Posts Tagged: web development

Javascript, I am just not that in to you

I like Javascript enough to work with it, write in it, and meet up for coffee/tea to hear how its life is going. But I don’t want to move in with it and have its babies.
I realize that in contemporary web development I am completely out of sync as everyone who is anyone claims that they want to move in with and have Javascript’s babies, be they JS babies of the web variety, bouncing server side nodes, or cute little mobile frameworks.
But maybe, many of the everyone who is anyone are feigning their deep, abiding love of Javascript, and maybe like me they would rather catch up with JS over a drink and occasionally write in it, all the while they are actually thinking about Python, or HTML, or Ruby, or CSS, Photoshop vs. Lightroom, or ObjC/C#/C++ or maybe even some chocolate or a beer. Maybe.
It is not just Javascript that I am not that in to, I feel the same way about Illustrator and PHP. With the latter, it is much easy to be honest with one’s technology peers and contemporary’s and say, “I know I have to occasionally use them to get the task done, but, wow, I really don’t like them.”, as most folks have critiques of PHP and they probably don’t really like Illustrator either. The the person will snicker and admit much the same or they will go into how if you just did it like this, you would like it better.
Javascript has gone through a curious arch of being cobbled together for the web, critiqued for being a toy scripting language, and then somewhere in the last few years it went to the gym, started doing supplements, got a bit of work done, and became the be all and end all amongst many contemporary developers right now. Javascript got its act together and even the previous critics are a bit entranced with it right now.
To admit that yes, I can write it, yes, I can tweak a framework, yes, I can… but no I am not using it in any advanced capacity because the truth is I would rather not, is quite a bit more risky right now.
Javascript, can we just meet up for tea or coffee?
How about you? Do you have a technology that is a common or currently trendy part of your design or development workflow that you cringe or have a big sign over every time you use it?

Coming on Ten Years

Ten years ago this week, I gave my two week notice at my well-paid but non-web related corporate job. I gave my notice so that I could go pro as a web designer rather than just doing it as a side job or hobby. I gave my notice so that I could start my own web design freelance consultancy. I gave notice so that I could teach web design and 20th Century art history at a local university. I gave notice so that I could grow into my new life as a full-time web designer.
My timing, I have joked for years, was impeccable. I gave notice to start a web design business right on the precipice of the Dot Com Bust of 2000/2001.
In the last ten years, I have built a web design and development business / freelance consultancy that has focused on small businesses, creatives, non-profits, and education related endeavors. In the last ten years, I have offered my clients not just a new web site, but also how to conduct an online marketing or promotion campaign, how to use the internet to grow a business or project, as well as helping the internet phobic get comfortable in this new space. It has at times been very satisfying and at others deeply frustrating.
Five years ago this month, I wound down my web design business and teaching at the university to go back to school myself. I packed up my whole life, gave up my lovely 1890s back of the house in Orange, and in Sept of 2005 I moved to Dublin, Ireland, to attend graduate school at Trinity College, Dublin. I went to graduate school with the intention of learning more about programming and web development, as well as to focus on a mobile project.
When I first returned from Dublin with my new minted Masters degree, I spent 6 months in a job search of which many leads were pursued, paths investigated and interviews conducted but none lead to a corporate web or mobile design job as I had hoped at the time. In 2007, I spent a great deal of the year trying almost any new professional adventure offered to me – speaking at developer conferences about design, working as a web developer contractor to an East Coast based agency, thinking & planning a mobile hack day, etc. In one way, this was good, as I got to discover what I did not want to do, but on the other side it was bad, as I felt like I was too full of post-masters degree energy and that I was scattered and did not focus.
For the last three years, I have been working more on the web development and programming side of my skill set, both on client projects and a large semi-collaborative web application, as well as mobile development projects. Something funny happened on the way to the web app forum, I discovered that what I knew to be true in early 2007 when I was interviewing, which was that I really did not want to work for myself anymore but instead work on a team doing bigger projects than one person can accomplish alone, is still very true, in fact truer now than it was in 2007.
Furthermore, I have discovered that the longer I am a freelance web designer and developer working with remote clients or on contract, the more demoralized I become. It is not enough to work on a remote team where there are weekly phone or Skype meetings, I deeply desire, be it a larger company or at an agency, to work on an in office/studio team to be a part of a larger whole than what I can accomplish on my own. I want to hear more than just my own thoughts or what little I can glean when I throw out an idea on Twitter. I want to participate in discussion and discourse, I want to be challenged, I want to learn from colleagues, I want to be able to mentor in turn, I want to collaborate, and I want to participate together on projects.
To this end, I have spent much time this summer dusting off my resume and working on how to best presentation of my portfolio. I have been watching the job listings at companies I admire and would want to work at. I have let friends and contacts know that I am starting a job search.
While most of my client work the last ten years has been mostly web based, be it web design, development or marketing, my true passion and where I have spent most of my non-client working time in the last five years is in mobile. If you have read this blog, you know that besides mobile blogging & camera phone photography, I tend to blog about mobile. Thus, I am searching for jobs in mobile and at mobile companies.
If you know of any openings in mobile for a passionate and bright designer / developer hybrid with strong talents in user experience, communication, marketing, and systems design, please let me know.
Follow Up: Anxious? No.

