Last Updated: November 5, 2018

Komodo IDE User Story: Q&A with Gregg Thomason

We love finding out more about our users and this week we’re sharing a Q&A with Gregg Thomason (aka [neurobashing]( Gregg is a long-time Komodo user (since version 4!) and big contributor to the community; you may have used his first public Komodo package, a [status bar widget]( to show the current git branch. In his interview, he gave us some insight into what he likes best about being a programmer and using Komodo. Gregg’s role is a mix of system administration, DevOps and web development, but at his company they don’t really use formal job titles, so he picked “Science Viking.” 🙂

**How did you get into programming?**

I got a [Commodore 64 ]( a kid and typed BASIC games into it from magazines, the canonical gateway drug to software engineering.

We joke that I am the longest-running recruitment effort here: my best friend has worked here for 18 years, and he constantly tried to recruit me, for something like *15 years*. I was doing my own thing at a few other places, but I eventually gave in, which was the right move. [ASTi]( is a great place to work.

My company’s main products are audio simulation systems for military training: flight sims, forward observer (artillery)/radio stuff, and so on. We have been branching out into commercial applications like air-traffic control training as well. All our stuff is controlled/managed from web apps and uses Python (and now, Go) heavily in the middleware layer.

**Any public examples of what you’ve done that we can link to or point out?**

I do not remember how I first heard about Komodo – I *think* it was when I was installing ActivePerl onto a Windows machine.

I don’t have a lot of really interesting public code, but []( and []( are two things I’ve done/contributed to recently. I’ve published a few [Python-Markdown]( plugins ([Better Tables]( and [Better Images](, added a few pieces to [Homebrew](, wrote a very simple [CouchDB management library](, and maintain the most recent fork of [node-augeas](

I just released my first public Komodo package, a status bar widget to show the current git branch – []( But I’ve written a million and one macros over the years, which I should get around to publishing at some point.

**Do you use Komodo’s “polyglot” (i.e. multi-language) functionality?**

I do sysadmin/IT/”devops” and web development, so I do 99% of my work in shell, Python, or the web stack (JavaScript, HTML/CSS). We’re starting to use Go more, and a few other random pieces of our codebase show up from time to time (xml, erlang, what have you), so the polyglot support in Komodo IDE is pretty important to me.

**What do you think are Komodo’s biggest strengths?**

The polyglot nature of Komodo is definitely one of Komodo’s biggest strengths–out of the box it works with just about every possible modern language and framework. I also like that you can customize your workspace and use Javascript and Python to extend it (the UI, editor, workspace, etc). VIM mode is also a great feature for the work I do.

**Can you recommend books/tutorials to junior programmers that are just getting started?**

The best way to learn programming is to program: sign up for CodeEval, one of the Project Euler-alikes, or even Khan Academy. Program all the time. And use a programmable editor like Komodo! I find fiddling with macros a really great way to “warm up” in the morning, or when I need a break from a tough problem.

**Are there any programmers that you admire?**

My programming heroes are [jwz](, [Steve Yegge](, and [Raymond Hettinger]( And [Defman ]( the Komodo forums deserves a shout-out–he’s crazy prolific.

**Any other advice or feedback you’d like to share?**

Coffee mugs, man. Coffee mugs. The people have spoken! (see replies to []( for context)

Thanks to Gregg for contributing to the Komodo community and taking the time to share his story. Oh, and those coffee mugs Gregg mentions…We’re giving a mug away + $50 savings with every purchase of Komodo using coupon BTW50 in September.

If you want to tell your developer story and how you use Komodo, drop us a note at []( My Story) or [follow us on twitter]( and send us a DM.

Sheila Louis

Sheila Louis

Sheila Louis brings over 15 years of experience in the software technology industry to ActiveState, including almost five in varied roles within ActiveState. She's just as comfortable discussing technology with developers as she is discussing business drivers with management, and her focus is on marketing, technology, and customer service to bring ActiveState's developer tools and languages to the next level. Her education includes an accounting diploma from Thompson Rivers University, and software systems development certification from BCIT. (On Maternity Leave)