Studying other coding workflows
Beginning this past summer when I attended #frontendconf with some @ClemsonGC web students, I started to become very curious about other coding workflows. There are so many “right” ways to get the same general result in coding that I began to wonder how much difference there was between my way and other coders “right” ways.
When I was speaking on stage at #frontendconf with Alex Horne, one of the questions an audience member raised at the end of our presentation was how much time am I actually getting to spend coding. It’s a very legitimate question, especially considering the variety of subjects I teach in GC3400 and the amount of time spent in the lab each week. There really isn’t a ton of time to work on my own web coding projects during the semesters. That’s part of the reason I try to tackle personal projects during the summer and winter breaks.
My response to the question was:
I am doing some coding, but not enough, never enough.
Which is why, Mark Otto’s tour of GitHub’s CSS, Ian Feather’s tour of Lonely Planet’s CSS, and Chris Coyier’s tour of CSS at CodePen are such vital reading for me and my web students. For me these articles open up the door to explore coding workflows of other (really talented!) web developers and analyze my workflow to see if it is still current and the best option for my projects. Many times I realize that I am working too hard the way I am doing it and can significantly save time and key strokes if I implement this aspect of someone else’s coding workflows. It is a great way to learn!
For my students, I think these sorts of articles are valuable because they need to see that there are multiple “right” ways to do coding on their sites. Starting out I need to have their projects and coding workflow match what I am looking for them to learn. This allows for continuity and the formation of good basic habits. Once those are established, I am more than happy for web students to explore workflows, improve upon what they know, and through that develop their own coding workflow that functions best for them.
What is the general rule of thumb? Always know the rules before you begin breaking them!
All of this to say, I appreciate the openness of the front end developer culture. The fact that others are willing to float all they know out onto the internet for people like me to learn from is unique to web developers. And I hope the community stays that open always because I love the opportunity to learn from everyone!