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Weeknotes 21:23

December 16, 2021

Week of December 5 -11

Learning barba.js

Project work has slowed down for the year so I am taking some time for professional development. This past week, I started working through Petr Tichy’s free Barba.js course on I Hate Tomatoes. Barba.js allows you to add page transitions to your projects. Page transitions are one of the things that I have seen in several React projects that I really like. I had a project earlier this year that I would have liked to add transitions to but did not have the time to try to learn it.

The course demonstrates two different ways to add page transitions, one with CSS animations and the other with JavaScript animations. On Monday, I watched the videos for the CSS module. Then on Tuesday, I decided to rewatch the CSS module and follow along by coding it. And then I took an additional step of playing around with some settings and tried things a bit differently.

I have learned that experimenting like this is where I really learn and internalize the teaching so that I can utilize the tool or technique in my own projects in the future. I had the following tweet in mind when I decided to make this learning experience more hands-on.

I have spent some time this year working through Carl’s ScrollTrigger Express course on Creative Coding Club. But I have just watched the videos and not put in the hard work to get into the code. And because of that, I have not really profited from just watching the videos. I plan to go back and work through the ScrollTrigger course and build some things to make it stick.

I plan to play around with Barba by creating a playground branch on a project I built earlier this year. This will give me a chance to apply what I have learned and be able to see how Barba works on pages that have more content than the examples that Peter had in the tutorial.

Gutenberg post

Earlier this year, I built my first site that utilizes WordPress’s Gutenberg editor. We (LGND) wanted to build a more flexible experience than our typical site build so using Gutenberg made a lot of sense. Since this was my first experience with Gutenberg, I wanted to document things that I learned or techniques that I utilized if for nothing else but to be a reference to me for the next Gutenberg build that I do.

A couple of months ago at the end of the project, I made a list of things I wanted to cover in my post. I took time last week and finally put together those thoughts on my blog while they were still somewhat fresh in my mind. I am still upset with myself that I did not write a post about my first experience building a site with WooCommerce (2017), though I have not built a WooCommerce site since then. I missed out on an opportunity to be an additional resource for others through all the different things I learned and tricks I picked up that helped me complete that build.

Read the post, First Gutenberg Project.

Nutcracker Week

The Flower Corps of Chattanooga Ballet’s 2021 production of The Nutcracker. My daughter is third from the right.

Every year that we have lived in Chattanooga, my youngest daughter has danced in Chattanooga Ballet‘s production of The Nutcracker. They perform it on stage at the Tivoli Theatre, which was built in 1921 with a Beaux-Arts interior style that was popular for movie palaces of the time. It is a professional production with live accompaniment by the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. It is a great privilege to be involved in such a high-quality production. My oldest daughter danced in The Nutcracker for three years. One year, my oldest was a soldier and the youngest a mouse and they fought each other in one of the scenes.

“Nutcracker Week” is the culmination of months of hard work and rehearsals. It is a busy week. My daughter was in the flower corps this year and she was in both casts. She had dress rehearsals at the Tivoli from Tuesday to Thursday. Then she was up earlier on Friday, after a late-night Thursday, to perform for school children. Then she had a full weekend of shows on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and evening, with the final show on Sunday afternoon.

Our family attended the Saturday matinee show. I am just so amazed at the beautiful young woman that she is growing into. I enjoyed watching her immensely. She had a challenging fall season as she dealt with an injury that required physical therapy to prepare her to be able to dance in the show. I am so proud of how she handled herself. And I am grateful for the friendships she had forged within her classes at Chattanooga Ballet and with The Nutcracker.

Weaving the Web

Because it was Nutcracker Week, I spent many nights driving downtown to pick up my daughter after rehearsal or her performances. It also meant that I was sitting around in my car in a parking lot behind the theatre not knowing exactly when she would be finished. I decided to pass the time productively by listening to some podcasts. I also took time to listen to the audiobook of Weaving the Web, by Tim Berners-Lee.

I had recently seen someone mention it in a post. I have also been listening to Jay Hoffman’s Web History. I thought it would be fun to go to the original source. Weaving the Web tells the story of the Web’s origins. The audiobook I listened to was read by the author. I felt like I was sitting in a room with Tim Berners-Lee and he was personally telling me the story. Much of it was familiar as other sources I have read must have used this book as source material.

Much of the book’s material covers the history of the Web before I got involved with building websites in 1999. I was first introduced to the Web at Kansas State University when I reported for my first assignment with Campus Crusade for Christ. I would visit one of many computer labs on campus to access email for the first time and from time to time, surf the Web.

At first, it was more of an entertainment and curiosity thing. Later I started utilizing some different sites to download resources that helped me in my job or read articles. It was two years before I got a computer and signed up for a Compuserve account so that I could use the Web from the comfort of my home and without a time limit (because there were always people at the computer lab waiting to use a computer).

I have lived much of the Web’s history. But the origin of the Web was something I was less familiar with. I am always struck with amazement as I learn the stories of how things came about. And no less so than with the story of how the Web came to be. The Web was shaped by Tim who has a very practical need to be able to organize and recall information about people and projects at Cern. It is fascinating how his father had ideas about how to make computers more like the human brain in making connections between two distinct sources of information. And how Tim talked with his father about that and it planted a seed.

I enjoyed hearing about Tim’s different experiments which eventually led to using hypertext markup, the foundation of the Web. And to see how the right players came in at the right time to help develop software or to come alongside Berners-Lee to help him to communicate and promote the Web. And to see how the Web was able to develop apart from commercial interests and be accessible to everyone, which is still something that has to be fought for. I am really glad that I listened to this book and learned more about the platform that has changed our lives and been so central to my employment over the last 20 years.

In the last chapter of the book, Tim shared some thoughts about the future of the Web. He talked about it being more of a collaboration tool, which was his original vision. I would really enjoy getting to hear his thoughts on how the Web today, 21 years later, has fulfilled or fallen short of the ideas that he shared in that last chapter.

Articles I read

Books

  • Providence – I finished this book on Sunday. It is one of the longest books I have read. I really enjoyed this book and the way that it challenged me to look at God in new ways.
  • Responsible JavaScript – The latest release from A Book Apart. Already challenging me to consider how I use JavaScript in my development work. There is a great chapter that explains how the different metrics you find in the network tab and how to debug performance issues.
  • Gentle and Lowly – One of the favorite books I read in 2020. I decided to read it again. I am glad that I did. One of the best books on understanding the heart of Christ toward his people. I think this is one I will continue to come back to each year because I need the truth of the message to counter my misconceptions of God.
  • Image Optimization – Just cracked this one at the beginning of the week. One of the few physical books I bought this year. I can’t believe I have not picked this one up sooner.

Listened

Watched

  • Away (Netflix) – I finished watching this sci-fi drama. I was bummed to find out that Netflix canceled it after one season. I liked the show and the character development.
  • Frasier (Peacock)
  • Hawkeye (Disney+)
  • Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)

Played

  • MLB The Show 21 – Continuing franchise season Atlanta Braves. Just made it into May.
  • NHL 17 – I picked this game but up this week with a franchise I created, the Portland Lumberjacks.

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