Coding with VS Code

I confess, I switched editors again. 🙂

I first heard about Visual Studio Code on the Toolsday podcast, but didn’t give it much attention. I had recently started coding with PHPStorm, and was trying to embrace working with an IDE. Before giving it a go with PHPStorm, I enjoyed using both Atom and Sublime.

But a few weeks ago, I started using VS Code every day. I haven’t looked back. Here’s why:

  • VS Code really does blend the best of both worlds: a code editor and IDE. I like how I have all the features of Atom and Sublime, with a dash of PHPStorm.
  • My favorite feature so far? The built-in console. I love that I can do a lot of tasks in one app.
  • It feels faster than Atom, and certainly less cumbersome than PHPStorm, my biggest criticisms of each of my last two editors.

I haven’t run into many challenges in the switch because I tend to keep my editors lightweight, not using dozens of extensions. I have encountered some on and off issues with my PHP CodeSniffer and PHP executable configuration lately. I think it may be related to an existing bug in the extension though.

My current extensions include:

We’ll see if I run into any more challenges the more I use the editor.

Thoughts on Frontend Design

I’ve often said to colleagues that at times I don’t feel like I’m a designer or developer. Most of the time, I feel like I’m right in the middle.

I personally think that people who are skilled at frontend design are in a great position to help bridge the divide between the design and development worlds. They are mortar that help hold the bricks in place.

Brad Frost recently shared thoughts on fronted design, and a front end developer’s role in the design process. It resonated with me in a lot of ways, Besides identifying with the being in the middle of design and development, he points out everyone falls somewhere different in the spectrum. That’s the great thing about being a front ender – there’s so much interesting stuff to do and many ways to find it.

An Event Apart DC 2015: Day Two

Day two of An Event Apart DC 2015 kicked off with Brad Frost introducing us to a different way to create the pieces that make up the sites we build. As he went on, and speakers took the stage after him, I started to notice an overarching message forming from these separate presentations.

We need to challenge our assumptions. Whether it was Aaron Gustafson teaching us that we can love forms instead of hate them, Derek Featherstone taking us outside of the device “box” we have lived in or Eric Meyer reminding us that not all users are the ideal user… You get the idea.

We sometimes get caught up in the way we do things because of stale processes, tools we’ve used for too long or forgetting that the simplest approach to getting started works the best. Many of the presenters echoed ideas similar to this. I left the conference having that typical conference overload. So many new ideas floating around, I wasn’t sure where to start. But that’s my old assumption kicking in. It says I should master something before trying it in a project. But that’s not the right approach here. I just need to open the sketch pad or fire up a CodePen and start experimenting.

An Event Apart DC 2015: Day One

Today, I attended An Event Apart DC 2015, and loved how each talk touched on another, but yet little overlapped happened. I’m not one to write detailed posts about each talk because conferences help me expand my thinking, not show me exactly how to do something. They introduce me to topics, and point me in exciting directions. It’s still up to me to go in those directions though.

So what were they for day one? These are just a few of the points that stayed with me.

Jeffrey Zeldman encouraged us to get our ideas out there, newly formed or experimental. In code, sketch or blog post. Sarah Parmenter showed us data that the Web is more social than you think, but not like you think. Yesenia Perez-Cruz talked about how performance makes for good design. Jen Simmons brought us back to the world of funky magazine design layouts, and convinced us it much of it can be done with CSS — now. And Cassie McDaniel and Cameron Moll touched on the details of user experience and how they can serve as the connective tissue in your projects.

None of this is new, per se. But it is new when stacked next to where we’ve been as an industry and where we need to go. Each speaker provided that as a backdrop or touch point, so what is old is new and amplified. I’m excited to process it all a bit more and think about how I can bring it to my everyday work.

Every Browser is the New IE (To Me)

Maybe one day the Web will be perfect and complete and I will not need to reach for polyfills. However, if that happened I think I’d stop being interested the Web because it would then be a stagnant pond and not a surfable ocean.

Dave Rupert in Every Browser is the New IE (To Me). The mix of different features in browsers can get frustrating, but the challenge makes it fun. Most of the time. The Web is fluid, and I’m glad it’s moving forward.

The Ryanair Approach to Progressive Enhancement

Use progressive enhancement as a means to reward your users. Don’t expect them to do things for you just to use your product. If the tools you use means your users have to have a “modern” browser and load a lot of script you share your problems with them.

Christian Heilmann in a post about how using progressive enhancement poorly can become frustrating for users.