Official Post from Nicolas Steenhout: This week, I had the luck and great pleasure to talk with Jeffrey Zeldman, who probably needs no introduction but who refers to himself as a "web designer who’s been interested in inclusive design for a very long time.
Tagged with “design” (574)
A11y Rules Podcast Episode 21 - Interview with Jeffrey Zeldman - Part 1 | Nicolas Steenhout on Patreon
Published Nov 30, 2017
Jonathan is the creator of the influential SMACSS methodology for writing scalable and modular C-S-S. He has worked his magic at Xero, Yahoo!, and Shopify, and has appeared on stage at conferences such as Generate, CSSConf, and the Smashing Conference. With 3 highly-acclaimed books, Jonathan has - a - knack for influencing devs around the world and earning the respect of the top people in the industry.
Time Stamped Show Notes
1:56 – Everything feels like an evolution of what came before. Jonathan loves the creativity and design of his work, rather than all the new things that will inevitably come out.
4:48 – Recognising when you’re not behaving ok is the beginning of how to create an environment where everyone can do the best work they can do.
6:04 – Jonathan loves Vim. He mentions that there are editors like Atom or Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code that bring a lot to the table, but Vim is his comfort zone. Likewise, when it comes to using Git, he is most comfortable with the command line.
7:20 – Jonathan likes the ease of use that tools like MAMP being, where running an installer will set up your environment, and there’s very little configuration after that.
8:02 – Procrastination or “busy work” gets in the way of getting work done. Blocking out social media using the Self Control app helps Jonathan to focus and get into a state of flow.
10:03 – Larry mentions that he uses a Chrome extension, Kill News Feed, that blocks his Facebook feed.
10:10 – Jonathan has started reading Deep Work by Cal Newport.
10:49 – Jonathan has written a blog post in which he describes his approach to learning.
First level: just take everything in
Second level: implement an idea that you’ve discovered during a project. If you don’t get the opportunity to try something out on a project, come up with your own project and test out your ideas
Last phase: teach people what you’ve learnt.
Check out the full post here
12:46 – To get to an implementation stage Jonathan will come up with his own projects that take a few hours that allow him to test out one idea and understand things better.
14:44 – Jonathan explains the importance of understanding the basics. Because of all the libraries and frameworks available, people tend to jump into things at a higher abstraction level. Because he learnt to code before those things existed, he was forced to learn the underlying concepts first. He believes he is a better developer for it.
15:05 – Jonathan contrasts his learning experience with devs who start with Rails and the built in ORM – he learned by writing SQL queries directly. Jonathan feels the need to understand datasets, joins, and the underlying concepts about how things are done.
16:09 – Having the underlying knowledge allows Jonathan to write better code
17:16 – Best advice about programming
Understand the basics.
17:29 – Habits for writing better code
Good sleep and proper rest help you write better code.
17:52 – BookScalable and Modular Architecture for CSSDesign Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by The Gang of Four
18:52 – Inspiring devsChris Coyier. Not only is he a genuinely nice guy, but he also does a lot of great work and pumps out great content.
19:41 – How to learn code from scratch
Jonathan says that the best way for him to learn is to have a project. If he had to learn to program from scratch, he would pick up a project and start with the basics.
20:55 – How to work smart
Stay focused, whether it’s by blocking out social media or using time management tools like the Pomodoro technique.
Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned
Visual Studio Code
Kill News Feed
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
My old friend Dan Cederholm joins the show. His work at Simplebits was profoundly influential in the early web, but he may be best known as the cofounder of Dribbble. We talk about this history of that community as well as what it’s like to build a reputation as a designer today.
Published Nov 23, 2017
Harry Roberts is a heavy-weight in the world of front-end architecture. While working at Sky, Harry began developing approaches to writing manageable and scalable CSS, revolutionising the way people think about front-ends. Harry now consults for a long list of companies like Google, The UN, The BBC, and Deloitte.
Time Stamped Show Notes
1:55 – Harry loves anything to do with the outdoors. He enjoys hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, and cycling.
