Development is not just an activity, it is a state of mind. In this episode we sit down with Colby Cook of Genuine (@wearegenuine) and talk about what it means to have a developer mindset. In our conversation we discuss what development has in common with construction, why approaching development as a series of steps is important and what you need to know about yourself as a developer.
In this episode, Adam talks to Kent C. Dodds about building downshift, a React autocomplete component he designed for experiences he needed to build at PayPal. Kent gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the library uses the render prop pattern to allow maximum customizability without complex configuration.
Joel Hooks co-founder of egghead.io, interviews Dan Abramov, co-author of Redux. They discuss the "Redux phenomenon" and the notion of improving the developer experience.
Dan’s Redux course has been the most popular course on egghead.io for years. What caused Redux to blow up as it did? Dan is here today to talk about the problems he faced that inspired him to write this framework, and all the experiences he had that led to it.
Joel and Dan talk about how quickly functional programming concepts pushed their way into the mainstream. When they were younger object oriented was how you programmed, Gang of Four was like their bible. However, Dan talks about the problems he was facing and how they inspired him to create Redux.
Dan’s belief that user experience starts with the developer also inspired Redux. The notion that a developer should suffer is silly. Having a tool that is a joy to use and allows a programmer just to create things is invaluable.
The frustration of getting started with React was enormous. You had to deal with Webpack and install packages manually and hope that you didn’t mess up. All this was hugely daunting for beginners especially. create-react-app was the solution for that. Allowing an easy way to get React going with a dev server and all, it let you just get in there and start building components.
Finally, Joel and Dan leave us with a note to those seeking to learn to program well. Read GitHub like it’s a blog. Read the commits, the issues, the PR’s, all of it. You might not understand what is going on now, but you will build fluency and eventually you’ll understand well enough that you can start to answer questions and contribute.
This week Eric Meyer joins us to talk about the past, present and future of CSS. Delving into some web history, discussing why CSS can be overlooked in regards to app development and the reasons people can be off-put by CSS this episode is a delightful insight into the mind of a web legend.
Basecamp co-founder and CEO Jason Fried on how to find a slow and steady approach to work in a world of constant interruptions.
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.
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
Dave Winer has been called the godfather of a lot of things. The godfather of blogging. The Godfather of Podcasting. One of the key people involved in the development of RSS. But as you’ll hear in this great and wide ranging chat, Dave Winer is just a software developer who has never stopped tinkering, never lost his interest in coming up with new tools and new technologies. Dave was kind enough to sit down and go over his whole career, from the very earliest days of the PC era, to the present day.
Lara Hogan, who literally wrote the book on public speaking, and Kelsey Hightower, speaker and chair of many tech conferences, join us to share their personal speaking stories (and nightmares!), how they prepare their talks, and the common mistakes they see first-time speakers make.
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
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