Should developers know design?

People (friends, colleagues, relatives, etc.) that know I am in the web business often approach me with a similar variant of the following:

“Hey Orlando, I’m doing X and I want a website for it, what do you think?”

And I always struggle a lot with this question. For one, I am a web professional and of course I want people building websites. But second, and perhaps more important: I am a web professional and I know not everyone needs a website. So this is an answer (and a series) that’s very controversial for me to write.

There a many different kind of reasons for which someone could want a website but, for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to divide these people into two groups: Business owners and Content creators.

Of course, these two groups usually end up overlapping with each other: business owners will probably benefit from creating content, and content creators will probably end up wanting to monetize their content. But as a starting point, I would say most websites probably get created for one of these two reasons.

For the sake of simplicity, I will be using the word “business” to reference both of these groups in this first section. But if you just so happen to belong to either of them, and are interested in getting yourself a new website, then this article is for you:

Continue Reading "Do you really need a website?"

Developer advice from a seasoned professional

Author’s note: I originally intended for this to be a single post containing some of the lessons I had gathered over the years of doing website development and design. Alas, it proved to be a little bit too long (spanning over 3000 words and 15 pages), so I decided to break it up a little. 

It is strongly recommended that you read part 1 of these series before moving forward onto the next, if only so I may let you know of the situation that inspired me to write these pieces of advice here for everyone to see them.

But, now that we’ve cleared that out, these are the last 6 pieces of advice I would like to share with you all:

Continue Reading "10 things new developers should know – Part 2"
Teaching developers javascript taught me things

I know what the title says, but I’d like to instead start by saying: I didn’t always enjoy teaching things or helping others understand different topics. As a matter of fact, it kind of [extremely] annoyed me to find people who didn’t seem to get a grasp on the things that I did at the same speed that it had taken me to learn them.

I was a very different (definitely more selfish) person than I am today. But I am glad that I didn’t stay being that way, because then I would have missed out on what has to this day been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life: Sharing my knowledge with other people.

Teaching is the reason that I even started writing this blog in the first place.

But what I find the most interesting is not what I was able to teach others. But what teaching others how to do different things has taught me.

And that is what I’m here to talk to you about today.

Continue Reading "How teaching javascript made me a better developer."

My friend Red had a problem with his code.

He was working on integrating a popover onto an application that used a home-brewed variant of Redux Form. This version came with a few extra features to [attempt to] make itself easier to use and reduce development time.

I’ll try to describe the problem in the easiest way possible:

  1. The popover was to be summoned by clicking a button inside the form.
  2. Upon clicking the button, the popover indeed showed up (so good so far.)
  3. The submit event for the form was triggered at the same time.

As you may imagine, this was less than desirable: You’d have an extra AJAX call without the necessary parameters, validation would trigger, children would cry, etc.

By the time I found him, he was proposing to catch the source of the event and use it to filter which buttons were allowed to initiate it. He also tried to scout the entire source code for Redux Form and the plugin built on top of it.

I suggested he change his trigger from a button to an anchor. The code was working 2 minutes later.

Continue Reading "Coding outside the box."