First things first, a kick-ass opening for this vlog with a (literally, for those afraid of heights) breath-taking view of Montreal, and then back into the “studio” to check out my rig (drums), all to a slick tune in the background. Maybe we’ll call this segment, “Weeee, so fly.”
But let’s dive right into it… Should you use JAVA for back end web app development?
A very specific question deserves a very specific answer: “At the end of the day you have to always judge your technology stacks based on both technical implications of the choice and market implications.”
Technology implications: Do you have experience with the language you’re using? Are you comfortable as programmer? “It depends how nerdy you are, if you are very comfortable writing code, you’re very comfortable as a developer and you’ve done web apps before, yeah, JAVA, could be a good choice, but you gotta consider more than just the technical aspects of the language…”
In terms of market implications: “…are there jobs there? Is there a long road ahead for that particular technology stack?” Now, there are plenty of jobs in JAVA but they tend to be in or with larger businesses/ organizations. Even with smaller businesses or freelance work “JAVA would not be my first, second, or third choice…”.
Check out the video for a super detailed answer to this question and the more broad lesson that we’re trying to teach: What can you do Vs. what will the market pay you for. Also, did you find our RUBY diss(es)? Oh, yeah, there might be more than one! Enjoy!
Full transparency: We have a book and we do videos, so we know what we’re talking about having been on both sides of the fence… And of course, our answer is (unsurprisingly) both-ish; kinda like a two pronged attack…
Books are great for referencing material, for example, you need to look something up, you find the page and boom: there it is! As opposed to sometimes having to watch a 15-20 minute video that has great material but it’s buried deep in the vid. You might have to start jumping around on the time bar to find it or it won’t be covered til minute 8 or the 15 minutes, which can be pretty frustrating when time is a factor.
Video on the other hand is great for “…engaging with the material you just learned.” If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know we have online courses that are tailor-made to helping you learn and then put to practice (through questions, exercises, etc.) the things you just learned. While with a book the learning tends to be more passive and in the case of retention, it’s hard to put it down sometimes and start practicing what you just read…
Now we’re not knocking anyone’s learning style, if you can retain and use information you’ve just read in a book, that’s great! We’re just trying to lay out what we think is the best of both worlds and will yield the best results vs. effort. Check out the vid where we go into MAJOR detail. And check out our links at the bottom to our kickass courses: it’s super effective! Enjoy!
How to get Clients to Produce Content for their Websites?
Clients, man… Can’t live with ’em, can’t make a living without them, amirite?
On your travels out there as a freelancer, you’re going to come across times when clients aren’t are late with, or aren’t delivering the content you need to work with. Maybe you find yourself doing what should be their responsibility or job, just to move things along so you can get to completing YOUR job on time. What can we do?
First off -SHAMELESS PLUG- we tackle this in our “Freelancer Course”; links at the bottom.
Second, essentially, you’re going to need to specify a lot this in your contract. Yeah, I know it’s more work for you to write this out, but it’ll save you so much grief in the long run. For example, something like ‘after the second draft has received approval, I will then need pictures, written content, etc. going forward’ if the content is to be delivered in whatever time you specified (ex: 30 days), work will be halted until ‘content’ has been received, etc.
Third, “gentle reminders” and emails. Clients sometimes forget things, they’ve got stuff going on too… so you email them with a “gentle reminder” (and seriously, be gentle. Use phrases like “at your leisure”, “when you have a second”, etc.), letting them know that you need ‘X’ material to continue. Also, we really do recommend you email them. That way there is a time-stamped copy of the request so they cannot come to you later saying that you were late on the project or anything else. You simply (and calmly) call up the email and show them that you attempted to get the material…
Lastly, unfortunately, this is “par for the course”, meaning that it happens and it’s totally normal if not expected. Have some other projects going on so that when one stalls, you simply refocus your effort the next. Now, fair warning: This does involve time management and juggling, so don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially if more than one of these projects has the capability to suddenly demand all of your attention at the same time…
Check out the video where we into more detail and check out our “freelancer course” link at the bottom so you can benefit from our mistakes experiences in the past, when dealing with client expectations. At the end of the day, it’s best that everyone knows where they stand and what expected of them. Enjoy!
Another shocking discovery from the Department of Urban Humanity or “DUH”… Communication skills are a big deal for developers. I know, I know; save yourself the twitter rant but believe it or not it does bare repeating.