2:36 – About ten years ago Harry and his best friend started a graphic design company. When building their company site, he realised he was way better at code than he would ever be at design. That’s when he decided to get into front-end development.
3:43 – In 2011, Harry started working as a senior developer at Sky, a broadcasting and multimedia company in the UK and Europe. This was where he got into large-scale performance architecture. He then got a job building the UI’s for highly-trafficked websites making hundreds of millions of Pounds a year. From there, he moved on to do the same for other companies. For the last three and a half years or so, he has been working for himself.
10:33 – Harry explains that he doesn’t really use many tools. He says that he’s good at prioritising things, and tools or not, he gets things done. Harry runs his life on a “just in time” basis. He only completes tasks right before they are needed as a way not to frontload too much information. This technique prevents him from having to memorise things for too long.
12:19 – Because he travels so much and is often in different time zones, Harry says that it’s difficult for him to develop a routine. Although he has known for a couple of years that he needs to address this, he isn’t sure how to go about it.
12:51 – Harry admits that he’s bad with email. He knows he could fix this by implementing a routine, but he hasn’t yet. Also, he still uses Gmail even though he has heard that Inbox is better as it allows you to treat your email like a todo list.
14:23 – Harry says that he doesn’t really use frameworks. He gets more excited about standard specifications. Service Worker is revolutionising everything.
15:00 – Harry uses Web Components. He thinks they will allow developers to start moving things out of frameworks and into standardised specs.
15:13 – “I really want the web to win so I’m just quite excited about the platform in general at the moment. I’m not working with a particular library or framework specifically at the moment – I’m quite agnostic in that regard.”
15:48 – Harry says that he’s lucky to get invited to a lot of conferences. Last year he went to thirty! Even though it is work for him, conferences are also great opportunities for him to learn. He is constantly surrounded by people doing interesting new things and who are demystifying complex concepts.
16:40 – Harry admits that he is genuinely in love with his industry. He is fascinated by what developers are doing, and browses Hacker News or Twitter whenever he gets the chance. He is constantly immersed in what developers are doing, but he doesn’t learn these things inside out. He just keeps a broad view of the industry. “You can just watch a 40 minute talk and think, “I understand enough about that to know that I don’t need it yet and when I do need it, I know where to start Googling”.
18:58 – Encapsulation has had the biggest impact on how Harry thinks about code. In his experience, when a client’s CSS is in a mess, it’s usually because they’ve made it too complex.
19:35 – “The first time you ever do anything you will probably get it wrong.” Understanding this, you should make sure that everything is undoable and encapsulated enough that you can decommission discrete sections of your code rather than having to rewrite everything.
20:55 – Best advice about programmingOliver Reichenstein once told Harry, “never do it for money, but never do it for no money”. Developers tend to love what they do to the point that they will do it for free. This often leads to open source burnout.
22:02 – Habits for writing better code
Pragmatism and laziness. Not trying to write perfect code the first time you are faced with a problem.
23:09 – BookHigh Performance Browser Networking by Ilya Grigorik. It has made Harry a fundamentally better developer because, after reading it, he understands how the internet actually works.
23:49 – Inspiring devs
Anyone on the Google Developer relations team. He mentions Alex Russell and, specifically, Jake Archibald, because he’s doing a lot of work with Service Worker. He also mentions Paul Lewis for his render performance work, and Nicolas Gallagher who made big waves at Twitter.
25:29 – How to learn code from scratch
When asked how he would go about learning programming from scratch, Harry jokes that he he might not want to, and that his dream job is to be a park ranger in a national park somewhere. He would like to “wake up and check that the eagles are ok and maybe release a deer trapped in a fence”.
26:42 – Another inspiring dev
Harry mentions Jeremy Keith as another developer who inspires him. Jeremy focuses on the fundamentals.
26:56 – How to work smart
Harry’s programming tip is not to memorise stuff you don’t have to. He believes that working smart is to devise a plan of attack, take a pragmatic approach to things, and become good at prioritising. Learn how to ask for help, and surround yourself with people who know more than you do.
