Tagged with “fixate” (6)

  1. Standards, Declarative Code, and Tape Decks, with John Allsopp | Fixate

    Published Mar 15, 2018

    John has been building for the web since the early 90’s. With his timeless article, The Dao of Web Design, his book, Developing with Web Standards, and as co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, John has made a massive impact on the lives of designers and developers the world over.

    Time Stamped Show Notes

    0:51 – John came to the web from a computer science and software engineering background.

    1:14 – In the early nineties, John developed a hypertext knowledge system. Whilst considering his options on how best to distribute the software, he realised that the internet would be a great fit. No publisher required, and no tiny royalties!

    1:43 – At the beginning, John thought the web was a fad.

    2:08 – The web was officially launched in 1991 but received a lot of criticism at the time. Users complained that links were one-directional, and that there was no centralised hub to see the links between documents. In fact, a paper proposed by Tim Berners-Lee (the man considered to be the inventor of the web) was rejected!

    2:58 – What people initially saw as weaknesses of the web, actually turned out to be its strengths. One “weakness” was the fact that everything was freely available to everybody; even people who are not software engineers or programmers.

    3:31 – Once John realised the power of the web, he started to develop courses, and CSS tools, training, and materials. In more recent years, his efforts have been focused on organising conferences where he helps “amplify the voices and ideas of other people”.

    4:54 – John is interested in the way humans interact with computers and how this will evolve over time. He wants to see the current paradigm of “personal computing” broken down and become less text and screen-based.

    7:43 – The idea of a computer as a bunch of apps with various features will change; our interactions will become much more contextual and unique to our individual conditions. Computing will become more and more a part of our everyday life. John gives two examples – cochlear implants, and technology that can predict the onset of a psychological episode.

    8:55 – John believes that if you can programme in JavaScript and can use a web API, you can start tapping into the AI API’s of Amazon Web Services, Watson, or the Google Cloud Platform.

    11:53 – “Debugging is a black art.”

    12:57 – John tells the story of a single missing character in Fortran code and how it lead to an unmanned space shuttle exploding!

    13:47 – When deciding what to put where on his daily todo list, John considers the task’s importance, as well as the times of day during which he is most productive. He finds that todo lists give him a sense of accomplishment and progression.

    14:55 – “People who show gratitude tend to be happy.” John encourages his kids to reflect on one thing each day for which they are thankful.

    16:08 – When making the transition from developing software to running events, John had to begin a completely new learning process.

    19:19 – John is interested in using his expertise to gain better insight into the wants and needs of his customers so that he can tailor the Web Directions service to better suit them.

    20:22 – John started programming using BASIC on a “pre-PC style” computer. It relied on a tape deck with audio cassettes in order to write programs.

    20:57 – John came from a very traditional, imperative, object-orientated approach to programming. Only when the web came around was he exposed to the declarative approach.

    21:29 – John found the idea of declaring what you want to happen, rather than how you want it to happen, revelatory.

    21:57 – John thinks CSS is greatly undervalued. Whereas experienced React developers are in high demand, skilled CSS developers seem to struggle to find good positions.

    22:29 – John believes Javascript developers would benefit from trying to understand the declarative approach of CSS and HTML.

    Quickfire Questions

    23:45 – Best advice about programming

    “You ain’t gonna need it” (YAGNI). If you don’t need it, don’t build it.

    24:15 – Habits for writing better code

    A strange mixture of OCD and ADHD allows John to both drill down on the details and get them right, as well as make the disparate connections necessary for writing good software.

    25:15 – Book“Designing with Web Standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman

    26:19 – Inspiring devsJason Miller, the creator of Preact. Not only is he developing interesting technology, but he is also great at articulating his thoughts on the web platform as a whole.

    27:33 – How to learn to code from scratch

    Pick a real-world problem and learn new technologies as you solve it.

    29:42 – How to work smart

    Implement the 80/20 rule. Determine what requires only 20% effort, but yields 80% of the results.

    Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned

    JavaScript

    “A Dao of Web Design,” by John Allsopp

    “Developing with Web Standards,” by John Allsopp

    The Web Directions conference series

    Amazon Web Services Machine Learning API

    Watson AI API

    Google Cloud Platform AI API

    Fortran

    Web Directions

    BASIC

    CSS

    ReactJS

    Dijkstra’s books on software engineering

    “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software,” by The Gang of Four

    Axel Rauschmayer’s books on JavaScript

    Kyle Simpson’s books on JavaScript

    “Designing with Web Standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman

    Preact

    Tim Ferris

    The 80/20 Pareto Principle

    Contact John

    Twitter: @johnallsopp

    http://fixate.it/podcast/standards-declarative-code-tape-decks-john-allsopp/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  2. Persistence, and doing the things you love, with Chris Coyier | Fixate

    Published Mar 22, 2018

    Chris is the creator of CSS-Tricks, a co-founder of CodePen, and a host on the popular dev podcast, ShopTalk. With Chris’s involvement in making CSS, Javascript, and SVG more accessible to developers, Chris has had a profound impact on both everyone using the web, and everyone building for the web.

    Time Stamped Show Notes

    0:53 – Chris believes it’s important to seek out the work you love doing and focus your energy there. For him, it’s CSS-Tricks, CodePen, and ShopTalk.

    1:37 – CSS-Tricks is primarily a blog, but it’s also full of resources for learning (mostly) front end development.

    2:07 – Chris spends most of his time working on CodePen. Simply put, it’s a code editor in the browser. Using pre-processors, it allows you to create front end code and show it off to others.

    2:49 – Chris’s podcast, ShopTalk, reached its 300th episode in 2018!

    3:01 – Chris is pleased to hear that Sara Soueidan‘s first job came from something she posted on CodePen.

    4:49 – CSS-Tricks started in 2007, making it ten-and-a-half years old!

    5:18 – Chris loves empowering other developers by giving them a platform to show off their work. He also likes to share the cool things they’re building.

    6:33 – “A Lifetime of Nerdery,” gives insight into Chris’s upbringing as a “middleclass kid in middleclass United States, somewhere in middle-America.” He feels his priviledged background played a big part in getting him to where he is now.

    7:28 – Chris always knew computers would be part of his career. By obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree, he was able to combine his love for technology with his love of design.

    9:34 – Chris chats about the early years of CodePen and why things were simpler back then. The more CodePen grows, the more pressure he feels about the tech choices they make, and about all the people involved.

    11:23 – Email has proven a powerful tool for Chris. A lot of positive relationships and opportunities have come his way through email. “All good things happen over email”.

    12:02 – At Codepen they use GitLab for code-editing and issue-tracking.

    12:13 – Slack has been a vital tool at CodePen. Chris likes that it is both real-time, and not; it can be used for instant messaging, as well as for messages that don’t need an immediate response.

    12:30 – CodePen have recently started using Notion. In essence, it’s a notes app where processes, minutes from meetings, and any other kind of documentation can be stored and shared. It can be used for long-term, and short-term stuff.

    14:55 – There’s a lot of wisdom involved in knowing which new projects, frameworks, and libraries to pay attention to. He suggests keeping an eye on what’s going on in the industry, but not necessarily doing a course on every new tool that comes out.

    15:21 – Chris suggests being slow and considerate in your technology choices. Although there are popular new libraries like Vue.js out now, the decision for CodePen to go with a React stack made sense at the time.

    16:59 – “…an untold story of a really good like React and TypeScript based front end is that it’s less buggy because the way that you write code is less problematic”.

    18:34 – Chris believes that browsers should keep up with what developers are trying to force the web to do, and to accommodate it.

    19:25 – Stay up to date by reading industry rags, signing up to a few email newsletters, and reading the README’s of new libraries. Then file the important information somewhere in your brain for when it might prove useful.

