(over 3 years ago)

Nathan Rajlich Is a Zeiter

Guillermo Rauch (@rauchg)
Nathan Rajlich (@tootallnate)

It is my pleasure to announce another Zeiter! This time it's Nathan Rajlich, creator of node-gyp and core Node.js committer. Nathan and I have been working together since the LearnBoost & Cloudup days, and he was also a part of the WordPress.com acquisition. To help you get to know him, I put together an informal interview. Feel free to reach out on our Slack community if you want to know more!

What's your name / nicknames on the internet?

My name is Nathan Rajlich, but I'm pretty much always found online using the alias @tootallnate (that's Too Tall Nate 😉), but also sometimes simply nate or even n8.

Where do you live? What do you love about it?

I currently spend my nights in San Rafael, California.

It's perhaps the first qualified "city" north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, located in Marin County, and known for its beautiful trees and awesome mountain biking. Plus, it's also only a 15 minute drive to the beach!

I was lucky enough to have my parents decide to move to the Bay Area when I was only three weeks old. I love the fact that the Bay Area is a tech wonderland with such a rich history. Growing up in this region has given me a life-long passion for technology.

Tell us about some past projects and hacks you're proud of

Probably just all my Node.js modules that are already on GitHub. According to npm, I have over 300 of them!

In particular, I've been known as "the native module guy" in the Node.js community for a while because I originally wrote the node-gyp tool and have a range of native modules that bind to various C libraries.

If I had to pick a favorite module it would be be node-ffi, which allows you to bind to C libraries in Node.js without writing any C++ binding code. So meta.

What are your favorite apps / websites?

GitHub is probably my most frequently used web app, which I think naturally makes git my favorite program. As a developer, my code is the main content on the computer that I care about. Storing your code in the cloud gives me a sense of relief because if something happens to my computer then at least my code will be safe. This makes computer migration especially easy as well; even my dotfiles are in a git repository!

vim takes a close second in my book, mainly because it's everywhere, so even when SSH'd into remote servers you can still feel at home in the text editor. I've also never experienced muscle memory development for any other program like vim before. If you were to ask me how to perform a task in vim, for instance, I wouldn't know how unless I had the keyboard in front of me so I can "feel it out". It's kind of neat, I think.

What do you love most about ZEIT?

To me, Vercel is all about breaking the typical conventions of development, and replacing it with something completely mind-blowing.

For example, our flagship product reverses the code deployment paradigm. Before this tool, you would typically develop an application locally and then deploy to the cloud when it was ready, which makes sharing with co-workers difficult and deployment to production a mystery (will my code work the same as locally, or even at all?).

With now, you deploy as you develop, where incremental changes can be accessed through a unique deployment URL. These ephemeral deployments make sharing, testing and rolling back deployments easier than any other platform that I know of.

I feel very fortunate to be a part of this mission going forward! 🚢