Contributing to Twenty Seventeen

Sami Keijonen shared his experience as a first-time contributor to WordPress default themes on Post Status. It’s an excellent read, especially if you’re interested in getting involved in WordPress Core or default themes.

Twenty Seventeen wouldn’t be the same without Sami’s work. His experience provides a good example of how to watch an open source community, learn from it, find a niche within it and attack when see a way to give back. My favorite advice is this:

Once you start contributing, you shouldn’t just disappear with no explanation. If you’re running low on time or have other obligations, it’s totally understandable, but be sure to politely inform others you can’t continue anymore, so they can pick up where you left off.

Chasing Tools

Mostly, I think the evolution is healthy. We should be iterating and improving on what we know. And each build tool does things a little differently and different people will find one or the other fits their workflow a bit better. The problem is if we blindly race after the next great thing without stopping to consider the underlying problem that actually needs solving.

Tim Kadlec explains the web industry’s obsession with tools perfectly.

We’re the Only Plane in the Sky

I love oral histories, and this is one that’s been largely untold about one of the most defining days in U.S. history.

If you’re an American, you remember how confusing, sad and scary that day was when you read it. But you also remember ordinary people did extraordinary things.

Thank you to all those who serve, from the armed forces to the first responders.

Have empathy today. Tell people you love them. Be nice to one another, even if you disagree with their politics, and especially if you’re unfamiliar with their background or where they’re from.

Hidden Expectations

Over the years I’ve come to realize that most difficult part of making websites isn’t the code, it’s the “hidden expectations”, the unseen aspects I didn’t know were my responsibility when I started: Accessibility, Security, Performance, and Empathy.

Dave Rupert in Hidden Expectations.

Dave Rupert writes about the responsibilities that come with building websites – the ones that often matter more than you know.

How to Learn Technical Things

The people that know the concept you are learning went through the same process that you are going through – often multiple times – to get where they are today.

The actual mechanics of learning are the same for everyone: you poke around, you push the edges of what you know, you make mistakes, you do dumb things, you struggle to understand, you apply it to problems you are interested in, and knowledge grows over time.

Jamison Dance in How to Learn Technical Things.

Jamison Dance has some great points in his article on learning. He goes onto describe the techniques of a skilled learner. It’s a process of making mistakes, asking questions, getting rapid feedback, being uncomfortable, comparing what you know and continuing to learn. As we’re trying to learn, we often forget that learning doesn’t just happen at all once but over time. And during each step, learning happens… Give yourself credit for that too!