    20:34 – Chris suggests changing up the way you work. Don’t get complacent; try new frameworks, libraries, and processes. Constantly reevaluate the way you work and how you could be doing things differently.

    22:44 – Chris would like for Prettier to be more configurable, so that instead of using stylelint for CSS and SCSS checking, and Prettier for code formatting, both could be done using one tool.

    Quickfire Questions

    23:59 – Best advice about programming

    Although technology constantly changes, humans don’t. Always remember that whatever you are building is for a human.

    24:55 – Habits for writing better code

    Make time to experiment. Toss out your current way of working and try something completely new. And then, to solidify what you’ve learnt, write about your experience.

    25:42 – Book

    “Learning jQuery” by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg

    “Design for Community” by Derek Powazek

    26:50 – Inspiring devs

    David Khourshid for his work with animations and state machines. Mina Markham for highlighting the importance of design systems and their effect on people. Scott Jehl for his writing about performance, as well as everyone at Filament Group for their font-loading work. Jeremy Keith for his fascinating perspectives.

    The whole team at CodePen: Marie Mosley, Rachel Smith, Jake Albaugh, and Chris’s co-founders, Tim Sabat, and Alex Vazquez. He feels lucky to be working with some of his heroes!

    28:05 – How to learn to code from scratch

    Tackle learning code by using a combination of different resources. Use Google, take courses (Team Treehouse, or Khan Academy), buy books, and build projects of your own. Take a multifaceted approach to learning and things will fall into place.

    30:36 – How to work smart

    Be persistent. If something frustrates you, it’s probably a good sign that you should learn it.

    Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned

    CSS-Tricks

    CodePen

    ShopTalk

    A Lifetime of Nerdery

    GitLab

    Slack

    Notion

    Vue.js

    React

    TypeScript

    Prettier

    “Learning jQuery” by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg

    “Design for Community” by Derek Powazek

    Team Treehouse

    Khan Academy

    Contact Chris

    Website: https://chriscoyier.net/

    http://fixate.it/podcast/persistence-and-doing-the-things-you-love-chris-coyier/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  3. Progressive enhancement and the things that are here to stay, with Jeremy Keith | Fixate

    Published Feb 8, 2018

    Jeremy is the founder of ClearLeft - a passionate group of UX and digital strategists based in the UK - where Jeremy now heads research and development. He is the author of a number of books on web development, including his latest book, Resilient Web Design, has been seen on stages like An Event Apart and South By South West, and is also the creator of the world’s first Science Hack Day.

    Time Stamped Show Notes

    1:00 – Jeremy plays in a band in Brighton called Salter Cane. He also enjoys traditional Irish music and goes to Irish music sessions with his mandolin in tow.

    1:42 – What excites Jeremy most about development is when he can accomplish something that makes somebody’s life easier and improves their day.

    3:11 – Jeremy discusses the difficulties of the contradicting goals among the various parties involved in a web project; namely business, designer, developer, and user goals.

    3:37 – Jeremy uses the example of an e-commerce site to demonstrate how tricky it can be to balance competing goals. For example, if the designer only cared about the user’s experience, everything in the store would be free! However, this is obviously not in line with the business goals.

    4:51 – Jeremy got to know Andy Budd and Richard Rutter through their blogs and books about web standards. In 2005, the three got together and founded Clearleft.

    6:22 – At the time, only a few other companies were focusing on user experience. Adaptive Path in America was one of them.

    8:38 – Jeremy thinks design sprints work well. Clearleft blocks out a few days for a group of people to be fully committed to solving a single, defined problem.

    9:21 – Clearleft uses roughly the same sprint structure as the five-day model advocated by Jake Knapp and Daniel Burka of Google.

    10:56 – Jeremy likes the intensity of a sprint as long as it’s followed by a break. He advises against doing design sprints back to back.

