Reviewing 2012 and learning new stuff

Posted in on 9 December 2012

About a year ago, I wrote about Learning New Things for 2012 and joining the 12412 project – which was intended to be a starting point for me to learn new things during the year that’s now coming to an end. So, how has that worked out? Well, not that great actually although I have started some new ‘learning subjects’ and increased my usage of some things that weren’t completely new (cheat!). Here’s my summary of the year in that respect.

  • Geolocation and HTML5: I read up on this and learnt the basics but haven’t actually used it on a real project yet.
  • Sass: I’ve started a few small projects using the CSS preprocessor Sass (together with Compass app) and I quite like it. However, it’s actually quite a deviation from my normal workflow1 to use a CSS preprocessor so I’m not hooked on it yet. I also want to make my endpoint CSS better so OOCSS and SMACSS are a higher priority for coming months. I wrote about this in LESS or Sass or neither.
  • I’ve done a lot more with the CMS called Perch and this is mainly because that system fits really well with my client work. I also really like the approach that the Perch developers have taken where the site HTML is used as the basis for Perch code templates.
  • WordPress: I worked on the development of a site for Cheshire RFU that extensively used custom post types and fields earlier in the year so that was good for learning new WordPress methods. However, I’ve not done as many sites with WordPress as I would have wanted. That’s mainly because the projects haven’t materialised for it. I still like the WordPress system and, judging by the prices charged by other developers, I should be using it more ;-)

So, I have started some new things in 2012 but probably haven’t followed through on them as much as I might have. I am still determined to continue with a similar learning goal for 2013 because without the impetus from the 12412 project, I would have done even less.

One of the things that has impinged on my learning of new subjects is client work. Nothing wrong with being busy you might say – and I agree! However, it has meant that my motivation for sitting down and learning new subjects (and also working on personal websites) has been less than some previous years. I need to find a way to improve this in 2013.

One final point. This year I have started doing a lot more coworking than previously, both through the Horsham Coworking group that I started, and at the Worthing Coworking days. As a result, I have definitely been more exposed to other people’s ways of working and met some great people through it. Perhaps that wasn’t the intention of my post a year ago but coworking has provided a new experience this year and I think I have learned some (non-technical) things from this.

1 Despite comments from many other web developers, I still like using Dreamweaver as my main coding tool. As an all-in-one, coding, design, preview and site management environment (that I know very well), it’s actually tough to beat and I just find I can work really quickly with it. Sorry guys, it works for me.

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