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Being Prepared To Contribute


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Jordan Moore

Hey Trent,

What a wonderful piece that feels very apt for this time of year. You hit on lots of important points, one of which was about gaining a better knowledge of the materials we work with in the form of tools like plugins and frameworks.

I liken the blind usage of such tools to someone handing a professional skydiver a backpack and telling them “I packed your chute for you buddy!”. It’s crucial to know the contents. (I know can be guilty of this).

As you mentioned by understanding, contributing to and improving upon the tools, ideas and things we make as a community, things work out for the greater good.

I regularly think how lucky we are to live in an age where we can easily seek input and guidance from makers the world over; where products can be improved over any physical distance by a meeting of minds that doesn’t require the participants to be in the same room. This sets us apart from makers of the past, imagine how they would have fared and improved lives had they had such a tool at their disposal.

Like your content choreography article (thanks for mentioning my rebound!), you planted the seed – I hope people take home this message and figure things out together in a time where it is so easy to collaborate with each other. We are very lucky.

Dan Mall

Fantastic thoughts here, Trent. I particularly love the collaboration pattern you describe. For those who haven’t already seen it, it’s similar to some thoughts from Dave Gray’s book Gamestorming about the shape of a game (which, coincidentally, is the exact same shape of a successful brainstorm). It describes the different kinds of thinking that lead to successful ideas: opening (divergent) thinking, exploring (emergent) thinking, and closing (convergent) thinking. You can check out Gamestorming on Google Books .

Mathew Porter

Hi Trent,

I agree with you, the mass community that the Web as a whole is, sharing and developing together helps keep up with this ever changing landscape.

Even criticism online can help a Designer, Developer and other creative, adapt to provide the best solution.

Nice post.

Brett Jankord

I just recently forked Jordan Moore’s Palm Reader project to help me research how specific retina/high resolution media queries work on different browsers/devices. Being able to use what he had already put together and tweak it for the specific research I was doing made my testing a whole lot easier.

It does feel weird sometimes iterating on someone else’s idea/project. I always try to give credit where credit is due. I know I appreciate the same when people have iterated on my projects.

I feel that collaboration and iteration on ideas and projects with others is at the core of how we move the web forward.

Cory Chase

I really appreciate the message of this post and I agree with Jordan, we’re extremely lucky that collaboration is so easy and that everyone can benefit from it.

However, to add to Jordan’s skydiving analogy, sometimes I (and I’m sure others like me) just have to jump out of the plane as quickly as possible and deal with any chute issues on the way down. What’s worse is that sometimes I come up with a great way to pack a chute but can’t necessarily share it with others because it was a proprietary jump.

Great read, thanks for the write-up, Trent. This is especially timely for me as I’m doing a little soul-searching to figure out how I can best give back to the community.

Chatman R.

I think a lot of us younger developers have a fear of really contributing. We see so many wonderful open source projects moving the web forward and end up a little paralyzed. And since our clients and customers usually don’t care how we got the job done, there’s incredible temptation to apply a quick fix. And it would be so damn easy, too.

Jumping off from what Jordan said, I know there are developers out there who have never worked with vanilla JavaScript and are entirely too dependent on jQuery. Despitte all of the rich resources for learning core language on the web (including the jQuery source itself), developers can get overwhelmed and reach for the nearest framework.

Libraries and frameworks are wonderful. I know devs would have killed to have browser compatibility issues ironed out behind the scenes 15 years ago. I’ve definitely benefited from the rich web education community as a self-taught designer & dev And my endless curiosity makes me dissect every library and framework I use; learning before implementing.

We can argue that the client won’t care about how we solve problems through design and code, but we should. We should totally care if we start defining our skill set by what tools we use rather than the languages they were built upon. With the wealth of resources out there, at what point do we stop developing the web and simply produce it?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

J Beckman

I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that the best benefit we can give and receive. And I think the web community is dangerously moving away from this potential.

I actually just wrote an article about that fact, focusing on something similar:

I think that, in order to make the web a better place for our online lives, we need to not only embrace the faculties for commentary, but also discourage superficial interaction.

Scott Dawson

Thanks for this thought-provoking post! I have just lately started contributing code online, and think its a really exciting time. There are so many immersive tools for sharing code, designs and proofs of concept, which should really help as the pace of technology change accelerates. As we say at work, “sharing is caring!”

Trent Walton

With the wealth of resources out there, at what point do we stop developing the web and simply produce it?

I bet it’d be helpful to think in less general terms and target what interests you specifically. For me (and the gang at Paravel) it’s been mostly web type. Having goals around that made it easier to get things done and put us in a smaller pond.

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