Where I’ve Been and Web Development Tidbits

Where I’ve Been and Web Development Tidbits

A new year and a new job

So 2012 has already been a busy year. I’ve been working on some freelance projects, but the bigger deal is that I have taken a new position. I don’t like talking about where I work, so don’t ask. I am just not comfortable about putting that kind of info on the web. I do work in the city now (Chicago), so that is a huge change, but I’m very happy with where I’m at. Searching for jobs though was taking up a lot of my time, hence I haven’t been able to write any posts in a while. I am settling in now though, so that will change. Starting today!

Using a Version tool is cool, but a pain in the ass

I have used SVN before, and I never really had a problem with it. Mostly because there was only one person at a time working on something, so nothing bad ever happened. The only worry I really ever had was usually a permissions thing. Now though, I work for a larger company. Many, many people are working on the same projects at different times, which can obviously lead to some issues. Trust me when I say I have found that out the hard way.

Not only am I using Tortoise SVN, but Git as well. I’m using them every day, and I found out that while they do the same kind of thing, Git does not work the same as SVN. Sorry to say, it took me a while to figure everything out, and I probably annoyed a few people asking for help as well. I would have to say this has been my biggest hurdle at the new place, but I think I’m past the major problems I was having.

Getting to use new tools and experimenting

Well, I don’t know if you would call it tools per say, but different ideas than I am used to at work. There are a few big things that have me greatly relieved with my new position. I can use HTML5 stuff at will if it is applicable, and CSS3 stuff without having to worry about using things like PIE. It is refreshing to be at a place that actually embraces what is going on in the industry. Oh, and people love jQuery where I’m at. Trust me, that is new to me.

HTML5 Rocks! Or wait….does it? Crap.

Now back to HTML5 and all its glory. The more freedom I have with the use of the new tags and attributes, the more I realize that I am not a huge fan of the new tags. I’ve used them on my own site, and read about them, but I have really not put a lot of thought into ‘really’ using them. I’ve had to clean up a few pages now and convert them over to using a version of the HTML5 Boilerplate, and look into what tags I should use.

Know what I learned? People are REALLY f’ing confused about when to use them. You ever think about when to use a ‘p’ or ‘ul’ tag? No, because it is so damn obvious when and where you should. It is clear cut with no gray area. How about a section tag though? Go read this article by Louis Lazaris and you will realize he has it about right, saying this:

In short, HTML5′s ‘section’ element could be used in any instance where it contains standalone, non-syndicated, non-aside content whose wrapper is not for styling purposes. In other words: Hardly ever.

Read through the comments of that article and you will get a sense of what I’m talking about. I’ve seen major abuse of the ‘article’ tag as well due to confusion about when to use it. I think everyone gets that one now, but I understand where people can these things wrong. Just look at how the ‘aside’ tag has changed since people started using it. There was a time when it was NOT meant to be used for a tradional sidebar wrapper, but apparently enough people bitched to change some minds.

What bothers me the most is, while adding these new tags to a page, I feel like I am cluttering up my HTML again. Remember when it was get all the styles out and use as little as possible? Well now we are adding things back in.

Do I really need a ‘nav’ tag? I use it, but really I can style the ‘ul’ anyway I want without adding another tag to the mix. I do though, so don’t bitch in the comments. It is even more annoying when you read this article about HTML5 and SEO, because it is saying that Google doesn’t give you any advantage to using it at the moment. Will it? Sure, but who the hell knows when that will happen. Especially since nothing in HTML5 feels like it is written in stone. End of my ramblimg.

What did I take away from 2011 concerning web development?

Responsive web design is huge. I like the simple frameworks that popped up, and I plan on getting more and more into that. More people seem to be getting into CSS preprocessors, and that makes me happy. The more the merrier I say.

I also feel that, while CSS3 stuff is cool in general, it is going to be quite a while before transitions and animations are the norm. It didn’t feel like we got any closer to being free to use any of the crazy stuff. I’m ok with that though.

Really though, I didn’t find 2011 to bring anything ground breaking as I have before. Ya there are some cool ways of doing things, such as responsive layouts, but everything you needed was already there. Nothing new brought to the table, just a cool way of doing things with existing tools.

Anything else interesting I can pass along to my readers?

Yes, two things. I downloaded Sublime Text 2 to give it a whirl. I am liking it a lot. Especially because you can download a package that allows for SCSS syntax highlighting. That and the view pane make it pretty damn cool in my book.

The second thing I can pass to you is Voyage, a SASS and Haml WYSIWYG editor. I am not all that sure what the real value is yet, but it is still cool. You can test out your SASS and get the CSS output, as well as use Haml to template out your HTML. Be warned that I am not sure if it allows SCSS syntax, as it did not seem to when I tried. It does however work with any Compass mixins! Check it out though, its free.

I hope to be writing a more, so stay tuned. Follow me on twitter too and I’ll pass you guys stuff I find interesting.

Coupon Code: webmachine

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