“Front End Web Developer” has a whole new definition

I’ve believed that being a serious Web Developer today has a lot more requirements than it did 10 years ago. I’ve been looking for an article like the one I read recently for a long time to support my theory.
Paul Irish from google mentioned this subject in a recent interview by Nick Petit from Team Treehouse and confirmed my belief.
And then I came across an article, A Baseline for Front End Developers which really broke down the skills a Developer today needs.

Once upon a time front end web development was about marking up some files with HTML later on with CSS as well and uploading them to a host and boom you were a web designer. Those days are over! Now, due to the increase of devices and app creation and the desire for browser control, plus the fact the front end web development is now being taken seriously and viewed in a different light, the expectations are becoming much higher. HTML, CSS & Jquery/Javascript will no longer suffice as credentials of a front end web developer.

Blogger Rebecca Murphey says in her article (April 2012),  A Baseline for Front End Developers:

Maybe it’s the result of people starting to take front-end dev seriously, maybe it’s browser vendors mostly getting their shit together, or maybe it’s front-end devs – again, myself included – coming to see some well-established light about the process of software development. Whatever it is, I think we’re seeing the emphasis shift from valuing trivia to valuing tools. There’s a new set of baseline skills required in order to be successful as a front-end developer, and developers who don’t meet this baseline are going to start feeling more and more left behind…….

She goes on to say in much more detail than I will go into here, that a front end web developer today is expected to be familiar with:
1) Git (github)
2) Modularity, dependency management and production builds
3) In Browser Development Tools ( I love Mozilla Firebug but most popular now is probably Chrome’s Developer tools)
4) Command Line use (definitely much more practical to do on a mac than on a pc)
5) Client side templating
6) CSS Preprocessors (SASS, LESS, etc.)
7) Testing
8) Process automation
9) Code quality

and I would probably add
10) Knowing another language (Java, PHP, C, C++  to name a few)
11) and being able to use software like photoshop, illustrator, or indesign
12) having, at least, basic graphic design skills
13)  Search Engine Optimization  (SEO)
14) Social Media Tools (on a developer level not just a user level)

This is just the basics of being a front end web developer today.
Yes it is intimidating.
But that’s the direction in which this whole developer category is going.
We can either choose to hop on the train or watch the train go by.
Today I still choose to hop on the train & go for the ride.

What are you working on? A show and tell for Designers

what are you working on?

Found another cool site like behance.net called
Dribbble.com. 
What are you working on? Dribble is a show and tell for designers.
(to quote the actual website.)
Seems to be even more popular. Lots of designers (graphic, web etc) post things they are in the progress of working on, have completed etc. and on some of their self promotional sites they use a dribbble link as their portfolio instead of building the portfolio on the site. Some very popular web designers on this particular site as well as some up and comers. And there are defintely 3 B’s in Dribbble.com.  Check it out!

Social Media is Dead?

This is a re-posting of an article  by Chris Dessi, CEO of Silverback Social, which I found quite poignant….

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The past two weeks have been unique. Last week I was in Syracuse, New York training a brilliant sales team at BlueRock Energy. The week before was spent hopping from borough to borough with the talented team at Vanguarde Consulting speaking with small business owners (save the Bronx due to a scheduling mix up).

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Both weeks were filled with powerhouse executives who were charging headlong into the world of social media. All of them embracing the seismic shift of social media, and frankly it was inspiring.

I saw sales representatives like Wendy Defazio of Bluerock Energy migrate from a barren LinkedIn profile into a thriving, engaged, and appropriate profile that will surely help her close business in the coming months.

While working with the City of New York for a special program sponsored by the Pivot Conference and Social Week called “Social Week Gives Back”  I was able to chat with small business owners in each borough and discuss how sales professionals can leverage social connections to boost sales.  I was inspired by the work Natasha Bernardez is doing with her Twitter account for her holistic and socially responsible food business. We were Tweeting just moments after I lectured in Queens – she “get’s it.”

It took all of this (every interaction with every person over the past two weeks) for me to realize this.

Social Media is dead. 

So here I am – climbing up on my soapbox to proclaim a bombastic (seemingly negative) platitude about social media. Why on earth would I do this? I mean, after all – social media is my bread and butter, the core competency of my business and the lifeblood of all television appearances, radio appearances, and blog posts (this one included). The reason? It’s 2012 – there are 1 Billion people on Facebook, the average Facebook user is 40.5 years of age (Pingdom). Twitter generates 1.6billion search queries per day (yesmail).

It’s clear to me that the manner in which we aggregate and disseminate information as a culture has definitively changed. Social media is dead because EVERYTHING is social media.

If you have no mobile device, and you decide that you don’t want to participate in social media – chances are that someone has photographed you with a mobile device and that image is on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you own a business the chances of social media happening to your brand are even greater.