Look, we understand, ten or 15 years ago developers were (for lack of a better term), alone in the business world. They were largely left alone to their own devices mostly because businesses didn’t necessarily know or understand what they did…only that they needed their skills if the wanted “an online presence.” And who could developers talk to about their projects, their frustrations and victories? Other developers… So you can see why, historically, some devs might not be in a very “social” mood…
However, unless you’ve been under a rock which was then covered in concrete, lowered into well and then sealed with more concrete, you’d know that “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry…”(that’s a quote from ‘the shawshank redemption’, which you probably haven’t seen if you were under the aforementioned rock…you should check it out, great film.).
But yeah, devs aren’t the rare birds they once were and neither is their work the stuff of wizardry. Most people/companies know what they want and how to <relatively> get it, or have access to a host of devs who can get it for them… So what’s gonna set you apart? Communication! Your sparkling wit, easy demeanor, and sly and inviting grin as you effortlessly deliver what the client wants and make the necessary changes right in front of them assuring them that not only are you knowledgeable, but so easy to get along with! They’re so lucky they found you and look forward to working with you on all their future projects!
Check out the vid, where we give you personal experiences of these situations and illuminate on the skill on communication. I mean, sure there might be lots of devs who can do what you do…but can they deliver it, like YOU deliver it? Enjoy!
PS- stick around to the end to see footage of the minute before the lich lords attacked and made us their unwilling thralls…
The face of native mobile development is changing indeed … and fast!
Okay, so a couple of months ago we talked about SWIFT and how we felt it was going to “lose market share” because frameworks like FLUTTER, React, etc. were going to put more pressure on native development (like SWIFT) with their sheer versatility… it did not go over well with the SWIFT OG’s… but if we could just have a moment of your time, I’m sure we can make things worse… 🙂
“Flutter allows you to write cross-platform mobile applications (iOS & Android) using one language: DART, one framework: FLUTTER framework, and it’s created by google; and what interesting about FLUTTER -it compiles down to native so you don’t have a ‘performance hit'”.
Now, traditionally when you use frameworks, you don’t have access to certain things that you would with native but the major concern when creating FLUTTER was to give developers the ability to customize and have access to everything…in other words: flexibility. Writing and maintaining one code base which is responsive, compiles down to native is gives you a lot of control over UX and UI is pretty attractive and while no framework is perfect, it’s pretty close…
In the video we go into more detail and hit on a few interesting points. Check it out, it’s worth a look. Enjoy!
Alright we’re going to lightly touch on this and if there’s enough of a public outcry, we’ll gladly do a deep dive but for now let’s skim over client side Vs. server side rendering. YAY!!
Now, full disclosure: It’s better to watch the video than to spend time reading what’s being written. The video is quick articulate and makes good and knowledgeable arguments for sides better than writing this out. But if you still feel like reading on, here’s the (very) skinny…
CLIENT SIDE RENDERING: So when you’re looking at the app/website, the views you render/send out (to the web browser) for the client to see. Generally you want to keep the views pretty simple when it comes to the processing power behind it.
The downside? Not everyone has the same hardware on their computers and may encounter trouble viewing the page (ex: web browsers not up to date, lag, slow load times, etc.)
SERVER SIDE: Does not rely on your viewers having the most up to date web-browser or fastest computer but it does require a lot of server side processing power…
So what’s a dev to do?
Check out our video for answers and opinions. Enjoy!
In a word …Nah… “I don’t think there’s ever going to be an official CSS4 specification…in terms of how CSS is developed…they now release CSS in terms of being module, so components of new CSS comes out…and are widely excepted by all the browser manufacturers.”
But before you go grabbing all the new and shiny things, we do have a warning for you as an active web professional/developer: just because you see a certain technology or feature is implemented in the specifications, it doesn’t mean that you can use it. “It takes awhile for browser manufacturers… to put into place these new capabilities according to the specification.”
And the kicker? Even if these browser manufacturers do streamline these capabilities into the newest versions of their product, not every person, business, or entity will not be using that browser, they’ll be suing an older browser and not even an the updated version of it. “A lot of people do not upgrade their browsers on a regular basis; some don’t upgrade them for years! So depending on your target market, …you may not be able to implement a particular feature that very modern browsers implement.” I know, it’s frustrating, right!?