    11:16 – Clearleft works with two different development mindsets: a production mindset, and a quality mindset. The production mindest is for transient products like prototypes, whereas the quality mindest is used when creating production-ready code.

    12:54 – Don’t get attached to prototypes and never evolve them into the finished product. Throw the prototype away once it has answered the question, “will it work?” From there, build the product from scratch using the quality mindset.

    17:38 – It’s easier to write code than it is to convince someone to change their mind. “Computers easy; humans hard.”

    18:16 – Jeremy admits to being an awful procrastinator. However, he says it sometimes works in his favour as he often comes across useful content for his blog whilst “goofing off on the internet”.

    19:53 – Jeremy has an “inbox zero,” but only because people know not to email him and because he archives his mails!

    20:12 – Jeremy mentions Jessica Hische’s term, “procrastiworking”. Jessica believes that, “the work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life”.

    21:01 – Jeremy gets frustrated by the sheer number of development tools available. Whereas before you could just open up the text editor, save some html and CSS and build something that works, now you have to set up a build chain, NPM, Webpack, Grunt, Gulp, Unicorn etc.

    21:58 – Tools are supposed to help you work faster. If you find yourself spending more time on the tool than actually doing the work, then it’s not really a tool at all.

    22:26 – In a talk by Anna Shipman, she suggests thinking of your servers as cattle as opposed to pets. Jeremy likes this advice. Don’t get too attached to your servers or to your tools.

    23:03 – Frank Chimero says that working in the web over the past two decades doesn’t feel like twenty years. Instead, it feels like five years done four times over because of how often devs have had to overhaul their way of working.

    23:47 – Although tools and approaches in the industry are often transient, Jeremy is convinced that progressive enhancement is here to stay. Persistent principles like this are what get him excited about development.

    24:55 – Jeremy is excited about service workers and how they lead to faster sites, offline capabilities, and in turn, an improved user experience.

    31:48 – Progressive enhancement starts with the lowest common denominator – the simplest technology to accomplish what the user needs to do. Jeremy says that the trick is not mess it up as you layer elements on top.

    35:01 – Although progressive enhancement focuses on technology rather than the user, the result is often a much improved user experience.

    Quickfire Questions

    35:38 – Best advice about programming

    Jeremy agrees with Hemingway’s advice: “write drunk, edit sober,” as well as Anne Lamott’s concept of the “shitty first draft”. When writing, get everything out of your head first, then go back and edit later.

    36:49 – Habits for writing better code

    Feed your brain effectively and you’ll produce better work.

    Although Jeremy believes that “produce more than you consume” is great advice in general, he says it depends on the type of material you expose yourself to.

    38:51 – BookThe “A Book Apart” series. Jeremy thinks it’s terrific.

    In 2017, Jeremy didn’t read any two fiction, or any two non-fiction books back-to-back. He believes fiction gives you a kind of empathy that non-fiction doesn’t.

    “A Dao of Web Design” by John Allsopp. Although it was published in 2000, the ideas in it are still relevant.

    41:05 – Inspiring devsHarry Roberts, Sarah Soueidan, Sarah Drasner, Jen Simmons, and Rachel Andrew – not only for the great work they’re doing, but for the fact that they’re sharing it too. To Jeremy, this is what’s great about the spirit of the web.

    Alice Boyd-Leslie, Zara Syversen, Amber Wilson, and Cassie Evans for the amazing work they do at CodeBar in Brighton. CodeBar is a great initiative for introducing a more diverse range of people into the world of building for the web.

    44:07 – How to learn to code from scratchCodePen, Glitch, GitHub, John Duckett and Shay Howe’s books, CodeBar: Being in the same physical space as somebody sitting down with someone who’s going to show you this stuff is going to help you.

    46:32 – How to work smart

    Share what you know.

    Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned

    Clearleft

    Resilient Web Design

    An Event Apart

    South by Southwest (SXSW)

    Science Hack Day

    Salter Cane

    Adaptive Path

    Google Design Sprint

    Procrastiworking

    Progressive Enhancement

    Service Workers

    “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott

    A Book Apart

    “A Dao of Web Design” by John Allsopp

    Brighton codebar

    Jeffrey Zeldman and Sarah Parmenter’s, “Ask Dr. Web”

    CodePen

    Smashing Magazine

    CSS-Tricks

    A List Apart

    Glitch

    Github

    John Duckett’s books

    Shay Howe’s books

    Contact Jeremy

    Twitter: @adactio

    Jeremy’s website: adactio.com

    http://fixate.it/podcast/progressive-enhancement-and-the-things-that-are-here-to-stay-jeremy-keith/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. Don’t forget the humans, with Jake Archibald | Fixate

    Published Feb 1, 2018

    Jake is a developer advocate for Google Chrome where he speaks regularly about Service Worker, application performance, and offline-first apps. Before joining the team at Google, Jake worked at Lanyrd honing his performance skills, and before that worked at the BBC creating an inclusive experience for users with disabilities.

    Time Stamped Show Notes

    0.56 – Jake started working at the BBC straight after university. He spent most of his time creating a Javascript library where he worked primarily on accessibility.

    1:15 – Jake’s journey with offline-first applications started when he joined the team at Lanyrd in 2012. One of the reasons the Lanyrd team wanted offline capabilities was to address poor wifi conditions at conferences.

    4:04 – Jake is passionate about the web platform. He loves that you can write something once and it runs on OSX, Windows, Android, as well as other obscure operating systems. He likes that someone can experience an app without any kind of install steps or too many compatibility issues.

    5:13 – He finds it exciting going to conferences and hearing people talk about progressive web apps. He likes that people are choosing to build PWAs instead of native apps.

    7:03 – Jake was in Bangalore a couple of years ago. He found a lot of local dev teams were using Angular 1 to build mobile apps. Angular 1 isn’t suitable to build mobile apps as the framework is really big and slow. It’s especially not suitable for apps in India.

    7:54 – He is amazed that in just a short few years dev teams in India are now more focused on performance. Many are using Preact because it’s a smaller library than ReactJs or Angular. It also does server rendering which makes things run much faster.

    8:09 – At a conference Jake ran, he did a site clinic where he and some Google team members did a performance audit on the participants’ work. One participant in particular builds sites for the US, however he builds them as if his target market is a village in India. His resulting sites work really fast in the US.

    9:04 – Jake feels it would beneficial to bring US and UK dev teams to Bangalore to learn how to better site performance.

    9:30 – In promoting offline-first Jake believes more privileged individuals need to be given use cases that are more relatable to their lifestyle. For example expressing that an app should still work when a person is on a plane with no access to data.

    10:56 – Jakes says “luck” and “being in the right place at the right time” has helped him get to where he is today.

    11:56 – He went to university in Middlesborough where he did a course in multimedia and trained as a Flash developer.

    11:40 – In the third year of his course, he had to organise work experience. Jake found a job at Reuters in London where he learnt how to work for a company and communicate with less technically minded people. He was offered a permanent job after graduating.

    13:22 – After Reuters Jake went to work for the BBC for four years where he learnt a lot about accessibility.

    13:38 – At the BBC Jake got to engage with more developers and also started speaking at small meet ups.

    13:51 – Jake’s big break was at his first conference talk while working at the BBC where he spoke about writing a JavaScript library at the BBC. The library had to support more browsers than usual and had strong accessibility guidelines.

    14:41 – The following year, Remy Sharp got Jake to talk at the Full Frontal conference in Brighton. From there he started to do more and more talks.

    15:50 – He was then invited to join Lanyrd where Jake learnt about offline-first and web standards.

    16:37 – He was contacted by Google to assess and give feedback on the new Chromebook. When giving feedback at the Google offices he met up with some people including Paul Irish and Eric Bidelman. Whilst having dinner with them he was invited to interview with Google.