Five Mobile Systems
Five Mobile Systems (Photo credit: carnero.cc)

Recently, while speaking on a panel in Greenwich, CT a woman in the audience stood up to complain about this very message – that whether you like it or not social media is happening to you – and that EVERYTHING is social media. She was proclaiming that she wanted her potential clients to call her. Stating that she had posted her phone number on her website in huge font and expected people to call her and that she had no desire to “do” social media. I calmly explained to her that before she stood to make her proclamation during the event that I had photographed the audiences (this woman included) and Tweeted to my followers. Whether she liked it or not – social media was “happening to her.”

Social media is dead because everything is social media now. We’re surrounded by social media every day in every way. Either proactively engage in this phenomenon – or become obsolete. You’ve been warned.

Authored by:

Chris Dessi

Title: CEO, Author, Television Commentator

Company: Si

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi is a CEO of Silverback Social. He is also an award winning digital thinker, television & radio commentator, author, blogger, and public speaker. Throughout his career in New York and London Chris has worked with Fortune 500 businesses and start-ups alike. His deep marketing acumen combined with his passion for psychology, sociology and cultural studies all reside at the fulcrum of …

See complete profile

More personal stuff to come this week as well…..stay tuned!

Responsive Web Design

The trend in Front End Web Development these days is Responsive Web Design. There are so many different mobile and tablet devices out there now that one must take user experience to another level. We want the audience to be able to take in the most important information that a website has to offer and be able to not only read the information without having to continuously scroll back and forth on small devices, but still be satisfied with the design.

Two wonderful examples of responsive design is CSS-Tricks.com and AnderssonWise.com. If you re-size your browser on a desktop the code does not break and you get to see the experience you would have on a tablet or mobile device. Or just visit the sites on the mobile device of your choice.

Drew Thomas owner of digital agency Brolik writes an informative article in SmashingMagazine.com on this whole subject called Looking Beyond Common Media Queries.

Part of what he says is:

When we code for only a general desktop size, a general tablet size and a general mobile size, we are forgetting about the infinite other shapes and sizes that our devices are and will be in the future (especially as TV becomes a more popular medium for Web content). We’re not truly utilizing the full potential of responsive design. We’re not truly coding for any device….

According to recent studies, 17% of all adult cell phone owners in the US access the Internet mostly on their cell phones. This is due to the economics of buying phones and computers. If someone can’t afford both, the phone makes more sense because it makes calls and browses the Web.

In addition to that, because of the recent increase in mobile-friendly websites, people are more likely to access information right from their phone, wherever they are, even sitting at their desk in front of their desktop! This is especially true if the phone is the most handy device at the time.

This is why we can’t assume use cases or goals based on device anymore. So we need to code so that our content makes sense on a 300 pixel screen, not a mobile phone screen. We also need to make sure that if we only have 300 pixels to work with, the most important content appears first, the second-most important is next and so on.

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Responsive web design is obviously quickly becoming ‘best practices’ in the web development world.

The goal for anyone who plans to become a current front end web developer will be to crack the responsive design nut and become competent in it’s practice.

Web Platform Docs is in Alpha

Designing for every vendor and browser and device on the web has become very complicated and will continue to become more complicated with the different browsers, mobile devices, and vendors.
Web Platform Docs is an open source wiki platform that aims to become a comprehensive current hub of information for web developers. And for once all the different platforms are cooperating. Adobe is big in this, Google, Microsoft etc… but it is definitely open source and open to anyone contributing to it.

Paul Irish a Google front end web developer says it much better than I do on his blog:

… it’s not a piece of cake to develop for all desktop browsers, mobile browsers, and all the device/OS combinations within.

It’s hard to track down accurate info, but hey we get by with an unruly combination of Mozilla’s MDN, StackOverflow, HTML5 Please, W3C/WHATWG specs, Wikipedia, and a mental inventory of blog posts, tweets and articles strewn over the internet.

Today’s announcement of Web Platform Docs, an initiative that’s been well over a year in the making, is huge. A few reasons why I’m pumped:

  • All browser vendors are working together to document the all of the clientside web: DOM, CSS, HTML, SVG, Canvas, HTML5, JS, ES5…
  • They’ve already contributed much of their content: all of the MSDN IE reference docs, the Opera Web Standards Curriculum, many HTML5 Rocks articles,
  • Full-time technical writers from Google, Microsoft, Adobe and others authoring content around new features in addition to the strong community contributions.
  • And obviously, a much more cohesive documentation situation, making it easier for us to develop with all the information we need.
  • Mozilla’s MDN content can be contributed!
  • The content is still alpha, but we now have a single place to document the web platform.

It will be interesting to see how Web Platform Docs  develops as time goes on.
Although I’m only learning about this, they say that almost anyone can contribute. So who knows, it may become the first community I become active in terms of contribution outside of my TeamTreehouse group.

