November 16, 2021
Week of November 7-13
On Monday, we launched Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership for the Connect2Canada site. I started working on the project in early September. We had to build in a delay to the project because of the Canadian election. I really enjoyed working with the team at the Canadian Embassy and look forward to future projects.
I had recently been thinking about getting another monitor so I could see more things in my workspace. A teammate of mine asked me why I didn’t use Spaces (part of macOS). I had tried it in the past but it never really stuck. But I decided to give it another try this past week. And so far, I am really liking it and think it might stick this time.
Spaces allow you to create multiple desktops to organize windows. You can navigate between spaces using the control key and the left and right arrow or you can use a swipe gesture on the Magic Mouse (the way I have been doing it). I have been using different spaces for my browser, Photoshop, and VS Code on one monitor and Slack and email on my other monitor. It is a lot better than just having apps on top of one another and clicking on the app icon in the dock to switch back and forth.
Smashing Hour with Sara Soueidan
On Tuesday, I participated in A Smashing Hour with Sara Soueidan. It was a casual conversation between Sara and Vitaly (the founder of Smashing Magazine) where Sara shared about some of the work she is doing and answered questions from the participants. I have read several of Sara’s articles and watched a talk she did on accessibility at Smashing Freiberg in 2019. I really enjoyed this informal conversation and got to know a bit more about her. I asked her about how she handles fallbacks with all the new CSS that does not always have easy fallbacks and I was really impressed with her answer.
I enjoyed my day off on Thursday for Veteran’s Day. Because a lot of LGND’s clients follow the Federal Government calendar of holidays, our company does as well. It was nice to slow down for a day late in the week. I enjoyed a mixture of getting some personal things done (emissions testing on one of our vehicles and getting some things from Home Depot) and doing some fun things like playing MLB The Show 21, watching The Hobbit, and reading.
Frustration with Build Tools
On Friday, I was going to work on adding the second report to the Achieving Cross-Border Government Innovation 2021 Report that LGND launched last month. Since we launched the site, my work computer died and I am working on a new machine. And I am trying out CodeKit to help with my build/compile process. I had grabbed a copy of the site and cloned the repo on the new machine and dragged it into CodeKit. But I started getting errors when CodeKit was processing my Sass files. On my old machine, I was using Node, Git, and Grunt from the command line. But with this new machine, I am trying a new workflow that does not depend on having to install Xcode, Homebrew, and a bunch of other stuff. I wanted a solution that is self-contained.
The source of the problem seemed to be the partial files I was importing into the main stylesheet. I had not had that problem with other sites that I have worked on with the new machine but for some reason, it was a problem on this site. I decided to change from
@use to include my partial files. I had remembered that not too long ago, Sass had moved away from
@import to a “modules” system. But I did not understand how it differed from the old approach.
After much frustration with things not working, I took the time to read the documentation. To use variables, functions, and mixins, you need to use a namespace to identify where those things are coming from. By default, the namespace is the last component of the module’s URL, which in my case was
base. So I learned that I needed to add
base. in front of the variables, functions, and mixins in my
scss files. It took me about twenty minutes to get that refactored. All in all, I had to take about an hour to fix my code base before I could start the work I had planned to do on Friday.
- Inertia (Jeremy Keith) – I always enjoy reading Jeremy’s thoughts on technology choices and how it affects users. I definitely fall more within the same camp of thought as he does. I would like to learn more about Astro. I like the idea of doing things behind the scenes that do not add technical debt to the user.
- Why You Should Choose HTML5 article Over section – Sara Souiden mentioned this article during the Smashing Hour on Tuesday. To be honest, I felt more confused after reading this post. To me,
sectionmakes more sense than
articledoes. I think it semantically communicates intent a lot better when you have different page sections. I want to use more sectioning elements rather than
div. But I still find a lot of these elements confusing.
- VS Code Can Do That – I switched over to using VS Code earlier this year. But I have not taken the time to really research how to best utilize the tool. This site was a great starting point. I watched a YouTube video on Emmet after visiting this site.
- Yes, Design Systems Do Improve Developer Efficiency and Design Consistency -Article by Sparkbox based on a survey with their internal developers. This was also referenced in the Smashing Hour.
- Develop Your Dominant Questions – A challenge to identify the dominant questions you are asking, internally or of others. Definitely want to chew on this idea some more.
- What the heck is a Developer Advocate? and How do you become a developer advocate? – I have seen many people mention this role on Twitter and wondered what it was and if it would be something to consider down the road in my career.
- The problem with “click here” and “learn more” links
- Intro to VS Code
- 42 Visual Studio Code Shortcuts for Boosting Your Productivity
- How to Use Visual Studio Code
- In Defense of Something Close to Venting – As a Christian, I am constantly challenged to examine if my “venting” is crossing the line into grumbling and complaining. I really like the focus of this article. I discovered lamenting years ago as a God-prescribed way of dealing with the pains and difficulties of life in a way that trusts in God and does not dishonor Him.
- What is Conscience and Why Does it Matter? – To be honest, I had not really thought too deeply about conscience or matters of conscience until the past two years. I read a book about it in 2020 and am reading a book about it right now. And I have had to struggle with differences of conscience the past two years.
- Providence – This is one of the longest books I have read. I am a little more than halfway through and would like to finish it before the end of the year.
- An Introduction to John Owen – I finished this one on Wednesday.
- WordPress Themes in Depth – I reviewed some of the chapters I read earlier this year and added some notes to Evernote. I have not revisited this book since August.
- The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
- Inspector Lewis (Prime Masterpiece Subscription) – My wife and I finished the last episode on Sunday. We were sorry to see it end as we really like the characters, especially the relationship between Lewis and Hathaway
- Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. (Disney+)
- Baking Impossible (Netflix) – My wife recently discovered this show and I watched an episode with her this week. Looking forward to watching more of it.
- Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney+) – I was not feeling well the day we had planned to see it in the theater so my kids saw it without me. And I never got around to seeing it in the theater. I really enjoyed the story and wished I had seen it in the theater.
- The Hobbit (Digital Copy) – I always enjoy resisting the world of Middle Earth that Peter Jackson created. I watched this throughout the day on Thursday on my vacation day.
- VS Code Can Do That: Emmet – I have come across Emmet in the past but never really have gotten into. I am not sure why not. But I love that it is so integrated into VS Code and look forward to adding it to my workflow.
- MLB The Show 21 – I am really enjoying playing this game with the Atlanta Braves. As I mentioned last week, I played with the Braves in 2018. It is fun to play with a lot of familiar players from that season along with others. I had played with Jorge Soler with the Royals in 2017.