Adam Michael Wood

About Adam

Adam is a technical writer who specializes in developer documentation and tutorials. In addition to his writing here, he has authored engineering guides at Facebook and worked at other tech companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Before becoming a full time writer, he managed software development — designing and deploying cloud-based applications that connected legacy industry systems to the modern web. Prior to that, he was a web designer and WordPress developer.

Adam can code in Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and Bash — but he only really likes one of those languages. He also knows HTML inside and out, but would rather write in Markdown.

Getting to Know Adam

WIHT: How did you get into technology and web development?
AMW: Reluctantly. My dad is an engineer. He tried to get me to learn a little programming as a kid, but it didn’t take. My interests were music and theater, and that’s what I went to college for. A few years after school, unemployed and a little desperate, I got into sales. Sales led to marketing. Marketing led to an interest in social media (very new at the time) and web design. I tried hard to do WYSIWYG design and no-coding-needed design, but I kept hitting their limits. So I had to start learning — first HTML, then CSS, a little JavaScript, just enough PHP. I tried Ruby (because Rails is cool), but Python turned me into a programmer.

WIHT: Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?
AMW: If I lived up to my own ideals, I would use GNU/Linux. For a lot of practical purposes, I use a Mac and run Ubuntu on a Virtual Machine when I need it. I do most of my work in tools where platform doesn’t matter — a code editor, a web browser, a Bash terminal. I don’t use Windows if I can help it, but mostly because most of my preferred tools assume a Unix-like environment.

WIHT: Do you own any websites?
AMW: Yes, but I neglect them too much. I have a personal blog, which I also use to keep my online portfolio and resume. I have a blog focused on tech writing, which I should really add to. I have one on church music and liturgy, another one on church music and liturgy, and finally one on theology. My personal blog was my attempt to consolidate my different online presences, but I continue to be ambivalent about whether or not all my interests really belong on the same website.

WIHT: What hosting companies have you used?
AMW: When I got started in web development, Bluehost had the most popular WordPress-focused shared hosting plan. I’ve had Bluehost accounts forever, and have never had a bad experience with them. (Also, I think they have great customer service.) A few years ago I realized that keeping domain names with my hosting company wasn’t the best idea, so now my (too many) domain names are mostly registered with NameSilo. I’ve experimented with several other consumer-grade hosting companies, or worked with them for client projects, so I can say that I also like Digital Ocean, HostGator, and SiteGround. If I was still doing heavy-duty WordPress development, I would be using Pantheon or WPEngine. More recently, I’ve switched to building static sites with Jekyll or Nikola, and hosting them for free with GitHub.

WIHT: How’d you get into technical writing?
AMW: I had a pretty normal 9-5(ish) job managing software development in Texas. But then we moved to California so my wife could go to seminary. She takes classes during the day, and we have two kids — so I needed something that was more flexible. I started writing for WhoIsHostingThis and discovered that writing about technology was a thing that people did for a living. (Amazing!) For almost two years I wrote exclusively for WhoIsHostingThis, and have since branched out to write for other websites as well as tech companies here in the Bay Area.

WIHT: Are you working on any cool projects?
AMW: I am building a Python framework for music theory, notation, and analysis. The basic idea is to build up primitive musical concepts in a Pythonic way so that you can treat them intelligently as numbers, text, or parsable code. That would (in theory) let you do things like musical analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing. (It’s… early still.)

WIHT: Favorite code editor?
AMW: Atom.

WIHT: Star Trek or Star Wars?
AMW: Babylon 5. But also Star Trek.

 

Favorite Books

Selected WhoIsHostingThis Writing

Adam writes a lot of articles about a lot of things, but he specializes in long-form deep-dives into web technology, and on older languages that don’t get enough attention. Since he’s a coder, he also writes a lot of practical tutorials and developer-focused material.