Time, The Ultimate Resource

Josh Long from Treehouse.com writes yet another wonderful blog entry that I so agree with. Time is the one thing that trumps money and everything else and when used well you can work less and accomplish so much more…the motto of the Treehouse.com crew. (they work a four day work week!)

Here is Josh’s article :

In a world full of tools, frameworks, tutorials, articles, code editors, and Github, there is still one resource that is more important to the web professional than any other… time.

Time is the ultimate resource.

The problem with time is that it’s difficult to manage and no one has a way of creating more of it. People usually discuss time management in the context of using techniques, apps and strategies to speed up your work, but that’s where we all get it terribly wrong.

It’s not only about working faster. Sometimes it’s about not working at all.

Time has this controlling dichotomy of uptime versus downtime and distraction versus focus. There is a science to managing time that also means managing energy. In order to get what we need out of our profession, our lives, and our passions, we’ll need to master how we use our time.

Here are the areas I’ve been focusing on lately to better manage my time, downtime, work and energy:

Project Management

To get the most out of your time it is very important to clearly understand exactly how you’re going to use it. Having a project management tool like BasecampFlow, or the new Goes to Work, affords you the opportunity to map out exactly what you need to do so you can get it done. Otherwise, you may find yourself like a ship without a rudder, weaving in and out of ideas and tasks without truly getting anything done.

Understand what needs to get done, reverse engineer it into actionable steps, and get to work. This will make you exponentially more productive by the time you actually sit down to do the work.

RSS Elimination

I love to read. I especially love to read about the latest around the web (It is my job as a writer and editor after all). But I have to say that removing the RSS reader apps from all of my devices was one of the best things I’ve ever done. There are enough distractions in the world as it is. We don’t need software pinging us every time someone releases a new article.

I’ve found that the best information comes from the same few sources and that the really good content will always find me through friends or Twitter.

Designated Time for Work, Email and Twitter

I’ve found that my best work comes from singular focus on the task at hand. When it’s time to work, it’s very difficult to do your best work when you’re only 40% engaged. Multi-tasking was the buzzword of the 90′s but we’ve seen where that got us. Designate separate time to work, to check email, and to check your social networks.

Checking Twitter and Email twice a day and working in solid, focused blocks of two hours has seemed to work for me best.

Work Offline

This seems to be a lot to ask of a web professional, but it’s amazing how much stress can be removed from your life by working offline. As I write this, I’ve turned my wifi off and I’m working strictly in iA writer. If I’m trying to think clearly and deliver a solid message, I don’t need Sparrow dinging for email, Tweetbotswooshing for DMs, or Campfire ringing in the latest animated gif (although those do bring joy to one’s life).

Working in your code editor, or gasp, Photoshop offline will help you focus and will make you feel much lighter as you try to solve the world’s problems with code.

Saying No to Projects

Getting the most out of your time isn’t always about saying what you’re going to do. Many times it means saying what you’re not going to do. I think it’s good to want to help friends or take on all of the projects you can (we need money after all), but saying no to projects actually leads to being open to better projects that are more in your favor.

The key here is being able to identify the best projects and setting the best constraints up front. Leverage your time by doing the best projects, that create the most benefit, and in the least amount of time. Talk about a win/win/win.

Spend Time with People

Many times the best thing a web professional can do is to get away from the web. Time spent with friends and family is time well spent because it increases your capacity to do more work by renewing your energy. The hardest thing for web professionals to remember is that we’re human first. There is absolutely no replacement for human love and interaction. Don’t ignore the ones you love that are all around you, to build foundation-less relationships in the virtual world.

I’ve had the great pleasure to interview and become friends with some of the best web professionals in the world. Every one of them said that their career took off when they identified what was really important and started spending more time with the ones they loved.

Spend Time Completely Free of Work

It seems counter-intuitive to say that being more productive means spending more time away from work, but working at 100% for 3 hours a day has been proven to out-produce 40% over a 9 hour workday. Our bodies and minds need to be renewed and that is nearly impossible if we’re always online and always working.

Conclusion

I don’t claim to have all of the answers. I don’t even claim to have more than five. But over the course of my thirty-three years I’ve been productive and I’ve wasted years of precious time. These strategies are what I’ve tested and that are currently working for me. Your ability to preserve your own greatest resource of time may differ, but I hope that this article has at least made you stop and consider your options.

What are some of the strategies you use to be more productive?

Read more: The Ultimate Resource – Treehouse Blog http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/the-ultimate-resource#ixzz29YlOZLLR

Behance.net –a nice site for posting portfolio & more

There is a very nice site called Behance.net where you can post graphic design, typography, logos, web design, animation, and a myriad of projects for people to see. People can also see works in progress, etc.
People are able to hire you, you can follow other creatives, people can follow you, comment on your portfolio, like you on social sites etc. You can find people by location…by discipline… It’s also a good way to be able to communicate with other people who do what you do or who do something that will complement what you do etc.
Worth checking out.

Behance.net