Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

It’s fun to learn

18th August 2015

I’m a self taught developer. I didn’t go to college or university and have pretty much learnt all my skills at home. It’s not uncommon of course so I’m not some sort of hero.

Most of what we do as web devs and designers is learnt from tinkering or making side projects and like so many others, I have learnt a lot whilst doing stuff for myself.

That said, I’ve been really lucky to have the chance to learn on the job too which I think is more valuable than sitting there trying to come up with ideas to learn.

Anyway, I’ve posted a lot about my lack of js/jquery skills but I’ve not really posted much about the stuff I’ve made from learning. I guess through fear of ridicule or the voice of someone more experienced having a pop at why I did things a certain way.

I’m less precious now as, well quite frankly. I care less and just want to get on and have fun with code.

Which brings me to the point of the post. Over the last year or so, I’ve really pushed the jQuery knowledge to the point now where I’m not scared. I have limitations but I am keen to push that. And I’ve been busy making, well pretty shit websites that serve no purpose other than to show off.

Here’s a few examples. I’m posting these to inspire. Not because they are fucking awesome pieces of work that should win a Netaward but because I had a go. And I encourage anyone to have a go. For me, showing that you are an active tinkerer is a sign that you are a good dev. To this day, I’m still baffled by devs and designers who don’t have their own site. It makes me wary of them.

But anyway, the sites

1. recommendr

I often don’t know what to listen to so I decided to have a go at a website that could recommend music. It’s very basic and it pulls content from a json file which was something I wanted to try out. Ideally, I wanted to pull in stuff from the Spotify API but it scared me shitless so I went with my own stuff. I’ll revisit this no doubt as I enjoyed working on it.

2. Virtual Wife

Yeah, you heard right. A virtual wife. This was of course a joke website I created but for a reason. I had access to some beacons that emitted a web address so I thought a cool thing would be to have a virtual wife for when I got home. Daft and extremelly pointless but I learnt how to access data from an array which again, was something I wanted to learn.

3. Mine’s a tea

This started out as me just drawing work colleagues as pixel characters in CSS (it was for a leaving gift) but I thought that maybe I could add more to it than just pretty pictures. And we drink a lot of tea in the office so I decided to have a go at a site that allowed us to select a tea maker randomly. With this, I got to work with more complex js than I was used to and I was quite pleased with the result although there is a bug that annoys me.

And that’s it. My daft projects. They might be daft but without them, I wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff I do now. That goes for the numerous times I’ve redone this website. It’s how we learn. Building things up from prototype to a finished thing. It’s part of the job that gives me a buzz.

Don’t be afraid to learn and have fun doing it.

Laters

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