heatherpattern asks, "if you have any recs for things, I'd appreciate them. You mentioned that you did Access development, I kinda feel like I'm in an earlier place on your path, less pretty design."
When I was doing Access work I just went to Half Price Books and grabbed whatever was available. Access work is ok and the pay can be good if certified but I found it ultimately restricting and dull.
I started learning PHP out of high school and I just did a lot of Google searching to find what I needed. A great way is to start a blog or small site using Drupal or Wordpress, then start reading the code, learning how they make your site work. As you learn, you can change things around until it is your own.
Learning MySQL is free and will help get you acquainted with all of the proper SQL syntax. A lot of programming languages abstract databases out into objects, so most mid-end developers never have to learn about SQL optimization, but if you are working back end, knowing it is your butter.
With my friend, hotelechozulu, learning new programming languages, I thought I’d bulletize my random suggestions formed throughout the years. They aren’t anything revolutionary, just what I follow.
- Pick a language popular in your interest and have fun with it. For web design, I prefer PHP because it is highly documented but there is also Ruby (Rails), Python (Django), Node.JS (Express), Groovy (Grails), etc.
- Read a best coding practices book and make it your bible. Most people jump into learning a language before learning the core concepts of programming itself. Don’t nest methods inside logic statements, don’t put all of your code on one line, etc. Other people have to read your code.
- If you have to do something more than once, make it a function. You should never be writing the same chunks of code over again. Learn to do everything as a routine, even if it takes more time initially.
- Use a framework and never look back. One day when bored, you can learn how to write your own front controller and database factory, but until then, you have a project to create and frameworks help.
- Ignore the haters. Anyone who makes fun of you for using language A or brags about using language B is probably either insecure or a cock. Choose a language that’s in use and enjoy it. If it makes you money and gets the job done, who cares what it is.
- Don’t have an ego, you are not your code.
I’ve been using Node.js a lot lately, between the Tumblr chat system, Chatlr, and my upcoming Tumblr video game, reBOT.co. Admittedly, for most of it, I’ve been taking stabs in the dark at the code, testing what works, ditching whatever crashes the server.
So it’s nice to see that some books are starting to be written with the goal of introducing people to the language. If you are wanting to dive into Node.js to develop your websites or applications but want some clear cut examples of coding structures, The Node Beginner Book by Manuel Kiessling is a must read.
Thanks Jeremy for the link.
exitsandtrails-deactivated20111 asks, "No worries, man! Also, quick question. Tumblrchat, or whatever its new name is, it's a very, very good idea. It's the one feature that Tumblr lacks -- an instant messaging service/chatroom.
I can only assume you've pitched this idea to Tumblr directly? If not, how come, and if so, did they turn it down/want to use their own developers for the idea?"
It’s called Chatlr now and while I’ve casually talked with various Tumblr staff about it, it was always concerning API growth and seemed to always involve alcohol consumption. You’d have to ask them what their long term plans are. My primary goal is just to have fun learning new programming languages and design implementations.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve temporarily halted Chatlr development to focus on my social networking game, which uses the same base code. I actually don’t think that a messaging / chat system fits the mold of Tumblr, but I’m just a fan and a user. I developed Chatlr more out of a sense of “Can I do this and how would it work?” than out of a desire to fill a void.
Smashing Magazine has another great article (lets be honest, they are all great) about the missteps and misconceptions of corporate web design. I’d argue that most of the points could be applied to all websites, even if your ‘division’ consists of one person.
Web design, like most design, requires a constant dedication to staying fresh and organized. Walking that fine line between what’s comfortable and whats bleeding edge. Thanks Roland, my Jaduka coworker!