Web Developer and Tech Blogger Tiffany R. White: “Teaching Other People Is a Great Way to Understand a Concept”

While Matt Gemmell gave up his job as a software engineer for writing thrillers, Tiffany R. White has gone her way in the opposite direction. She studied English and had plans to write a book, but then realized that she preferred writing code over writing fiction. Today Tiffany is a front-end web developer. Writing, albeit of a more technical kind, still plays a major role in her life.

Tiffany R. White
Tiffany R. White

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I am a front-end web developer in Pittsburgh, PA, US. I am currently working on a web app called Check Yo Self (a riff on a 90’s rap song by Ice Cube) to check the spelling and grammar of your markdown blog posts. I am also working on a podcast with short episodes full of the latest developer news and insights.

Which role does writing play in your life?

Writing plays a big role in my life: it’s how I got my first internship after this career change!

I write a lot of articles for my two main blogs, Tiffany R. White Blog which is a technical/development blog, and That Mac Nerd where I throw my hat into the Apple pundit ring. I also write articles for the freeCodeCamp Medium Publication which is the largest technical publication on Medium, and I occasionally write posts for my former employer, The Practical Dev.

As you can see, I do a lot of writing and developing most days. I have cut back a bit on the writing so I can focus on my app, Check Yo Self as well as contributing to open source projects as I look for work.

Which topics do you like to cover the most on your blogs?

I write mainly about web development, Apple products and news, and how Apple’s app ecosystem keeps me productive.

As a developer, do you think programming and writing have something in common, or rather that they are two entirely different things?

Writing compliments programming such that if you are learning about something, you can document it on your blog. Teaching other people this way is a great way to understand a concept. The other benefit of doing this is that if you get stuck on a thing, you can always go back into your archives and find out how you did that same thing before. It’s how I’ve solved a couple problems of late.

What is important to keep you productive? As an example, do you work in a certain environment or follow a timely routine?

I use Todoist to keep me sane. This is where I can figure out what I am going to do during the day. From there I work at my desk with my headphones on from about 11 am to 5 pm where I break for dinner. Then it is back to it from 8 pm to 11:30 pm.

How did you find out about Ulysses?

It’s kind of funny. I found Ulysses while browsing for Scrivener in the App Store. At the time I was going to school as an English major and had major plans to write a book. Ulysses popped up in the store when I was searching but the original icon really turned me off and I wasn’t writing in markdown.

Once I decided I enjoyed tinkering with code instead of writing fiction, I decided to learn how to write in markdown as some programmers told me it would be beneficial. I settled on Byword and when Xmas rolled around and my family purchased some iTunes Gift Cards for me, I decided I’d buy Ulysses for my iPad. I had heard a lot about it and wanted to give it a shot. I liked it so much I bought it for my Mac as well.

Could you describe the way you’re using Ulysses, your typical workflow?

I use Ulysses to basically write my blog posts and scripts. I also use it to collect random quotes from famous people.

I have several groups and sub-groups, the main groups named Ideas, Edit, and Publish and underneath those, I have sub-groups that are the names of my blogs and publications I write for.

A glance at Tiffany's Ulysses library
A glance at Tiffany’s Ulysses library

I also have main groups for my blogs and podcast site as well.

Sometimes I’ll dump ideas into the Ideas group using Drafts but most of the time I use Trello to collect ideas.

I will write my posts in my blogs’ main group, then move them to Edit when I am editing, and Publish when I am ready to publish.

What do you like best about Ulysses? Do you have a favorite feature?

I love how customizable Ulysses is, from the custom fonts to the colors, to modifying the way I can use markdown, these are my favorite features. The ability to publish to WordPress and Medium and add categories, tags, featured images, in Ulysses is the best implementation I’ve come across. This is why I keep up the subscription as nothing else comes close.

“The ability to publish to WordPress and Medium in Ulysses is the best implementation I’ve come across.”

I write so much and publishing to WordPress is important; I’ve networked and gotten noticed simply because I write a lot to my blogs. I can’t live without Ulysses right now.

Which other tools and productivity apps are you using, and how do they help you?

Drafts for iOS is simply the biggest tool I use. Everything, from Todoist tasks, Trello cards, Evernote notes, all of it starts in Drafts.

I also use Fantastical 2 by Flexibits as a scheduling tool and Timing 2 to find out bottlenecks in my workflow.

Thanks for the interview!

Rebekka Honeit

Blog-curating writing maniac and public relations person. Loves coffee, chocolate cookies and literature. Finds peace in tweaking press copy.