Living on the bleeding edge

Posted on Aug, 01 2014, 0 comments

As Webdevelopers, we live in exciting times. The web and its technologies are moving faster than ever and one can easily get the feeling of not being able to keep up. Truth be told, it is pretty much exactly how I felt a few years ago. Since then, I discovered some channels that keep me up to date about what's going on in our industry. Listening to these channels really helps me to get better at my daily work, as I learn a lot about best practices, new tools, common mistakes, etc. So I thought it might be a good idea to share these sources and how I make use of them.

Reading blogs

This might be the most obvious one. Almost every tech-related article I read over the last while has been a blog post. I usually save links to interesting posts in my pocket and open them up whenever I got time to read them, which often means during a lunch break or in the subway. I actually read a lot on my phone, so I'm glad most tech-related blogs are responsive these days :-)

This is a list of blogs I find myself quite frequently on:

Smashing Magazine

Well known and a great resource for all web-related stuff. It's also the only blog I read that pops up on our designers monitors quite often, too :-)

CSS Tricks

A great resource for CSS-related stuff. This is were I end up most of the time when dealing with strange CSS problems. I also picked up some neat CSS tricks here (woah, killer pun :-D) that brought some structure and elegance into my noobish CSS.

Peter Kröners Blog

In german language. This is were I look first when I want to learn about early-stage technologies. Also one of the few webdev blogs that features linux stuff from time to time.

Sara Soueidans Blog

A blog I discovered very recently. I would highly recommend reading the articles about SVG to anyone interested in this topic.

Some more well-written blogs I visit from time to time:

Twitter

Twitter became my most powerful connection to the webdevelopment world over the last years. Webdevelopers seem to be very active on twitter and it is just amazing how easy it is to connect with them and to join discussions. You don't even need to be active on twitter to benefit from the network. I spent a long time there just consuming other peoples tweets and got a lot out of it.

Twitter is also the place where I pick up most of the blog posts I push to pocket. Most bloggers share new posts via twitter, so that others can reshare them. So when there's some cool new article out there, it will most probably end up in my timeline.

For me, in some ways, twitter is the replacement for the message boards I learned programming with back in the days.

Podcasts

Podcasts are one of the most brilliant things I discovered over the last years. Reading articles is a great way to get information and to form an opinion. But listening to a real discussion can be even better.

At first I tried to listen to podcasts while I was working, but it turned out that this was too much of a distraction. I either listened to the podcast and got nothing done, or focused on my work and didn't pay attention to the podcast. So by now, I mainly listen to podcasts while I'm in the subway or doing housework. Sometimes I even sit down on my armchair and finish the day with a nice glas of Single Malt Whisky and the latest episode of my favourite podcast :-)

This is a list of my favourite podcasts:

Workingdraft

A weekly german podcast about webdevelopment, primarily frontend stuff. This was the first podcast I listenend to and it is still my favourite. I guess I listened to every episode since revision 100 :-)

Shop Talk Show

A podcast by Chris Coyer and Dave Rupert, about frontend development and UX. Each episode with a different guest.

hanselminutes

A podcast by Scott Hanselman about web stuff. Each episode with a different guest.

Conference Talks

Watching Conference Talks is also a great way to learn about new things. There are a lot great conference videos on youtube and vimeo. When I work from home, I often spend my lunch break with a good meal and an (even better) conference talk. I especially liked the jsconf and btconf videos.

Bottom Line

So, that's how I try to keep up with what's happening in our industry and to educate myself. I would love to hear how others deal with this, as well as recommendations for other blogs, podcasts, etc. So please feel free to drop a comment, ping me on twitter, or write a blog post about it :-)

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