I’m Jonathan Beebe, a front-end engineer from Northern California. I’ve been happily married since 2008, and have three daughters.
Since 2014, I’ve been working at Fingerprint, building front-end UIs for mobile app platforms. Previously, I developed mobile games at Lanica, created apps at Fat Red Couch, worked on a cross-platform mobile SDK at Corona Labs, and quite a bit more.
Need to get in touch? Contact me.
About This Website
This is my personal website where I post about things I’m interested in, share my work, publish tutorials, and whatever else I may be into at the time (archive). I also use this website to host my resumé, showcase my open source contributions, and to post quick updates that most people use Twitter and Facebook for these days.
This website is standards-compliant and validates as HTML5. Pages and entries are written in Markdown and then converted into static HTML files using Hugo. The design and corresponding Hugo theme was created by me.
I’m a big fan of static site generators because the web nowadays is big, bloated, and messy. Static websites tend to be lean and easier on your browser, not to mention your bandwidth. I also think personal websites are a prime use-case for these tools, and Hugo is one of the best. An earlier version of this website used Jekyll, but in July of 2017 I migrated my website to Hugo and so far I’m very pleased with that decision.
A year full of accomplishment, improvement, and blessings.
During the summer, Biffy and I purchased our first home together. This was a huge milestone for both of us—a lifelong goal accomplished.
Biffy and I went back to school to work towards earning our degrees. I chose to pursue Information Technology, and Biffy chose Computer Science.
Carlos Icaza passed away on May 17, 2016 from a stroke. He was a great mentor and friend, and will forever be missed. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities he gave me, that ultimately launched my career as a real software developer.
At Fingerprint, I was the lead front-end developer for Samsung Kids, a children's app platform that shipped as the default launcher on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Lite children's tablet, and as a pre-installed app on their other devices.
I quit smoking in October (nasty habit, I know).
Biffy and I took our girls to Disneyland for the first time.
My third daughter, Mila, was born on July 27, 2013.
Ultimately, Lanica had ran out of capital and failed (as many startups do) and I had to sustain myself on contract work for the rest of this year and into the early part of 2014.
The contract work was for a company called Fat Red Couch, a children's app startup. I developed five of their titles (for iOS and Android), including Puff the Magic Dragon's Playground.
At Lanica, I worked on a small team to develop (and ship!) the Android version of Gardens of Time, a title we were contracted to develop for Playdom (a Disney Interactive subsidiary).
Hired by Ansca as a "frameworks engineer" after contracting for them for several months (they later changed their name to Corona Labs after Carlos left the company in 2012). I would also go on to write more than fifty Corona tutorials during my time as an Ansca employee.
My second daughter, Sara, was born on March 25, 2010.
I wasn't getting the kind of results I wanted while focusing on web apps, so I decided to pivot towards mobile game development instead (upon Biffy's suggestion). Biffy would do the graphics and I would do the programming.
We made a great team and shipped our first game, Doodle Dash! using GameSalad. Performance was lacking, however, so I quickly discovered the Corona SDK and ported our game over. I became a die-hard Corona fan, especially after our game briefly made it into the Top 25 in the App Store. We pulled lots of all-nighters and shipped a couple more games this year. We had a lot of fun working together.
Carlos Icaza, co-founder of Ansca (makers of Corona SDK) ended up hiring me for some very lucrative (for us, at the time) contracting work to make some sample game demos using Corona and this totally changed our lives. He also hooked me up with a short gig with Chronicle Books where I made a children's book app for them.
With these new opportunities, we were able to get off of government assistance and moved into a nicer apartment in a better part of town.
This is also the year I launched jonbeebe.net (first as a Tumblr blog subdomain, later hooked up to my own domain), which I would maintain sporatically over the years.
I decided I would rather do something like Mony-Tree again rather than getting nowhere working at the warehouse (pay capped out relatively quickly without having a college degree), so I quit my job and decided to focus on "working online" full-time. We lived on Biffy's part-time income and food stamps.
This is the year that I would get out of the military and move back to California. This is also the year that the love of my life and my first daughter, Emilie, would come into my life. It was a great year.
Biffy and I got engaged only a month after we met, and we married three months later on November 7, 2008. Crazy and impulsive, I know, but also the best decision of my life.
After getting out of the military I got a full-time job working at a local Target warehouse. Despite the rough work at not-so-great wages, I was married to an amazing woman, had a child, and was finally out of the military so I was happy.
We lived in a small two-bedroom HUD apartment in Woodland, California. My family life and job took up all of my time, so I stopped working on Mony-Tree.com and gave up my share of the business to the other two guys.
Relatively easy and quiet year with no deployments (not enough time left in my contract, so I was assigned to the base Honor Guard, which was easy-peasy). I used this time to wind down and deal with some mild PTSD symptoms I was having and got pretty comfortable writing PHP. I also completed four college courses online.
While still in the military, I launched an online web app called Mony-Tree.com with two other guys I met online. I handled all the programming, another guy did the marketing, and the other guy did the design work. The service helped people create their own websites with no coding experience, with the goal of making money with their websites.
I actually ended up making an average of about $600 per month on this venture (after splitting revenue three ways), which wasn't amazing but it was exciting for me as it gave me a glimmer of hope that I may have a future in programming after all. Regardless, I knew I wouldn't be renewing my military contract.
