Seven Questions with Rick, Developer Advocate at Ionic

When it comes to making sure that Ionic is simple to use for developers, Rick is your advocate! I sat down for a little Q&A with Rick to understand his background and stance on the important stuff. You know: tabs versus spaces.

Christy: What’s your role here at Ionic? What are you most excited about?

Rick: I’m the Developer Advocate which means that I advocate for the developer and evangelize about Ionic Security’s SDKs and APIs to the developer. I personally get excited when the information provided eases the developer’s friction in using our products.

Christy: Tell us a little about your background as an engineer.

Rick: Before I became a Developer Advocate, I was a software developer for 35 years working in file systems, video streaming, SDKs/APIs, and some user interfaces. Previously I was a Developer Advocate at NetApp and Tintri.

Christy: Developers cultivate their favorite practices, and often love to debate their pros and cons. Can I get you to weigh in on the questions of the day? What’s your favorite language and why? Mac, Windows, or Linux? Emacs or Vim? Tabs or spaces?

Rick: Currently, Python is my favorite, because it is easy to use, has a lot of libraries, and it is everywhere. I enjoy working on Linux, but it is usually via logging into Linux systems from Windows or Mac. I guess I still like a command line. Multiple terminal windows and multiple screens are great for development. As for editors, my fingers know Vim with spaces.

Christy: What problems do you see solved for developers working with Ionic? How easy is it for someone to get started?

Rick: Ionic Security’s SDK solves encryption and policy requirements for developers. The beauty of the product is that it is just not encrypting a string or file, but it has policies attached to any encryption key. These policies add a layer of granular control over the encrypted data, and that control travels with the data. For example, controls can include classification, time of day, and location. When obtaining a key, the developer just has to code a “get Key” call, and Ionic decides via policies whether the user can have access to the key or not.

It’s straightforward to start using Ionic. Just go to and press the “Get Started” button. The website guides you through enrollment and a “Helloworld” tutorial. After that, there are more tutorials and code examples that can be used in your own code.

Christy: How much time did it take for you to get your first application running with Ionic, and how has that experience informed what you believe other developers will need to get started?

Rick: Going through the complete “Tutorials” sections took about one hour after I set-up my laptop with all the needed software. I swiftly realized that enrollment is a pain in the ‘okole, so I made the decision to break the “Tutorials” section out into smaller, more digestible segments.

This led to the simplified “Get Started” section I mentioned earlier—four steps to a “Helloworld”—plus the additional “Tutorials” section that walks you through the basics of working with the SDK: setting up secure communications profiles, using agents to interact with the platform, working with keys and their attributes, encrypting (and decrypting) data, and then automating those encryption steps with a cipher.

Christy: Thanks, Rick! These shorter tutorials are so much easier to follow. Your use of the Hawaiian slang word ‘okole made me laugh, having grown up on O’ahu. What’s your connection to the islands?

Rick: My spouse is from O’ahu, Kalihi specifically, and I have picked up some Hawaiian pidgin over the years of visiting.

Christy: I understand that you’re a tai-chi practitioner—that your friends have even nicknamed you “Baba Rick”—can you share a little about how this practice informs your approach to life and code?

Rick: Yes, I have been doing tai-chi for about 37 years. Tai-chi teaches me about approaching life and code with patience. I try to remind myself that: “The receiver is responsible for the relationship.” Since relationships are dynamic, receivership moves from one person to the other; the receiver’s responsibility lies in how the receiver responds to the energy that has been sent.

Christy: Thanks so much for spending time with us, and we look forward to checking back in to learn more about the enhancements and updates you have planned out at! For our readers: If you have a question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to reach out and Ask Rick!

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