Trying to Keep Up With the Web

As a largely self-taught web developer *collective code monkey facepalm* I often feel rather overwhelmed with the task of keeping up with what is possible in the world of web design and development. I’m sure there are many out there who often feel the same whether they’ve had years of professional training or not. Over the last two years I feel like I’ve expanded on my knowledge by leaps and bounds and yet I’m still out of touch with the cutting edge. To help combat this I’ve been making an attempt to vacuum up everything I find that is new or unknown to me and posting my findings here I believe will help a great deal. Or at least I’m trying… I figured for now I can start with how I usually start digging up ideas for a project.

My first stop has always been taking a look at the latest and greatest in web design and development using two websites that do a really good job motivating me:

1. Awwwards

2. The Best Designs

Sometimes the magic found on those websites makes me a little intimidated, but good design doesn’t come without striking a little fear into your heart right… right? At least this gives me a jumping off point. From here I tend to spend as much time as I am able (sadly it is never enough time) sketching out some layouts and trying to think about the UI. Then I start putting some fancy coats of paint on it. Choosing fonts is vital and in many cases the client is either big enough to have already paid for a premium font, or its time to dig up some free ones. The following sites are great for that:

1. Google Fonts

2. Font Squirrel

I almost always prefer a premium font when I can have one but I’ve found these two to be life saver. After the polish is done I move on to coding. Which is immediately followed by the face slapping for thinking I could possibly do any of what I just promised I could build out. Along comes the savior to anyone like me who sometimes does not properly plan ahead for the issues I will eventually face:

Stack Overflow

If it were not for Stack Overflow I would never have been able to discover many of the tricks and basics that I now rely so heavily upon. Which leads me to the skill I believe has been my most valuable asset: Googling. A combination of thinking like a computer and being generally in the dark about everything seems to make this second nature to me. I’m a firm believer that if someone could just ask Google the right question it may be able to return with the answer to the meaning of life… that or at least a link to a Yahoo Answers question where someone responded and got pretty damn close.

This is far from everything I use and I feel every new project (even when I start to get pigeonholed) leads down a new path where I often discover awesome new things. I’ll do my best to document what I find as I go.



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