Since 1988 When I’m dead.
New Personal Development Site Launched
Almost eighteen years ago, I received my first personal computer as a gift from my mother and father. It was a Gateway desktop with 20 GB of harddrive space and CPU and RAM specs that today are put to shame by most of the devices we carry in our pockets. It was a behemoth of a machine that took up an entire corner of our living room and I loved it. Tossing the 6'x4' instruction manual aside, I eagerly set it up and hit the power button. As the text screamed across the screen and the Windows logo appeared, I instantly fell in love with the technological wonder that sat before me.
Then my dream was to become a cartoonist and so, after perusing every nook and cranny I could find on the computer, I decided I was going to master MS Paint -- a skill I would learn had very little use and actually bored me to death. As I Googled far and wide, I became enamored with the artistic style and uniqueness of the websites I was visiting. And so, as often happens when freely traversing the digital-rabbithole, I stumbled across something intriguing; I could "view source" these websites. There was actually a language behind these pages; a language I seemed to have an affinity for.
And so I read as much as I could. I must have browsed half of the existing web in source only. I began to undestand the structure of <table> elements and font-size. Background and <img> tags were everywhere and this mystical <a> with its wonderful href attribute. Luckily I had also discovered the Notepad program on my PC. So, I began writing as much as I could and I practically lived on SitePoint.com.
I was now webmaster for a profitable real-estate virtual tour company. It was then that I realized web development was my true passion and it totally consumed me. I started a business, learned WordPress, mastered jQuery, and devoted all of my waking hours to learning more. And as they say, the rest is history.
Fast-forward one more time to 2017 and I now make my living writing code. I closed my business in favor of getting real-world experience from professional firms and it has led me to my current position at AOL (Autoblog.com).
I have learned more about web development in the past three years than in all of my fourteen before that. With a mind now open to the true breadth of this wide web world, I am on a mission to the become a true master of this trade.
Long introduction aside, I will finally get to the point of this post. My progression as a web developer has been largely undocumented. In the past, I felt like I just needed to slap together a good portfolio and let my work speak for itself. However, as I approach my 30th revolution around our nearest star, it has become more apparent to me that I need to share my knowledge, discoveries, and experiences. It is widely understood that teaching is the best way to learn and master anything. And while I view myself as an authority and guru among many web developers, I realize I have so much to learn and even more to master. So, this site will become my classroom.
I am going to refer to this not as a "portfolio site" as I used to, but as my personal development site. As I further my skills, this site will become the repository of my knowledge and, I hope, a resource to many developers around the world.
I would like to elaborate in depth on the technical aspects of developing this site, but I think it would make the most sense to break those out into posts not littered with biographical walls of text (sorry for that by the way, but thank you for reading!). Instead, I will very briefly summarize those tehcnicalities so that I can later link from here to the more substantive, relevant posts.
Photoshop! All of my years of experience with UI/UX and Photoshop led to this. Pathetic... I know. I'm a terrible graphic designer. That's why I write code instead! Fortunately, I think I'm JUST good enough to slap stuff together that is at least presentable. Nevertheless, I apologize to your eyes.
This is my first project with KeystoneJS. It is a brilliant CMS that leverages the MEAN stack (minus Angular). Most of my history involves PHP development and so I am intimately familiar with CMSes like WordPress and Craft CMS. However, I have recently become obsessed with mastering the MEAN stack and so I decided to give KeystoneJS a whirl. While there is definitely a bit to be desired, nothing trumps having the ability to use JS on the server-side! The community is growing, it undergoes constant improvement, and I think before long it will be as full-feature, flexible, and elegant as Craft CMS (far and away the best CMS in the world). Yet, patience is an absolute virtue and I have no doubt it will pay off with KeystoneJS.
I have been using LESS & SASS for years and had no intention of doing anything different on this site. SASS is by far the most elegant way to write styles (yes, I did just subtley imply that SASS > LESS) and KeystoneJS makes this so easy with the ability to compile SASS natively!
I intend to expand on this site significantly in the future. It is going to be both my repository to document my progression as a web developer and software engineer as well as my sandbox to test and develop new skills and ideas. I've got a couple of ExpressJS apps brewing right now that I will likely feature on this site.
Thank you for reading! Please don't hesitate to leave any feedback in the comments section below or if you prefer private communication you can also find a link to email me at the very top right corner of this page.
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