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Weeknotes 19:09

August 14, 2019

New Project

I was really glad to be tasked with a new project last week. The project involves building a WordPress template with PHP, HTML, CSS and some Javascript for functionality like accordions, site navigation reveal, and some DOM manipulation.

My favorite type of code to write is CSS. I really love bringing a design to life with CSS. After spending a couple of days building out templates and structuring with semantic HTML, I was able to bring the design of this project to life pretty quickly. There are a lot of repeating components and patterns.

Most of my project work recently has been heavy with Javascript animation using GreenSock. These projects are fun but they can be very challenging mentally. Using GreenSocks and thinking through how the animations are going to work are new skills to me that I am still building. So it is nice to have a break and work on a project that is a little less taxing and more the type of project that I really like to work on.

Project Notebook

One new thing that I am trying out on this project is keeping a project notebook. I had first come across the idea when reading an article about case studies/portfolios. (I cannot find a reference to the article in Evernote where I usually bookmark things like this.)

The benefit of keeping a project notebook is that I could record certain decisions I make during the project and why, document my process, think about the challenges I faced in implementing the solution, and other thoughts about the project I have along the way. Having all this documentation would make it easier to write a case study at the end of the project because there would be plenty of material to reference. And it would be even more of a benefit if the time between the end of the project and the time that I make to sit down and write a case study is more than a couple of days or a week.

Case Studies

I started thinking about this a couple of years ago. So much of the work I do is transient. As I look back at sites I built 2 and 3 years ago, very few of them are still online. It is hard to show your work if it keeps disappearing. My thought is that a case study has much more life. It could even be supplemented with code examples on Codepen or just on this site to show how I solved a particular problem in implementing the design.

Origin Stories

Last week I was having a conversation with a colleague on Slack. She mentioned that she had been a translator before she got into design. I told her that she should write up her origin story–I know I would love to read it.

I also enjoy reading about how someone got to where they are today. Usually they did not take a straight path to where they are now in their career. I find it very interesting how different life experiences lead people in different directions. I put out a suggestion to my team at LGND that we should write up our origin stories and share them on our site.

I had written an origin story for my about page when I first created this site. I also included some more history along the way. But it was a bit dusty to I took it off a couple of years ago. But I inspired to dust it off, freshen it up and add to it. I also have some other stories I would like to share about my journey working on the Web.

Reading

  • Getting to the Heart of Digital Accessibility – I believe I read this a couple of weeks ago but wanted to highlight it. Author makes a good point about the journey of accessibility practice. I am either in Stage 2 or Stage 3.
  • A Year of Working Remotely – I really liked this personal perspective on remote working. I thought it was very balanced and liked that he started off by saying it is complicated. The reality is that it is not for everyone and it is not perfect. There are trade-offs to be made with either model. I have worked remotely from home for over 5 years now. It has worked out great for me but I know it is not for everyone.
  • An Essential Tool for Capturing Your Career Accomplishments – I really like the idea behind this article. Fits in with what I was talking about with keeping a project notebook. I had come across a similar idea several years ago when I was more active in the job search. I can see it also being a great tool for encouragement as you have a list of accomplishments to reflect on–especially on those “today is not a good day for science” days.
  • Thrawn – I enjoy reading Star Wars fiction. A friend of mine had read the book recently and I decided it was a good time to jump in since the third one was just recently published. Not sure where I would rank it in comparison to some other Star Wars novels I have read in recent years. I think I enjoyed Darth Pelguis and Tarkin more. But overall a really good story and I look forward to reading the next 2 books in the series.

Watching

  • I finished Season 3 of Enterprise last week (Netflix)
  • I have continued to watch Frasier with my wife in the evenings (Netflix)
  • I have enjoyed watching Blown Away with my family on Netflix

Gaming

I took most of last week off of gaming. And then spent the weekend playing for 2-3 hours a day. I have been playing a season in MLB The Show 18. But I am seriously considering not finishing it. I just feel like I could spend my time doing other things that give me more satisfaction like reading or writing.

I am excited about FIFA20. I am thinking about buying it when it comes out next month. Most years I ask my mom to get it for me for Christmas.

Sports

One of the reasons I am excited about FIFA20 is that I look forward to playing with Watford. They made two really important signings last week. They signed Danny Welbeck and Ismaïla Sarr. I had obtained Sarr on transfer when I was playing with FC Barclona in FIFA18.

I started following Watford several years ago. My son’s soccer coach had been in the Watford system as a youth. But injury forced him to stop pursuing soccer as a career. I have played with Watford in FIFA several times. I also enjoyed watching a behind the scenes series, Behind the Badge a couple of years ago.

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