Rambling On…

Professional Frontend Engineering Video — 06/26/2009

Professional Frontend Engineering Video

This video, Nate Koechley: “Professional Frontend Engineering” from Yahoo! Video, is a great presentation about the current state of frontend web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). I was completely captivated for the full hour and a half that the presentation lasted.

Nate started out with a history of website development starting with a 1994 version of the Yahoo! website and continuing until the present. He also spoke about the evolution of technologies and trends over the years. It was interesting to hear about how table based design became popular and why it was necessary at the time.

Next up was an overview of current beliefs and principles of front end engineering, which covered progressive enhancement, unobtrusive javascript, and the importance of making the website available to the largest possible audience.

The next section, Knowledge Areas and Best Practices, covered rendering modes, doctypes, and using each technology appropriately, i.e. html for semantic markup, css for presentation, and unobtrusive javascript for behavior. One thing I found interesting was that he considered it more important to keep the css code for each area in the same place by using hacks for IE6 and IE7, even though it would prevent the css from validating. I usually use conditional comments and separate stylesheets for different versions or combinations of versions of IE and can definitely see the benefit of Nate’s approach, as well as how it could be a big timesaver.

The presentation wrapped up with the ‘Why It All Matters’ segment which brought everything together and included a call to action for developers to stay vigilant, keep up with modern technologies and the bugs that arise from them, and to continue making the internet a better experience for everyone.

A Million Things — 06/18/2009

A Million Things

Ok, not really a million things, but it sure feels like it lately. Luckily, my new combination of meds seems to be working and it a lot easier to do things than it was not long ago. There are a few bad effects too, but so far, I think more good than bad. It is always a tradeoff.

Things that are going on right now:

  • Me and K are doing everything we can to be able to move to Baltimore. Things here keep getting worse because the economy is extra sucky in California.
  • Cleaning our house and getting rid of stuff so it can be ready for appraisal. We have dates set up twice a week until the end of July to get stuff done.
  • Working, working, working. Almost done with 2 projects and have a phone appt. tomorrow to talk about what will hopefully be the next one.
  • Learning CodeIgniter. CodeIgniter is a PHP framework for rapid application development. I am really loving it so far, but there is much to learn.
  • Learning jQuery. I use it often enough that it is kind of crazy to have to look everything up all the time.
  • Waiting for my iMac to come back from the shop. It’s been having random strangeness for a while now and AppleCare has given up.
  • Working on my MacBook which is a lot slower and has half the RAM of my iMac. Booted off a clone of my iMac hard drive. There is a 2-5 second delay almost every time I click something. Still, gotta love the bootable clone!
  • Made my last dentist appointment before Denti-Cal goes away on July 1st. I hate going to the dentist, but it was nice to have the option.
  • Creating a new theme for LBnuke. Not sure why. I still like this one, but I was inspired to start from scratch in Photoshop and learn some new design techniques while I am at it. Actually, first draft was made with pen on a piece of printer paper. No new techniques there.

I am very overwhelmed and so is K. For the most part, things are really good and we are very lucky. Still, it is hard to be stuck here and it keeps getting harder as the California budget gets cut more and more. We are both trying to stay positive and focus on all the good things. There are many, including 4 cats, and aforementioned computer 🙂