    18:03 – Once he got the job at Google they asked him to work more on offline-first technologies. Jake said “No, I’m just the problems guy, I’m not the solutions guy!”

    20:12 – Jake talks about how they deployed the Javascript library at the BBC using FTP. It wasn’t secure FTP, it was just FTP drag and drop. There was also a shared password! He remembers one experience where they had an issue with deployment. This resulted in BBC’s iPlayer crashing during prime time.

    23:07 – Jake doesn’t feel particularly religious about tooling, although he likes Visual Studio Code.

    24:35 – Jake would feel lost without Github. He spends a lot of his day on Github issues. He prefers Github to mailing lists.

    25:47 – He feels there is a disconnect between developers and standards authors. He’d like to see this divide removed.

    29:12 – At a W3C meeting in late 2017 Ryosuke Niwa from Safari presented an idea called template instantiation. Jake is really excited about it. Template instantiation provides a special way to use mustache-like templating inside a template tag. It takes a lot of cues from hyperHTML and lit-html. It also allows you to make updates without the overhead of “diffing”. Mozilla and Google are also getting involved to improve it.

    31:37 – Jake likes to keep up to date with web standards and browser features. He keeps up to date with web standards through @intenttoship, by reviewing issues on the HTML spec and discussions in the YCG.

    32:10 – Jake tends to wait until libraries and frameworks are popular before he uses them.

    33:25 – The interesting part of ReactJS is the state and props model as well as the lifecycle of components.

    33:37 – He likes the single direction data-binding that ReactJS offers.

     

    Quickfire Questions

    35:06 – Best advice about programming

    Jake’s school art teacher said to him “you get better at painting with every painting you paint”. He believes everything you build, every library you write and every experiment is not wasted time.

    35:40 – Habits for writing better code

    He thinks coding makes him a “worse human”. He believes if you get trapped in coding, you can end up forgetting the humans behind it.

    38:40 – Book MDN helped Jake get more proficient in JavaScript. It continues to help him today.

    39:35 – Inspiring devs

    Jake admires Remy Sharp due to the amount he has achieved. Domenic Denicola and Anne van Kesteren for their involvement in web standards. He also looks up to Sarah Drasner‘s developer outreach, as well as her creative coding. He also admires Paul Lewis for his ability to design and code.

    42:16 – How to learn to code from scratch

    Use the MDN “Javascript Guide”, it will help you get into JavaScript. Also use Glitch. Glitch allows you to build quick demos of your apps. Read Jake’s blog. He says “it’s a back-up of his brain”.

    44:07 – How to work smart

    “Don’t forget the humans”. Think about your users! When using platforms like Twitter, don’t forget you’re communicating with another human.

    http://fixate.it/podcast/dont-forget-humans-jake-archibald/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  5. Understanding the basics, with Jonathan Snook | Fixate

    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

    Quickfire Questions

    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

    Vim

    Atom

    Visual Studio Code

    Docker

    Vagrant

    MAMP

    Self Control

    Kill News Feed

    Deep Work

    Rails

    SMACSS

    Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

    Contact Jonathan

    twitter: @snookca

    website: snook.ca

    http://fixate.it/podcast/understanding-the-basics-jonathan-snook/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  6. Pragmatism and fundamentals, with Harry Roberts | Fixate

    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.

    Quickfire Questions

    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”.

    25:45 – If he had to learn programming again, Harry says he would probably take a similar approach to what he did the first time. He would reverse engineer things and pick them apart. However, this time he’d start with the fundamentals about the internet. After reading Ilya’s book, he learnt that you can learn all the HTML, CSS and JavaScript in the world, but if you don’t understand how it’s getting transported to users, then you’re probably making incorrect decisions.

    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

    Service Worker

    Web Components

    Hacker News

    ReactJS

    High Performance Browser Networking

    Contact Harry

    twitter: @csswizardry

    http://fixate.it/podcast/pragmatism-and-fundamentals-harry-roberts/

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