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NEW COURSE: Build an AJAX-powered freelance website template

Just released a new project-based course.

In this one you’ll learn:

  • How to submit form data using AJAX
  • How to build a responsive grid with CSS Grid
  • How to send a contact email using PHP
  • How to build a mobile menu using CSS transitions
  • How to build a website using HTML, CSS, jQuery and PHP

And, plenty more.

Full source code is included.

You can get access to it for nothing here: https://skl.sh/2xM6Y3l

Later,

John

P.S. If you’re a Patreon supporter, you can access the course here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/21697046

September 28, 2018

All the web development you’ve learned will be obsolete in a year

You ever watch the movie, Twister?

There’s a scene at the end where they’re trapped in this small shed, tied to some pipes as a Tornado rolls right over them, tearing the shed to pieces.

Debris everywhere.

Legs flying in the air.

Complete chaos.

But, there’s a moment where, Helen Hunt, one of the main characters, can see all the way to the top of the tornado. And, it’s nice calm, blue sky.

Almost peaceful.

That’s sometimes how I feel.

As I’ve talked about… all the chaos and change coming so rapidly in our industry. There’s so much to learn and so little time to learn it.

Have I learned enough?

Won’t it all be obsolete in a year, anyway?

How do I keep up?

It can feel like a tornado swirling around you.

But, there is a way to find the “eye” of that storm. The calm, almost peaceful place where you feel confident, secure and excited.

Tom on Quora said it perfectly:

“[Web development] is difficult, sure, and the technology is an always moving target as the frameworks change so rapidly. But fundamentals of design and engineering don’t change. So I didn’t have anything to fear regarding that, it was a matter of learning how to apply those using the flavor of the day.”

It’s easy to get caught in the chaos…

When you focus too much on the “flavor of the day”.

The latest “ermagerd” framework.

Or, shiny, new language.

And, you believe the Medium-heads that say you “have to learn every single one or you’re like a total noob and will never get any work”… blah, blah, blah.

No.

Focus on fundamentals.

And, you’ll be fine.

Another thing that’s true, but unpopular to say, is that despite all dire predictions to the contrary, the core stack for a web developer hasn’t changed much.

The most used languages for websites are still:

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL.

I know… BLASPHEMY!

But, it’s just statistical fact.

All these new languages and frameworks are great.

Node, Angular, React, Go, etc.

In fact, do learn them, at some point.

But, the majority of websites still run plain, old, vanilla, boring (read: calm and peaceful) HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and MySQL.

So, learn those first.

And, frankly, if you’d just stuck with those all this time…

The chaos wouldn’t really have bothered you much.

In any case, do what you want. I’m gonna sit over here in the blue sky, sippin’ my rum and coke… taking all the work the Mediums-heads are “too good” for.

If you wanna chase tornadoes, it’s all yours.

Of course, if you are like me, then my coding curriculum is exactly what you need to learn that core stack. PHP, MySQL, OOP, HTML, CSS, JS… it’s all in there.

And, you can get started for nothing.

All the deets on that are here: https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/johnmorris

Later,

John

August 6, 2018

Forget responsive web design. Just use HTML tables

Well then…

My message, yesterday, sparked this doozy from PJ:

“If you just stuck to tables this entire time, imagine the years of frustration you could have avoided by ignoring floated divs, Bootstrap, flexbox and now CSS Grid! These ‘new’ methods add no additional benefit to the client or user, and the syntax is not any better either! I use floated divs and flexbox only because I was gullible enough to drink the koolaid. But if I had used tables all this time, really nobody would have noticed, and I would have been more productive.”

Bahahahahaha!

Wait. No. Don’t do it. Straight face. Be nice.

Okay… so…

Let me tell you why this is horribly wrong.

He’s talking about using tables for layouts.

Yes… sigh… this used to be a thing. Back in 2009, Smashing Magazine wrote an article about this and in it they referenced this thing called MAMA.

Metadata Analysis and Mining Application.

Say that three times fast.

Anyhow, this was a structural search engine that returned the details of a pages HTML structure. The table element was found on over 80% of the pages crawled.

Table, td and tr were all on the top 10 tags.

We did this.

I did this.

(Hangs head in shame.)

Then, divs came along.

Then, HTML5.

And, it was all a progression toward semantic markup.

And, PJ has a small, if very narrow-minded, point that the average site visitor probably doesn’t care about most of this… until they do.

The point of semantic mark up is adding meaning.

And, primarily that meaning is for machines…

But, it’s for the benefit of users.

Let’s take the nav tag.

You use it to define navigational elements.

Why is it any better than <div id=”nav”> or putting a <ul> inside of a table cell? Because, when we use nav, we are telegraphing that this is indeed a navigational element.

And, a screen reader can safely skip this element.

If you’re not blind, who cares?

But, if you are… not having to listen to: “Home, about, contact” in robot voice is quite nice. Especially, on those mega menus with dozens of different list items.

That’s real-world value to real people.

You may not care, but they sure do.

And, that’s just one example.

Search engines use semantic markup to better understand what a web page is about. So, if SEO and, ya know, getting website traffic matters to you…

Not to mention…

All the different ways machines will use this in the future.

Semantic markup helps create a better, more useful and accessible internet, helps search engines better understand your website…

And, future-proofs your code…

For when the machines take over.

Maybe, they’ll appreciate your semantic markup…

And, not kill you… right away.

Anyway, table-based layouts was always a hack.

A horrible, horrible hack.

So, PJ.

My man.

That you think what’s happened over the last decade or so is all about responsive design and we could’ve skipped it all by just “sticking to tables”…

Because it has “no additional benefit to the client”…

Just shows that you don’t really understand it. Not that the rest of us are crazy for embracing it. But, hey, do your table thing, my dude.

You can build ’em how you want.

That said, if you want to learn more about all of this and how to do it properly, when to use certain tags, when not to… all of it…

It’s inside my new Beginner’s Guide to HTML course.

I break it all down Barney-style.

And, help you master…

“Dis herr new-fangled aH eM eeeL Tees.”

The link to get started for nada on SkillShare is right hrr: https://skl.sh/2Lqhh1v

Later,

John

August 4, 2018