support for hangar floor parts, requiring fewer trips to the stockroom while maintaining government traceability requirements and supply-level monitoring.
    • Fixed, cleaned up, and provided data recovery and performance tuning for ad-hoc databases. Generated a network attack tracker graph that automatically imports data from the router.
    • Implemented several features, including a document hierarchy editor with drag-n-drop added to the CMS, a third-party issue tracker solution hosted with Docker, and cronjobs to help catch vendor errors and notify the relevant manager using an integrated permissions hierarchy.
    • Made the core functionality of an intranet app robust against outages of the main third-party system.
    • Ported PartTake from VB to Mod_perl, including barcode and address printing (with provisions for just-in-time auto-switching printers on Windows via URL scheme and rundll32 workaround).
    • Staged a build system with unit testing, minification, performance testing, and integration testing with integrated QA.
    • Upgraded a backup system to cross-platform multi-server usage.
    • Added a website section powered by third-party bulletin board software and created an automatic image renaming and uploading tool for personal project management.
    • Built a power outage tracker graph that automatically imports data from UPS. Added authenticated inspection tracking to the alternative UI for shop order updates.
    • Created a couple of backup systems, including a solution for HyperV environment and a backup, verification, and restore solution to replace the old tapes-based system.
    • Designed, wrote, and maintained the PartTake software system to streamline stockroom processes while meeting strict government traceability requirements and working with the exisitng inventory system and its timeclock, tool tracking, and purchase ordering integrations. Shipped with barcode and address label printers drawing relevant data from the existing system and configured the GUI tool.
    • Enabled vendor purchase email templating for the purchase request system.
    • Implemented honors-system workstation sharing, allowing different logins on separate tabs without confusing credentials (see http://stackoverflow.com/a/1133999/16777 – sometimes the rather unique business environment involved required unorthodox solutions).
    • Oversaw and helped with the data migration of an accounting, inventory, and shop order system from DOS to SQL/Windows.
    • Prototyped a new intranet menu system called DialAKneeThing (DaKT), an open-source single-page application in minimal JavaScript/CSS for presenting basic menu hierarchies on low-end hardware.
    • Redesigned a number of websites, including a website and corresponding script to automatically update local pilot weather information, and vectorized its company logo; a website and wrote/edited material for the Save the Airport local political campaign; a website to be fast-loading and able to fit on a floppy disk; a website to feature a new aircraft sales section; a website with dynamic content and search functionality; and a website with featured past projects and auto-updated weather map overlayed onto the company's precise location.
    • Wrote and implemented IT policy and analyzed and made improvements to the year-end processes as well as researched, revised, and helped implement, organize, and conduct the company process audit.
    • Built an NS- and IE-compatible website and corresponding Windows GUI page-text updater utility.
    • Created marketing materials to sell PartTake to other users of our third-party niche industry integrated accounting system.
    • Developed a custom CMS--from scratch--automatically following government regulation updates, notifying only the relevant internal parties of the relevant internal documents (and their internal dependencies) that would need review. All regulatory links were kept in consistent auto-updated format, and review and audit policies were enforced by database triggers.
    • Evaluated Andromeda as a potential platform to base the rest of the intranet app on.
    • Implemented the UI for a SQL backup manager. Rewrote an intranet app with commonly used SQL reports from scratch to speed it up and cover functionality gaps.
    • Migrated a domain from Windows 2003 AD to Samba 4.
    • Oversaw the migration of a server and workstation system from Novell Netware to Windows 2000 AD.
    • Refactored shop order workflow to streamline usage, testing, and maintenance; integrated a fast menu UI library (both keyboard and touchscreen friendly).
    • Built database development tools: a PostgreSQL function body searcher for global renames, a GraphViz-based foreign key map generator, and more.
    • Created server health metrics via statistical process control graphs and output comparison, with email notification.
    • Developed a smart-sorting table view UI so that part numbers end up being sorted as they traditionally were physically, even in more complicated number-letter-number-etc. scenarios.
    • Expanded the shop order UI to cover more features than offered by the third-party system, and added project wrap-up verification tools to avoid peak activity errors.
    • Integrated government-supplied aircraft registration databases for easy client info updates.
    • Migrated a purchase request system from paper to email, and then later from email to database, integrated with the existing intranet app. Wrote a VB5 utility to speed up the process of scanning old documents into the new paperless system.
    • Built the Dogfooded task/project management feature integrated with an intranet app.
    • Created Widgetissimo, an initially jQuery-based plugin side project for UX improvement with form autosave and keyboardability focus.
    • Developed an alternative UI for shop order updates for user convenience/workflow speed, including time tracker UI replacement, with RTF to HTML (and back) conversion, and HTML editor UI (cross-database).
    • Integrated a timed training bulletin system with a CMS to force a re-read of updated sections at a manager-specified interval.
    • Migrated a major accounting system version, including all required changes, to homegrown add-ons.
    • Developed disaster recovery for SQL and filesystem data from a HyperV environment.
    • Integrated a website with Blogger.com to allow a stockroom manager to update the special offers page herself.
    • Researched, built, set up, and administered a new Linux server and dial-up connection sharing. Migrated the intranet app and scheduled scripts from Windows to Linux.
    • Developed draggable sort-preserved multiselect for quick composition of complex selections for a purchasing request system (close emulation of Windows Explorer's behavior for easiest user learning curve).
    • Integrated an avionics storage bin tracking and replacing paper system with the project management UI and vendor database.
    • Mitigated potential disaster using commit hooks integrated with paper procedures to keep a plan for dealing effectively with IT service outages up to date. Wrote an intro paper telling how to access multiple automatic backups of electronic documentation.
    • Researched, designed, and implemented autogenerated database views from a smart normalized database design with integrated benchmarking. The database features manager, employee, and personalized database views (where applicable) with auto-generated UI and tables that automatically link to the editing page for each row and the editing page for any referenced foreign key in the row. The editing pages saves partially filled-out forms to pre-emptively protect against data loss in the case of client, server, or connection problems.
    • Developed full text search indexing for a third-party app via smart synchronization for vast speed improvements on zero budget.
    • Integrated company role hierarchy with the CMS for training so that document updates trigger a notification to exactly the right employee to read changes; an automatic org chart generator is based on this data to fulfill a requirement for maintaining the policy manual.
    • Integrated Selenium IDE into the QA process for most common tasks to prevent regressions.
    Technologies: Win/Linux, Bash, Apache, Perl, Mod-perl2, Object-oriented Perl, Regex, JS, VB5, VBScript, MS SQL, Postgres, PL/pgSQL, PgTap, SVN, Mercurial, Selenium, Centos, RSnapshot, SSH, CygWin64, Docbook 5, XSLT
  • National Operations and Accounts Administrator
    Global Youth Volunteer Network
    2011 - 2012
    • Migrated a website to a new provider and content to WordPress.
    • Maintained and extended a web-based accounting system – home-grown and undocumented (PHP, MySQL).
    • Migrated core data to CiviCRM.
    Technologies: MySQL, PHP, Python, Mac, CiviCRM, WordPress, Windows
  • Intern
    Storeimage
    2002 - 2002
    • Rebuilt Windows workstations, wrote technical documentation and procedures, organized documents and spare hardware, troubleshot Windows desktop and server issues, and managed desktop virus scanner updates.
    • Reorganized 200 network cables' worth of spaghetti after hours to avoid service disruption.
    • Wrote a simple info service generator in PHP on my last day.
    Technologies: Windows, Linux, Mac, HTML, PHP
Experience
  • Willy and Mathilda's Houseboat Adventure: The Game (Win/Mac/Linux) (Development)
    https://ibwwg.itch.io/mathildagame

