Adrian Holovaty

Hi there! I’m a web developer and musician from Chicago, living in Amsterdam.

Infrequently updated blog

Dec. 1, 2022 — Adventures in generating music via ChatGPT text prompts

Nov. 11, 2022 — Thoughts on my first machine learning project

Aug. 10, 2022 — Let websites framebust out of native apps

Archive | Greatest hits | RSS

My main focus: Soundslice

I spend my days building Soundslice, quite possibly the best tool for learning a piece of music! Check out my channel to get a sense of it.

I’ve given a couple of presentations about it, including an origin story at the XOXO Festival and this behind-the-scenes tech talk.

Django web framework

I’m co-creator and former co-Benevolent Dictator For Life of the open-source Django web framework, which is used by tens of thousands of people around the world! I retired from the project in early 2014.

I co-wrote two editions of a now-outdated book about web development with Django, published by Apress and available for free online.


I founded EveryBlock, a neighborhood news and discussion site, in 2007. We sold it to in 2009. I worked there until mid-2012, and the site eventually got shut down by its new owners, brought back, then shut down again. :-/


I’m a guitarist who plays fingerstyle and gypsy-jazz music. I’ve been posting YouTube videos since 2007.

The videos are categorized for you here: multitracks, fingerstyle, Beatles, gypsy jazz.

The YouTube homepage once featured my acoustic cover of the MacGyver theme. Never did figure out why. My Mario 2 gypsy-jazz video has also made the rounds.

I play with my gypsy-jazz band throughout Amsterdam. Here’s a nicely produced video of us.

I’ve also released an album composed of some of those YouTube covers.

Guitarists, I have tabs for you! And I’ve put together a nice course on gypsy-jazz guitar chords.

I also have a Soundslice channel, where I post lots of little musical ideas and lick transcriptions.


I have a degree in journalism and have worked at a number of Internet news companies. Before starting EveryBlock, I worked at, and

During that time, I made a name for myself as somebody who did “journalism via computer programming” — which was then a new concept. I wrote a lot about this and traveled the world giving talks about how news companies should employ programmers and use their data more effectively.

An essay of mine from 2006 inspired the awesome, Pulitzer-Prize-winning site Politifact and apparently is now required reading at j-schools. Hi, students!

Alas, I’m no longer professionally involved in journalism, though I’m a proud subscriber to the Washington Post website — and think you should subscribe too.


My 2005 site (site no longer exists) was one of the original Google Maps mashups and was seen as influential.

It played a small part in influencing Google to release a mapping API. The New York Times named it one of the year’s best ideas. It inspired the creation of the Mashable blog. Most importantly, it helped a lot of Chicagoans get a sense of neighborhood crime.

Around the web

My Twitter account is mostly stuff about web development.

My LinkedIn profile has the professional history.

My GitHub profile has some stuff.

In the media

Contact me

To get in touch, either use this form or email adrian [at]