My Habits for Staying on the Cutting-Edge of Web Development

My Habits for Staying on the Cutting-Edge of Web Development

May 18, 2020

Staying up to date with the latest and greatest of development can be difficult. Sometimes you get to work one day and realize you're using a legacy stack. Or you see some insane performance on a site and have no idea how you can achieve that. If you learn these simple habits you'll always be making great stuff and as the web gets better you'll be getting better with it.

GitHub Trending

The trending page of GitHub is an absolute gold mine I've been browsing it daily for years. This page shows you what's hot and who's hot. It's an incredible tool for finding new projects that could change your life. One of the greatest things about this page is a project has to interest a good amount of people before it even shows up here, so sorting through the garbage is handled by GitHub while you get left with the good stuff.

You can filter by time, programming language and even spoken language if that makes a difference to you. I constantly find amazing libraries and frameworks in here that pushed my development skills to new levels. Some early stage projects I've found on GitHub trending have grown to become some of the biggest in web development and as those project grew, I grew with them.

Read the blogs

Once you fall in love with something don't get too comfortable. It may be nice to stick with the version of a library you know and are already comfortable with but if you make an effort to stay up to date your skill will always do the same.

Most great projects have blogs and change logs where new futures, beta features, and future features are announced. If you periodically check these blogs you'll most likely find some great features and patterns which can help you build faster or dramatically improve your project's performance. For instance React.js announced Concurrent Mode and Suspense long before saying they're safe to use in production. By learning and using these features before they're ready to you'll be making better websites than your peers long before they even hear the news. These tools are always getting better, the way you use them should as well.

Browse Dev Twitter

As you know everyones on Twitter. Developer Twitter is a really great place for sharing knowledge. Everyone's trying to help everyone else out. Following the right people can transform your twitter feed into a stream of knowledge and introduce you to incredible projects. If you're not sure who to follow I recommend starting with the top contributors of your favorite open source projects. These people are beasts. Always cranking out new tutorials, talks, blog posts, and repos. The other day I found my new favorite virtualized list library when its creator tweeted about it. I may find my next favorite when the creator of that tweets it out.

Try New Things

You may find that you like MobX more than Redux. Or that you should ditch them both entirely in favor of React Context. The best way to keep your skills on the frontier of development is to try out as much as you can. When ever I start a new project I like use something new. Something I'm not familiar with. That could be a new server architecture, a new theme engine, a new animation library, or even a different file structure. You'll never know your perfect stack until you find it, and what's best for others may not be what's best for you. Learn everything interesting. Use what's best.

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