    Wrote all code (Haxe, plus helper scripts in CMD and Bash), processed audio and art, directed voice recordings, and tested, published, and marketed the game.

  • PartTake (Streamlined Stockroom Process) (Development)
    http://xmail.net/kjf/parttake/

    PartTake is a small, zero-learning-curve, yet very handy open-stockroom program for companies that use Horizon Business Concepts' TotalFBO® (versions 4, 5, or 6).

    Wrote in 2004 (in VB5) and maintained it until 2014, when I ported it to be part of Brant Aero's main intranet app, in Perl/HTML/JS/CSS.

  • CheaterMind (HTML5 game with AI; JS, CSS, Svelte) (Development)
    https://github.com/IBwWG/cheatermind

    A MasterMind clone I developed more or less from scratch, with AI that guarantees the player is always as unlucky as possible.

    (MasterMind is an old board game where you are trying to guess a code sequence. Each guess is met with partial feedback, helping the player deduce the code.)

  • Codility Silver Award for the Vanadium 2016 Challenge (Other amazing things)
  • Very Responsive Single-Page Application Prototype (Development)
    https://github.com/KevinField/DaKT

    DialAKneeThing is a lightning-fast, exploration-based hierarchy viewer, meant to scale from personal bookmarks all the way up to a replacement for large corporate websites' nav pages/site maps.

    Initial code and idea author. JavaScript/CSS.

  • Mentoring Programmers on Codementor (Other amazing things)
    https://www.codementor.io/kev/reviews

    It's been my privilege to put my decades of experience to use mentoring other programmers on this platform.

  • JavaScript L-System Interpreter (Development)
    http://xmail.net/kjf/pmath370/

    An L-System Interpreter written in JavaScript and making use of the then-new HTML5 Canvas technology.

    Sole author. Unmaintained since inception, but still works as of 2015.

  • Video Game Modding Framework (Development)
    https://bitbucket.org/kevin_field/word-realms-mods

    An unofficial, cross-platform interface for creating and installing mods for the game Word Realms by Asymmetric Publications.

    Wrote it (in Bash) and maintained it so far.