I was deployed to Iraq for a second time, this time assigned to Camp Victory, Baghdad and attached to an Army military police unit. My job was a lot different this time: convoy to police stations in Baghdad and train their new police force, on the job. Without getting into details, this was probably the single most traumatic year of my life, but thankfully I made it back home physically unscathed.
Thankfully the base had Wi-Fi and I had a cheap Dell laptop. During any downtime I had in my tent, I was able to keep myself sane by learning and practicing PHP. I even remember carrying my notebook and coding by hand (so I can type it out later) when I wasn't at my tent.
Laughably, someone would often ask, "Beebe, what is it you're always writing in that thing?" to which I would reply, "Letters home". It wasn't exactly a "nerd friendly" environment.
I was deployed to Iraq for the first time (Kirkuk Air Base). It wasn't pleasant, but wasn't all that bad (it certainly could have been worse). Mostly I was bored as my job consisted of sitting in guard towers for 12 hours at a time, guarding the base's front gate, and searching incoming vehicles for explosives and other weapons. There were however mortars that landed randomly on base throughout day, but they were so common you quickly got used to them.
High school graduation. At this time I'm living with a couple of friends in a house we are splitting the rent on and working at a grocery store called Food4Less (my second job). I'm barely making enough money for rent, much less enough for both rent and a college tuition.
A combination of hearing whispers of declining jobs in tech, horror stories of student loan debts, and still having to work to support myself even if I did go to schoool caused me to decide to join the US Air Force after remembering a presentation recruiters gave at my school a few months prior. I signed a four-year contract and I left for boot camp in July.
I was so desparate to start my adult life as soon as possible that I made the bad decision to join under the "Open General" job description, which is code for "put me wherever you want". I later learned this almost certainly meant "Security Forces", and sure enough, that's the job I was placed with. Security Forces in the Air Force is the equivalent of "Military Police" in the other branches. I wasn't thrilled with this as I've never been interested in being a cop, but I was open-minded and moved forward with a positive attitude.
After all my training, I was stationed at Moody AFB, Georgia with the 820th Security Forces Group (824th Security Forces Squadron). This was an experimental unit where we did no police work, but instead trained year-round stateside and deployed to combat zones on a rotation schedule. Not exactly what I was expecting when I joined the Air Force.
I successfully learned ColdFusion, which was a nice transition from the HTML that I was comfortable with to programming logic which was still a bit foreign to me. I finally decided to jump in and replicate Friendster. I was successful in coming up with a working web app and even put it online (it was embarassingly called "Friend-Link" of all things). The only problem was, I had no idea how to market it and get people to see the site. It was one of those moments where you build something, put it out there, and then you're like... now what?
Tried to get back into C++, this time with the intention of learning game programming, but failed... again. I had once again jumped into the deep end a little too soon and got overwhelmed. Still a valuable learning experience though.
My first job at 16: McDonald's in Elk Grove, California. It was one of those that are attached to a Chevron gas station. I worked there for a year until my Dad and I moved out of town.
I went to the Philippines with my older brother for three months. Over there, it was more common for people to visit Internet Cafés to access the internet rather than have a computer in their home. I was fascinated by a social network everyone was using called Friendster. The concept of social networking hadn't really caught on much in the US (at least not where I was from, at my age).
I wanted to make something similar but didn't really know where to start. This idea would be put on the back-burner as high school life took over much of my time over the next couple of years.
Moved back in with my Dad. This is the year I learned HTML via online tutorials and I had a lot of fun making throw-away websites (usually about some game I was playing at the time) by hand and hosting them on Yahoo! GeoCities.
I also tried reading some books on C++ my Dad had lying around and made some command-line programs but ultimately the jump from HTML to "real" programming was such a mental leap that it took me aback. This initial exposure to a real programming language did help me later on though when I learned scripting languages.
Dad builds me my first computer for my birthday. It's pretty slow and basic (even for the time), but I couldn't be happier. This is also the year I was first exposed to Linux but could never use it as my daily driver because my computer wasn't fully compatible.
This is the year I also discovered the internet (on the weekends while visiting my Dad). My mind was blown at the sheer amount of information available, as well as all the downloads available to "tweak" my system.
Dad and step-Mom divorced. Stressful times. I stayed in place for a few months and then I went to go live with my (biological) Mom.
I'm in 5th grade, and my Dad brings home our first family computer: a "Packard Bell" with Windows 95 pre-installed. I was hooked. Even with no internet connection, I deeply enjoyed tinkering, exploring, and learning the nuances of how the computer worked. I even skimmed an MS-DOS book that I found in the desk where I learned about the
Back to California, just in time to start Kindergarten (in Woodland, CA).
We moved to Georgia (the US state) and my younger brother Adam was born.
Sometime while we were abroad, my parents divorced and both re-married. My Dad picked us up from the Philippines and we moved in with our new family in Chico, California.
Within a little over year, I needed to learn English before I started school. I'm super grateful for all the time and effort my (technically step) Mom spent to get me up to speed with the language and customs of my new environment in such a short amount of time.
A couple months after I was born, my older brother Rodney (4 years older) and I moved to the Philippines to temporarily live with our grandparents while our parents worked their situation out. We stayed there for three years.
I was born in Sacramento, California on November 11, 1985.