So in conclusion, there’s not gonna be an official CSS4, there will be new CSS capabilities released into the ecosystem, but shinier is not always better.
Check out the video for a more robust explanation by a human (me) and <shameless plug>: we do offer a CSS course where we teach the foundations do you really get the sense of how it works. Also, for our followers out there or people interested, we go into how we chose which features to implement when we designed webstudio and the thinking that went behind it. Enjoy!
PS – We were just having a little bit of fun with words in the headline…we love you, CSS
Coder burnout is more common than you think and everyone loses motivation once in a while…
First let’s talk about burnout.
Sadly, it happens. Does this sound familiar? You’re focusing so hard on either the work or the theory that goes into the work. You live it; you breathe it! You are the fountain of knowledge from which all inspiration for the project flows forth and then…mayday, mayday!! Crash and burn<out>. All of a sudden you need to take 3 months to a year off because you either have nothing left to give or the very thought of the work gives you the shakes… Good news is you’re not alone, we’ve been there and here’s a tip:
Unplug: For serious. Go outside, go to the gym (check out our previous vids about working out and staying fit…). A change of scenery will always help, even a good meal ( like, one you cook, if you can.) can help calm, nourish and refocus your energy. The work will always be there when you get back. And with your brain re-energized and calm, it can refocus you can reap the benefits. Honestly, even taking a walk to go grab a coffee has been shown to hit the brakes on stress and refocus that narrow vision…
Now, about motivation…
It’s totally normal. We are all human beings and every now and then we lose interest and lack motivation. Something else enters our field of vision and we deem it important and tend to push everything else to the side. Sometimes we even leave the tech space and take a hiatus only to comeback (years) later. What can we do about that?
Take it Slow: You can’t expect to come back in your first day “and be firing on all cylinders”. Especially if you’ve been out of the game for awhile, there might be some new things to learn and that’s okay. The good news is for the most part, things haven’t changed (for example you still have front end/back end), perhaps the way you used to think about the tech space will have to change but some or most of the process remain…
Check out or video for a more in-depth talk about this subject and be good to yourself. Take time and relax when you can; it’s a good habit to get into and you’re gonna need it eventually… Enjoy!
HTML4 classic formatting tags, vs modern HTML5 interpretation of semantic tags.
HEADS UP: We’re answering what may be considered a beginner’s question so if you’re super busy and you already know the answer to this, feel free to move on. But there’s a little nerd history lesson in it…
So, “what is the difference between strong vs. bold tags, and between EM(emphasized) vs. italic tags? To me, they look the same on a web page. What is the purpose of distinguishing between the two?”
Great question. Simple answer: it’s semantics NOW… “You can use either/or today; it doesn’t make a difference.”
Historically: “when HTML was first invented there was no CSS, so they needed tags (a set of html tags), to allow web pages builders to add some styling to the page. ie: add italics, make certain texts bold, insert images, etc. So the early browser-makers … created a set of tags that were display tags: they allowed to change the look of things on the pages.”
As things evolved and HTML5 came along, the powers that be decided to give semantic meaning to the tags instead of having programmers go back and update/correct their previous work. Now, that being said there is absolute use in these semantic tags; for example those with accessibility issues like the seeing impaired will have a “reader” talk the page out and in that case, the reader will interpret paragraph tags, heading/footer tags,etc and it may become pretty useful.
Another use would be to target a very special audience or for very specific web application needs…but that’s another video…
Speaking of videos, please check this one out for a more in-depth history lesson with way more charisma than the typed word.
Also -shameless plug- Our web development course teaches you the infrastructure / history of these tags and how they operate. We like to go above and beyond -Check it out. Plus at the end of the video, some sweet summer heat and beach!! Enjoy!
Hard to learn, easy to write … but slow to code with
ALSO: It’s dog-slow at run time when writing desktop applications (never mind mobile apps).
So there you have it, from a guy that loves JAVA. It’s super verbose and heavily detailed in the writing (which also means less errors because you’re being explicit), and that writing code takes much more time, much more time means much more work and money/cost: “I wouldn’t do it.”
Check out the video for a more in-depth explanation PLUS what’s coming up with us with STUDIOWEB and other fundamental stuff we’re working on; super exciting stuff!