The Web is a very strange industry. In the short time I’ve had a career in developing I still find it amazing that the very people creating the web are simultaneously building the tools for it. We’re not even in 2013 but I feel I’m exhausted with all the great advancements which have been made this year alone and all the shiny new stuff we now have to play with.
2012 has seen all of us acting a little more responsibly with how we approach our daily coding and designing. We have better resources and tools, better IDE’s, smarter software and there have been amazing inroads in to mobile debugging and testing.
Companies are creating open-sourced applications and making it easier to get our ideas out of our heads and into our browsers. Everyone is sharing their code with each other and we’re all learning from this and engineering better applications as a result. We’re not only getting better ideas, we’re getting better with our standards.
There are amazing tutorials and tips for best-practices. Our documentation and references are better. We’ve picked up on what we’re doing wrong and how we should be doing it differently or improving it. That’s not because of external sources, it’s us who are kicking our own backsides into gear. We’re getting a grip on ourselves and making sure we’re eating our veggies before having pudding.
But we’ve got the cake and we’re eating it. We’ve now got righteous possibilites with CSS that are mind-blowing. It’s Christmas for both developers and designers multiple times per year. We’re absolutely and rottenly spoiled, not knowing which toy to play with next.
Some amazing people are building communities and tools for us where we can get some of our crazy ‘what-ifs’ out there. We might only know how to get half-way, but someone else will have our backs. We’re not confined to one medium either and many services are opening up their API’s for us all to learn about, play with and use.
I wake every day to see what lunatics have been building while I was sleeping. There are thousands of little coders out there creating such cool stuff it just gets so overwhelming. In a good way. We don’t want to turn our backs in case we might miss something.
I still get stressed though, mainly about doing a job that’s good enough by my standards. I feel as though 99% of developers and designers out there are with me on this and that it’s not just me who’s a perfectionist. We’re all cleaning up our code and honing out skills. We’re refining. We’re refactoring. We’re redefining on a daily basis. We’re pioneering how our lives are lived on the web.
I find I’m drinking coffee to work through the days of non-stop thoughts about problems and solutions. I run crazy distances to recover from these manic coding sessions. I drink wine to cope with the running. I drink more coffee to recover from the wine.
We’re lucky to be able to support ourselves while doing something that requires no formal education and run completely amok. We’re making the rules to this game on the fly, although some of us are still struggling with a few of the basics.
But there are great people we can learn from and we have all the books and resources at our disposal. There’s no excuse for doing a shit job, we have to take it upon ourselves to want to produce better work. Happily, though, I think that’s a common trait all of us share.
I feel fortunate to have a hobby like this. It’s meaningful, unlike some jobs. The world is literally interacting with itself. We’re spreading messages at lightening speed. Rome might not have been built in a day, but had it been made out of HTML it certainly would’ve been.
But please God, can we just take a breather for a minute or two before next year!
I think Jeremy Keith’s recent video regarding responsive design is totally relevant.