Posted | mna.dev
My name is Martin Angers (that’s pronounced like the French city of the same name).
I go by
mna or some variation of it on most websites.
.dev craze cooled down in March 2019, I noticed that
mna.dev was still
available at a reasonable price, and decided that I’d make it my portfolio of
sorts, listing my open-source projects, blog posts and stuff.
I’ve been a professional software developer since the mid 90s, working mostly as a Go backend engineer since 2013. I work remotely as a freelancer based in Quebec City, Canada. If you’re interested in my services, you can contact me - I may be available for part-time contracts.
You can find some of my code on github, sourcehut, gitlab and bitbucket, I sometimes answer questions on stackoverflow and although I closed pretty much all my “social” accounts (such as facebook, instagram, snapchat and google+ but then so did you), I still use twitter from time to time (and more recently, mastodon). I like to read hacker news and lobsters though I rarely comment.
As mentioned earlier, I have been programming professionally since 1996, and for fun since I was a kid. I have learned (and forgotten) a wide variety of languages and technologies, including:
- BASIC (probably Color BASIC, as I had a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 way back then);
- C, which was the language used in my computer programming courses and that I still use and enjoy every once in a while in personal projects;
- Delphi (1.0), which I learned as an intern in 1995;
- PowerBuilder, which was used at my first professional job at DMR Consulting in 1996 (now Fujitsu) - I was even sent by the company to the PowerSoft Conference in Los Angeles, probably in 1998? This was also the language used when I moved to Paris for work in 1999, at Paribas (now BNP-Paribas).
- Oracle Forms (?!?!), which we used extensively on a big project in 2000, I believe, at a small consulting firm in Quebec (since acquired by CGI).
- Visual Basic 6, and then Visual Basic .NET and C# - the whole Microsoft / .NET ecosystem was (and still is) huge at the government and insurance companies in Quebec.
- Swift, which I used when I quit my job to start a (short-lived!) solo company to build and sell an app in the Mac App Store. This is a great language (well, it was around versions 3-4, haven’t used it much since), but I feel it suffers from the (necessary) backwards compatibility requirements with Objective-C and the Apple Frameworks.
- Go, which I started learning by reading the language spec for fun during a summer vacation (I believe Go 1.0 was just released a few months before), and that I still use extensively to this day - in addition to many of my most well-known open-source projects, it is also the language I use the most professionally, and the one I’m now most expert in.
- Lua, which I started exploring during the 2020 lockdown and have been using a lot for personal projects since.
I’m quite interested in programming languages in general (obsessed, some would say), and have played with many relatively unknown/alpha- and beta- stages languages such as Inko, Zig, Nit, Nim, etc. I even implemented my own toy programming language (now unmaintained), Agora.
My career can be roughly split in 3 parts:
- Consulting in Quebec City and Paris for DMR, Planaxis, Larochelle-Gratton and CGI, mostly big projects for large enterprises such as Visa, Paribas, government departments, Desjardins, etc. That was from 1996 to 2008.
- From 2008 to 2013, employed by government departments, first Revenu Québec then Régie de l’Assurance-Maladie du Québec in a lead software architect role.
- Since late 2013, working remotely (mostly as a freelancer, mostly for startups) for various companies around the world (USA, Switzerland, France, etc.).
As a freelancer, I’ve most notably worked with Splice to help build the backend for roughly 6 years (in 2 stints) - including in the very early days when the engineering team was very small -, multiple contracts with Kite over 4 years working on programming language parsers, and since mid-2021 with Fleet.
In addition to my professional work and my open-source projects (listed on this site), I also have various (sometimes closed-source) personal projects that were started either for fun, to learn or experiment with new technologies, to try to generate some revenue, or a mix of all this:
Provok.in, a website where users could argue over a subject by linking articles or blog posts to prove their point, and vote for some point of view. It never took off but it was built with a very early version of Angular and I received a T-Shirt from them as my website was posted on their “made with Angular” website that was quite scarce at the time. According to the web archive, this was in 2012, so probably with a pre-1.0 or a newly released 1.0 of Angular. If I remember correctly, the backend was in Node.
0value.com, my previous blogging website, custom-built using trofaf, a very straightforward Go command I implemented to generate a static website from markdown files. It is still live and my posts there are linked from this website.
Harfang Apps, a solo company I started, selling a Redis GUI app for Mac via the Mac App Store. The accompanying website is accessible via the web archive and was generated using Hugo and Bulma. The app itself was a native cocoa app built in Swift with Xcode. It was a great learning experience, not only for the Swift programming language and the native Mac frameworks, but also for the huge amount of work required to bootstrap a company, marketing, legal aspects, app store requirements, etc. I took a year off to work on this, from implementation to launch and a few sales - too little to keep going, sadly - mainly in 2017.
Fiends.io, a search engine for heavy metal reviews launched in early 2021, scratching a similar itch as the previously mentioned Horns of the Devil website. This is implemented following the architecture and development philosophy outlined in my Small is Beautiful blog post. I shut it down in mid-2022 as I did not use it much anymore and it did not see a lot of traffic.
My significant other and I have two wonderful
kids teenagers, a boy and a
girl. We also have two
cats, which you may
see from time to time on my Twitter feed or on some of my profile pictures
(though usually this is feu Gribouille, who died in 2018).
I spend a good amount of “hobby” time on programming or computer-related stuff (see open-source and personal projects), but outside of programming and family life, I enjoy a few hobbies:
Listening to music - I’m a metalhead and have been since my teen years, maybe even before if you count Kiss and 80s “hair metal” as… well, as metal. I can enjoy pretty much any subgenre, but death and thrash metal is what I listen to the most. Outside metal, I’m also a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and I listen to various rock, folk and americana artists. Thanks to my kids I also listen to a fair share of contemporary pop and rap music.
Making music - I play decent guitar and used to play drums, although I haven’t played in years (I sold my drum in 2017). I have two accoustic guitars and two electric ones (including a black B.C. Rich Warlock), and an old Korg keyboard. I have an audio interface and a Shure mic, and sometimes record stuff on GarageBand, there’s a world of fun with that.
Writing - I enjoy poetry and some years ago I wrote a lot of it (in french), and had two poems published.
Reading - I spend a lot of my reading time on technical articles and other programming-related documentation, but I also enjoy reading novels and history books. Nancy Huston’s “Lignes de faille” (Fault lines) and Mathias Enard’s “Zone” are among my favorite ones.