HTML5 : Some Serious Sausage is Getting Made

Project52 : Week 2
File Under: I didn’t need to see the shit squeezed out of the intestines before they are turned into sausage casings…
OR
Fire Under: How did the drafting of the specs for the new HTML5 and web standards turn into a serious detour in to the spider webs of Mirkwood?
Wow! The Twitter-verse erupted this last week on WTF is going on in HTML5 world:

“is there a good concise blog post anywhere explaining just what happened to HTML5 / WHAT WG last week? Seeing the trees, not the forest.” – @mezzoblue

‘Thinking of getting this framed: http://icanhaz.com/specdance” – @adactio

“Pleased that http://whatwg.org/html5 is back to being a spec called HTML5 (and more) rather than HTML (including HTML5). Thank you @hixie.” – @adactio

” ‘#HTML5 is a beautiful mess’: Sitepoint podcast with moi, @lloydi, @cssquirrel. Transcribed as well, thanks @sentience http://bit.ly/5rJmbS” – @brucel

“#html5 punch-up featuring @marcosc, @hixie, @shelleypowers, @johnfoliot http://bit.ly/4Ojp2v” – @brucel

And there are many more Tweets from Jan 8th to 15th on the subject of HTML5, the WC3, WHATWG, and the spec deliberations.
I am unabashedly a fan of strict XHTML 1.0, as I love the element tag minimalism and the strict code typing. If I code a site in XHTML 1.0, be it transitional or strict, I have few worries on what device will the site work on and I have fewer cross-broswer debugging issues than if I write in HTML 4.01 or the like. I realize that others want more features and the early specs of HTML5 appear to make better semantic sense, but the web standard spec and full browser adoption is supposedly years away.
I don’t like to watch the tech sausage being made, I much prefer to let folks duke it out behind some closet doors and then when the browsers adopt the spec, then I will learn it. My passion is in mobile and the web that works for all, not to be the first to use or develop a tecnology. On top of all of that, I am a minimalist. I prefer lean, mean, and elegant over busy, full-featured, and many-optioned.
I first noticed this week’s brouhaha when Dave (@mezzoblue) tweeted his call for someone to interpret and explain the forest for the trees (first tweet quote/link above). Tonight was the first time I had the opportunity to go through my feed reader and read some of the blog posts on the HTML5 rupture of the last 9 days.
I started by reading Dori Smith’s post, My (current) opinions on HTML5, on Backup Brain which was a good summary of the situation and how it effects the various parts of the web design and development ecosystems. Dori is clear sighted in the matter and I noticed quite a few comments, upon clicking on the comments, I was treated to John Foliot’s stident interpretation of Dori’s take on HTML5 and Web Standards.
I clicked over to Mr. Foliot’s web site to find that he was in full defense / offense mode all at once. ((O.o))
Mr. Foliot referred to Andy Clarke’s “Keep calm and carry on (with HTML5)
Faruk AteĊŸ attempts to find the forest for the close examination of the trees in “The Battlefield of HTML5
Bruce Lawson, Ian Lloyd, and Kyle Weems weigh in with a SitePoint podcast on “HTML5 is a (Beautiful) Mess
Mark Pilgrim asserts that nothing has happened other than the HTML5 spec is in the Last Call phase. Mr. Foliot continues his offense/defense bit.
Wow! See what I miss when I am working rather than reading… Wake me up when the spec is ready and the browsers are using it. Then we can slather the HTML5 up in some garlic oil, cook it up on the grill and make some beautiful, accessible web sites and apps.
No Mirkwood spiders, please.

Project52 : Blog Weekly Through 2010

Project52 : Blog Weekly Through 2010

Wed 12.09.09 – The esteemed illustrator/designer Anton Peck has proposed that folks get back to writing on our blogs and to encourage folks to that end has started Project52. I found about about Project52 through a few of Dan Rubin’s tweets this evening, followed the link, and decided to take up the challenge.
While I already (mo)blog here daily and have for a couple of years, I have realized in the last year that folks out in the big wide world tend to be confused by what I do professionally.
“Uh, you are a mobile user experience designer, right?”
“No, I thought she was a web developer.”
“You’re both wrong, she is a photographer and mobile blogger.”
Actually, all three plus some. Sorry folks, I am terminally curious and am driven make | create things online be it mobile|web.
I endeavor to take up the Project52 for all 52 weeks of 2010 to blog an article weekly on some aspect of my varied professional interests: be it mobile, web dev, a tutorial of some sort, or my opinion on some aspect of technology.
And yes, I will continue to inflict photos plus other textual bits on you daily through 2010.

Google I/O 2009, Day 2

Google I/O 2009, Day 2
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Here is my transcription of two sessions from Day 2, 05.28.09, of the Google I/O 2009. Per my usual, the following is a combination of live quotes from the speaker, notes off the slides, some paraphrase and a few of my own asides.
So far, Brett Slatkin’s Offline Processing on App Engine: A Look Ahead has been my favorite of the day. Lunch conversation with Prashant and Bastian was delightful.

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Google Wave Announced

Google Wave Announced
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Thur 05.28.09 – Google I/O keynote was Lars Rassmussen, Stephanie Hannon, and Jans Rassmussen giving a demonstration on the new Google Wave that is currently in development and the team is inviting the attendees of Google I/O to participate in developing the product and open source code before public release.

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Google I/O 2009, Day 1

Here is my transcription of two sessions from Day 1, 05.27.09, of the Google I/O 2009. Per my usual, the following is a combination of live quotes from the speaker, notes off the slides, some paraphrase and a few of my own asides.
Chris Nesiadek’s presentation on Android’s Interaction Design was my favorite of the day.

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Off to Google I/O

Off to Google I/O
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Wed 05.27.08 – Due to my plane being an hour late, I may miss the first session on how to code for Android. Even if late, I am looking forward to the Google App Engine and Android sessions today and tomorrow.