I'm Matt Kantor, a 27 year-old web developer living in Mountain View, CA.
I'm interested in most things IT, especially anything that has an impact
on communication, society at large, or the ways we think and live. I'm
also into physics and astronomy,
sociology, philosophy, and just about anything that I think might help me
make sense of this crazy and beautiful world. Designing things and solving
problems are ways of channeling my creative energy to shape a better
I grew up on a
rural horse farm in New Tripoli, PA. There still isn't cable on our
street, the phone lines were so bad that we were lucky to get a 30K
internet connection, and it took 45 minutes to traverse my old school
district. We once found moonshine under our floorboards when remodeling a
I like fixing things; I enjoy the outdoors; I think that most people take
themselves way too seriously. I derive a profound sense of spiritual
fulfillment—though I'm not a religious man—from exploring the
whys and whats of this world.
What I Do
Most of my professional career has involved web design & development. My talents include software engineering, frontend & backend development, information architecture, version control, server administration, usability & accessibility, web standards, problem-solving, video games, campfire building, and juggling.
I am experienced in
learning new languages and technologies.
I try to use open source software and follow open standards whenever practical.
I enjoy building modular software with clean yet flexible APIs. When
creating web services, I believe in building atop HTTP instead of kludging
my way around it: I create RESTful systems that are truly part of the web
in both spirit and practice.
I had never worked with Concrete5 before taking on this project, and it
was an interesting challenge to learn the CMS while designing features
which integrate with it. It required reading a lot of code to gain a deep
understanding of Concrete5's inner workings.
We ended up with a nice compromise between flexibility, familiarity
(re-using core Concrete5 concepts), simplicity, and utility. End users can
easily bend Clov to their will (without touching code): it's possible to
do anything from removing features entirely to adding new attributes to
customizing permissions rules to completely changing any view using
standard Concrete5 UIs.
I was responsible for Clov's architecture and codebase (frontend and
backend), while getting lots of valuable feedback, testing, and
requirements-gathering from Tooq.
A web-based platform for video analysis and training targeted at professional
I helped develop these projects from their beginnings as part of a very small
startup group. SkiClubZ.com was our proof-of-concept, focused on the skiing
and snowboarding markets. After a lot of iteration and user feedback, we felt
we had a solid set of tools and a way of packaging them into a helpful,
easy-to-use service. We refreshed the UI and simplified the feature set to
create Sprongo, a cross-sport solution based on the insights gleaned from our
experience developing SkiClubZ.com.
The site's focal point is a robust HTML5-based video player that offers
features such as variable rate slow-motion, video overlays, splitscreen,
frame-stepping, drawing tools, and in-video comments. Because the HTML5 video
API was still young when we developed these features, they included lots of
workarounds for browser inconsistencies in order to deliver the best experience
possible to each of our users.
Since the company was so small, we all did a bit of everything, but I focused
on development, implementation planning, deployments, interaction design for
new features, testing/QA, and helping users solve issues.
As a developer, I helped build Zampus.com from the ground up. I was promoted to
CTO/CIO after four months, which put me in charge of a team of three full-time
developers and several part-timers. Being in a managerial position was a big
change for me, and I learned a lot about how to mediate different development
styles and skill sets.
The website was a user-generated insiders' guide to college life. It had
aspects of a review site, forum, media sharing site, and wiki.
The frontend made heavy use of Ajax and dynamic elements to provide a
free-flowing user experience (instant sorting, in-place content editing,
necessary to use many features, which is disconcerting to my progressive
enhancement sensibilities; I justified it by keeping our audience in mind (who
that accessibility sacrifices were only taken where real usability
improvements could be gained.
We believed strongly in user testing. Real users were regularly invited to the
office to interact with the site while their on-screen actions, eye movements,
and verbal commentary were recorded. This feedback was used to continuously
improve usability both before and after launch.
Classmate is a simple courseware application focused on assignment management
I created it for my senior project at Ithaca College with Tenzin Zingshuk, a
fellow student. I used this project as an excuse to learn Ruby on Rails, which
was a lot of fun to jump into.
I built the last version of my site atop the (now defunct) Mephisto CMS. It
included a blog, something this version lacks because it doesn't really fit
into my pattern of online activity anymore. I created the fontend theme from
scratch, experimenting with some UI concepts along the way.