  • TDD Practice Projects (Development)
    https://github.com/KevinField/node-js-getting-started

    YoseTheGame.com TDD practice projects.

    Forked basic Node.js server, then developed several mini-projects using TDD.

  • Scrollbar Library for HaxeFlixel (Development)
    https://github.com/IBwWG/FlxScrollableArea

    Provides traditional visual scroll bars within the HaxeFlixel engine.

    I'm the sole author at this point.

  • ActionScript3 Bytecode Hacks (Development)
    https://bitbucket.org/kevin_field/profile/repositories?language=actionscript

    Three mods for the game Word Realms by Asymmetric, with whom I am not associated in any way.

    (Not all of the Bytecode shown in the source is my work--it's what the patched result looks like afterwards. But the hacks themselves I did without help.)

  • 52-Card Pickup 2000 (Win/Mac/Linux, 3D, Open Source) (Development)
    https://github.com/IBwWG/52cp2k

    Jokingly paying homage to the classic trivia game "You Don't Know Jack," for Ludum Dare 37, I made this cross-platform 3D game in a single weekend using the Godot Engine and GDScript, which I had never used before, and released the source online.

  • Need Inspiration - Basic Android App (Development)
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blogspot.gimmickyapps.needinspiration

    It pairs random words (either a noun with an adjective, in "make" mode, or an verb with an adverb, in "do" mode) and presents them to you as a phrase.

    I'm the sole author.

  • Anticolonias (HTML5, Flash) (Development)
    http://ludumdare.com/compo/minild-69/?action=preview&uid=67231

    Wrote the game in Haxe over the course of a few days, for Ludum Dare mini-jam #69. Has way too much strategic and story depth for a jam game, but I got it done. Art is procedurally generated.

  • Video Game Translation Framework (Development)
    https://bitbucket.org/kevin_field/wr-trans

    How to use Word Realms to help learn another language: an unofficial guide with helper scripts written in cross-platform Bash and Perl.

    Wrote it and maintained it so far. Used it to create mods for word-realms-mods so that interested users have prepackaged translations and don't actually need to use this tool.

  • App Launcher for Alternative OS (Development)
    https://github.com/KevinField/BeFull

    Full-screen app launcher I made in C++ for BeOS. Still worked on Haiku (the open source replacement for BeOS) as of 2014.

  • How to Avoid the Curse of Premature Optimization (Publication)
    Premature optimization hurts experts and novices alike. How can you know when and how to optimize without shooting your project in the foot? This week, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Kevin Bloch walks project managers through some time-tested optimization strategies and when to use them.
  • Code Optimization: The Optimal Way to Optimize (Publication)
    Optimization sounds ideal. Ironically, the very aspect of our code we are trying to optimize can be sabotaged by this process, taking out innocent bystanders along the way. Is it a perfectionists' goldmine...or minefield? In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Kevin Bloch offers a more balanced approach to the art and science of optimization.
Skills
  • Languages
    HaXe, HTML5, Perl, JavaScript, SQL, PL/pgSQL, CSS3, REBOL, T-SQL, TypeScript, Visual Basic, Bash Script, Regex, C/C++, CoffeeScript, XML/XSLT, C, Java, PHP, Objective-C, Ruby, Sass, ActionScript
  • Frameworks
    Mithril, pgTAP, Svelte, FeathersJS, Mocha.js, Express.js, Bootstrap, Windows PowerShell, Ember.js, Ruby on Rails (RoR), AngularJS
  • Libraries/APIs
    Mod_perl, Node.js, REST API, HTML5 APIs, Pure CSS, ReactiveX, ImageMagick, jQuery, Backbone.js, OpenFL
  • Tools
    Cygwin, Mercurial (Hg), GitHub, Audacity, Inkscape, Bitbucket, pgAdmin, Markdown, Hyper-V, phpMyAdmin, Postman, Git, Microsoft Office, Vagrant, Gimp, LibreOffice, KVM/Qemu, AWS RDS, LaTeX, Blender, MediaWiki
  • Paradigms
    Test-driven Development (TDD), Behavior-driven Development (BDD), Samba, Testing
  • Platforms
    Linux, CentOS, Windows, HaxeFlixel, LAMP, Visual Studio Code, BeOS, Docker, Godot, RedHat OpenShift, CiviCRM, iOS
  • Storage
    SQL Server Management Studio, JSON, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, PostGIS, MySQL, MongoDB
  • Misc
    Linux Mint, Documentation, Selenium IDE, Full-stack Development, Full-stack Design, Front-end, Back-end, Data Extraction, Proofreading, Apache mod_rewrite, Full-stack, RSync, AS3 Bytecode, Statistical Quality Control (SQC), HTTPS, LDAP, Objects, DevOps
Education
  • Bachelor's degree in Mathematics
    University of Waterloo - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    2005 - 2008
  • Progress towards a Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons) in Global Studies and Mathematics (Minor subjects: Computer Science, Philosophy, Religion and Culture)
    Wilfrid Laurier University - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    2003 - 2005
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