Weeknotes 20:18

September 23, 2020

Week of September 13 - 19

Whale Safe Launch

This week saw the launch of a project that I worked on back at the end of March and the first weeks of April. My colleague, Ryan, did most of the heavy lifting with this project as he had to integrate different data streams to display up-to-the-minute data on the site. I took care of the initial front-end and then he took it from there.

Whale Safe is a technology-based mapping and analysis tool displaying whale and ship data from the Santa Barbara Channel with the goal of helping to prevent fatal shop collisions with whales.” You can view whale detections on the site and view data on how well shipping companies are complying with the NOAA’s voluntary speed restrictions in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The site functions as a one-page app using progressive enhancement so that the site loads individual pages if Javascript is not available. We decided to use jQuery and Ajax to load content to the page based on user navigation.

NoMa Bid Project

As with a lot of my recent projects, I decided to build this site desktop-first. I find that it is easier to make decisions about how the layout needs to adapt to smaller screens. My process is to build desktop-first and then to go back and refactor my CSS so that it is mobile-first, layering media queries as the screen get wider. I have found it easier to work like this especially when I don’t always have mockups of the site on smaller screens. I have fewer decisions to make on the front end of the project. I have also found that I have had more happy accidents occur that I would not have discovered if I built starting with the smallest screen.

HTML Email

I am dreading HTML email projects a lot less these days since I started using MJML. (No, Ryan, that does not mean I want you to throw more HTML email projects my way.) I use the Mac App to build out the HTML email and then export the code to HTML. I have found that there are fewer things I have to fix once I test the email to see how it performs across different clients. After testing, I usually have to go back into the code and made some adjustments that MJML will not allow me to make in the app. Most of my projects become MailChimp templates so I add the MC templating language to my code.

SVG Animation Masterclass

I signed up this week to participate in Smashing Magazine’s SVG Animation Masterclass. I really like the format. They are breaking up the class over 5 days and three weeks. I have admired the work that Cassie Evans has been doing so I am looking forward to learning from her. Building up my animation skills has been on my bucket list for the past year so I am looking forward to how this class will move me forward.

Online Reading


  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – My team is reading this book for our next book club. I first read 7 Habits 25 years ago. I am looking forward to revisiting this book and seeing how much of it is still a part of my thinking and perspective.
  • Gentle and Lowly – almost finished with this one.
  • The Gathering Storm – another Christian book. I got it on sale for $3 on Kindle. Almost finished with it as well. And still on sale for Kindle at time of writing.
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Just started this fiction book on Saturday. I have needed to read some fiction so looking forward to getting into this one. I got the hardcover of this one on sale for $7 a couple of months ago.

Video Games

  • MLB The Show 20 – still enjoying playing with live rosters.
  • FIFA20

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