What do you want to learn next?

June 11, 2012

On his site, Impressive Webs, Louis Lazaris posed the question, “what do you want to learn next?

Here is a shortlist of the things I want to learn and add to my skillset:

JavaScript/jQuery – This is the big one. If I truly embrace the role of front end developer, JavaScript is a must have. It is the third component of the the front end triad of HTML (structure), CSS (presentation), and JavaScript (behavior).

JavaScript is the true programming language of the Triad and the one I have struggled the most with. I have dabbled in JavaScript, mostly with jQuery, but to move forward, I need and want to have a solid understanding of it.

Last summer at the Front End Design Conference, a friend of mine challenged me to dive in for 30 days and just focus on learning it. It is almost a year later and it is time that I took up that challenge and add this key skill.

CSS Preprocessors – I have been interested in LESS and Sass since the end of last year. After playing around with it a little bit, I finally used Sass for the first time in a project on March 30 as I did a refresh of this site. I made good use of variables and selector inheritance (@extend). I also used Compass CSS3 module mixins. It was great to build something and get some experience using Sass.

Recently I have been building a prototype for a new design for Saveur.com. It has been a rare occasion where I have been able to work with the designer early on in the process before this project becomes part of our SCRUM. My workload has been light recently so I had the time to build this prototype and really play around. Using Sass was an integral part of this sandbox experience. It has been great to use variables to define color.

What I want to do next is to have a better understanding of Sass and Compass and integrate more of it into my workflow. I am interested in reading The Pragmatic Guide to Sass to help me accomplish this goal.

Speed/Performance – Louis Lazaris’ post got me thinking more about this. He pointed to Steve Souders books.  This is an area I really need to understand more as high performance Websites are so crucial.

Adaptive/Responsive design (Experience) – I have read Ethan and Luke W’s books. I think I have a solid understanding of building a responsive site. What I need is more experience in actually building sites implementing what I have learned. As Chris Coyier has repeatedly said on ShopTalk, “Just build Websites.”  I am excited about an upcoming project that will give me this opportunity.

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