Environment Part 3

Lately I’ve been doing the majority of my coding at work. I like to code during my lunch break and this is a pretty nice setup to do it on. Dropbox acts as my version control system and I can have my files pretty much wherever I go.

I enjoy seeing other web dev’s setups so here’s my contribution.

On to other news: Minimal Tasks got a really cool review on my neighbor’s (and good buddy’s) site: gotworship.net. Thanks Jason!

Minimal Tasks and a Real Web Host

It took me awhile, but I now have a project entry on my Projects page! Minimal Tasks is a project I’ve been working on for the past few months. It’s a super-simple, no login required, task entry site. It uses the localStorage attribute currently in-use using HTML5. So your tasks are all stored in the browser – no need for a server-side database and no need for logins as well.

I originally got the idea while at work. I always had a Notepad window open or two just to jot down quick tasks or notes but all those windows got buried underneath everything else. Typically at the top of that window “pile” was Chrome, my main web browser. Since I always had that open and spent 90% of my day in Chrome, I wanted to add tasks in there as well. And that’s how Minimal Tasks started.

On to other news: this site is now officially hosted on a real web host! I’m still debating on whether to move to WordPress or not, but for now I’m happy. Expect some changes soon as I get used to the new space.

And yes, I changed the theme again.

Re-design Euphoria

A disclaimer: this post has been in my drafts since about version 3 of this site. I’ve added them up (including the designs that never made it) and I’ve created about 27 variations of this site. Yes, 27.

Creating a website design for someone like myself who is not particularly artistic, is a laborious, frustrating process. Yet at the end, I have something to show others for it. Code, at its core, is hidden. To view the code for this site, obviously you would right-click on a non-image part of the page, and click on “View page source”. Not too many non-developers are inclined to do that. So I’ve been spending more time on design then content, when it should be the opposite.

This more simplistic, minimal design took me about three total hours to make everything the way it is. My sister (an amazing print designer) could have designed this site in five minutes. And that’s giving her three minutes to sip on some coffee.

I’ve re-designed this site again to include just the basics. The goal is to stop trying to make this site look pretty and produce more content. Musings about development and finally adding items to my Projects/Portfolio page are on the way.

Music Listening

I’ve finally settled on a new way of listening to music at work, which is where I do the majority of my listening. Instead of listening through iTunes with my iPod, I now listen to Pandora primarily and once I find a new band I like, I open Spotify, add all their past albums and continue listening to them through there. I tried using Spotify as my primary listening software but I like the shuffle/radio-ness of Pandora.

The big downside to Spotify is that it currently requires a Facebook account to login. I had cancelled my Facebook account about six months ago but I created a throw-away account just to get Spotify. It’s that good.

The Future

I cannot wait to get onto a real web host. StatiCloud is obviously nice since it’s free, easy to setup, free, and great for static sites (and free). But since starting this blog, I have a greater understanding of how crucial a CMS is.

A CMS or Content Management System (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) enables bloggers to easily produce content. A CMS usually has a built-in commenting system that requires no coding at all to setup unless you’d like to add some style with CSS. With a CMS, you can make a single blog post without having to manually move another post to another page since your first page is now too long and everything has consequently been ruined. And my favorite feature of a CMS: you can make one design change which then propagates to all other pages! Amazing! These are obviously just a few of the features that a CMS provides, but these are the ones that I think most pertain to blogging.

I enjoy having the control that I have over this blog, but even writing a simple blog post can take some time. I would rather focus on the content then coding every little element.

Don’t get me wrong – this blog has increased my knowledge of HTML and CSS greatly. I would recommend the way that I’ve learned to just about anybody starting out. But… WordPress is calling my name and I can’t wait to jump over.

Faster

Everyone wants a faster loading website. One tip that I came across the other day is to move your scripts that you would normally include in the head tag down to just above the closing body tag. Since your website starts loading from the top of your code to the bottom, the extra scripts at the bottom will load last enabling your main, view-able content to be loaded faster.

Follow the link for more speed tips.

Environment Part 2

I code primarily on a Dell Latitude D620 running Windows 7. It has 3GB of RAM, a Core 2 Duo CPU running at 1.66GHz (which also runs extremely hot), and a 250GB hard drive. I like to have it sitting in it’s dock with another monitor attached, but usually I just use it by itself.

Do I wish for a sleek, amazing Macbook Pro? Of course. In fact, I would go so far as to say I yearn for a Mac. But this laptop gets the job done.

I can wish all day for a new laptop (and I usually do), but that doesn’t change the fact that this laptop still works. A piece of advice that I can offer when trying to learn how to code is do so in the environment that you are currently in. Using a 486 computer that’s fifteen years old running Windows 3.1 with a monitor running 640×480? Go for it! One of the best ways to learn code is simply to write it! Amazing, right? Daily writing some form of code can be a challenge but it’s the best way to learn.

I’m organizing some more links to share to continue on with this “learning” theme. I’ll get that posted soon.

Environment Part 1

Nine minutes have gone by since my last post and I’m ready to post another entry – so far this is going well.

Sublime Text is currently my coding environment. I used to use Notepad++ but Sublime won me over due to its fantastic themes, a great looking coding window, and also this post from Nettuts+.

Sublime is free to use (but prompts you to purchase a license after some use) and does not have the “clunky” feel like Notepad++. Sublime feels like I went from Windows 95 to Windows 7. It has a great snippets manager (as does Notepad++) but there’s something to be said about the aesthetic of the software you use daily: it needs to look decent.

Here’s a screenshot of my coding window:

Hello and Welcome

It seems to me like the very first post should always be some kind of greeting.

Hi, how are you? I hope you are doing well.

Since we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about me. I am currently a Desktop Support Technician that also does some Web Development work but I’ve caught the coding bug and Web Development is all I want to do.

This site will be a blog about my learning of coding, web standards, typography, and probably some random posts here and there.