Books, Tools, and Tips Mentioned
High Performance Browser Networking
Published Nov 16, 2017
Sara is a freelance front-end web developer, author, and speaker from Lebanon. She was named Developer of the Year in the 2015 .net magazine awards, and awarded a Web Platform Award from O’Reilly. Sara is the author of Codrops CSS Reference, and is the co-author of Real-Life Responsive Web Design, which focuses on smart “responsive” workflows, effective UX patterns, and powerful front-end techniques.
Time Stamped Show Notes
2:33 – Sara is passionate about the possibilities developers have to build useful things for people and for the generations to come. She believes developers have the tools for building the future, and is excited by the fact that the web is getting more powerful by the day.
3:21 – Sara says that learning and teaching have opened a lot of doors for her. She first got into speaking because of the articles she wrote whilst experimenting with, and learning new features. She actually got her first job from her experiments on CodePen.
4:34 – Burning out after working on a project taught Sara about what to do, what not to do, what to expect, what not to expect, and to tell clients what to expect and what not to expect.
8:16 – Sara explains that she doesn’t use a lot of frameworks or tools. She uses HTML, CSS, and Sass. On very simple projects, she doesn’t even use Grunt, Gulp, or any other build tool like that. She writes with the bare minimum.
9:00 – Sara uses Alfred to speed up her workflow.
9:37 – TextExpander helps Sara save time by allowing her to respond to frequently asked questions in emails she receives using templates.
10:17 – Sara loves Sublime Text as her editor, and uses a lot of the plugins that come with it to help her type less.
10:52 – Sara works early in the morning to avoid distractions on Twitter.
11:27 – Sara removes any applications, such as email and Twitter, from her work computer that are not essential for work.
13:05 – Larry mentions how Dash is an app that aggregates documentation, and also integrates nicely with Alfred. It also has its own snippet manager, similar to TextExpander.
13:56 – Sara finds that she doesn’t have the most productive way to set up projects. She currently uses Jekyll for her website, but the bigger the website becomes, the slower Jekyll becomes.
14:30 – She admits that Grunt, Gulp, Browserify, or Webpack would make her workflow better, but she finds the thought of installing them and getting them to work overwhelming.
15:42 – Sara is excited about CSS Grid, because it’s like a CSS framework without a framework. She believes that there’ll be no need for any kind of CSS framework to build grids and websites in the future. She mentions that she has never been a fan of frameworks like Bootstrap as she feels there’s always too much to edit, change, and fix.
16:21 – Combining CSS Grid with Flexbox is “like magic”.
17:23 – Sara makes time to learn new things when she needs to use new things.
20:17 – Best advice about programming
20:46 – Habits for writing better code
Thinking from a user’s perspective, not only a developer’s perspective. Test components early on – not code testing, but user testing.
21:39 – BookResponsive Design: Patterns & Principles by Ethan MarcotteGoing Responsive by Karen McGraneAdaptive Web Design by Aaron GustafsonInclusive Design Patterns by Heydon Pickering
22:50 – Inspiring devsEthan Marcotte and Jeremy Keith. Sara is inspired by anyone who works for the user and who teaches people in the industry to care about them too. She likes that these two authors teach developers how to write better experiences.
24:40 – How to learn code from scratch
Sara says that she would definitely be overwhelmed at first if she had to learn programming from scratch. She mentions that she is thankful that she had a mentor to help her get started from the right place. She would start with the basics, because she can’t use a tool or a language unless she really understands it.
25:34 – How to work smart
Work healthy. Take care of yourself and to get enough sleep. A healthy body is a healthy mind.
Books, Tools, and Tech Mentioned
CoDrops CSS Reference
The Smashing Book 5: Real-Life Responsive Web Design
An Episode Apart with Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman – User Defenders podcast : Inspiring Interviews with UX Superheroes.
On this special episode, Eric Meyer, Jeffrey Zeldman and I discuss the premiere web and UX design conference they started over a decade ago. We talk about the game-changing innovations that have come out of An Event Apart, as well as what to expect at the very first Denver appearance on December 11-13, 2017.
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Rewatch the full talk "The Pattern Web" from Made in Space 2017.
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With Alastair Parvin.
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