J Scott Smith

Welp, Let's Kick This Off: Introductions and a Basic Plan

Articles - August 2nd, 2014

First thing’s first: Introductions

If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m Scott, and I’m a designer and front-end developer. I’ve written up a short bio which you can read here. It will suffice to say that I’m involved in many different creative projects and I’m creating this site to begin sharing my thoughts on all of them. Which leads me to my plan…

A Basic Plan

Learn about and share things regarding Statamic

For me, learning always takes a project to really begin understanding and applying concepts that I’m tying to grasp. So in a sense, this site is one of those projects. It’s a reason to use Statamic, the flat-file CMS that this site is powered by, for my own intents and purposes. Also, it’s a reason to begin writing more in markdown, the format from which these post are derived. Statamic is a system I’ve worked with for nearly a year and I’ve come to understand how powerful it can be while remaining simple use. But as this site is a “project” of mine, it’s an ongoing process that I intend to continually expand and better along the way.

Explore and utilize other CMSs

I’ve also worked pretty extensively with Wordpress. In some cases I find it to be a really great and flexible system. When coupled with Advanced Custom Fields, it really becomes much more than just a blogging platform. I’ll try and get some articles written up on using ACF regarding how I utilized them to power my portfolio: ifyousee.me.

Also, I’ve been itching to try Craft CMS. As I’ve read, it’s quite a powerful, but new, CMS, and it seems the former Expression Engine devs are embracing Craft as a successor. But what do I know as I’ve never really used Expression Engine.

Continue studying Javascript and working with the popular JS frameworks. Share some of the insights I have regarding these tools.

Javascript, to me, was just jQuery for so long. As it is for most designers who find themselves developing a website. But these past couple years I’ve begun to rely very heavily on various Javascript tools, plugins, and frameworks, to develop more efficiently and effectively. I plan to continue utilizing these tools and sharing what I learn or about the new tools I come across. Currently, my frontend development stack includes working with the following JS tools/frameworks:

  • Grunt JS - My task manager of choice. I’ve also given Gulp JS a shot.
  • Backbone/Marrionette - A way to structure and organize the Javascript I write.
  • Require JS - To load scripts asynchronously.
  • jQuery - To manipulate my DOM, yo.

Develop and Expand my “stack”.

Speaking of my “stack”, I’m hoping to continue to dial it in so it’s more efficient and effective. I’ll try and share how it has evolved and expanded over time, and what latest new Gem I’m trying out. So, in addition to the Javascript libraries I just mentioned, my front-end stack includes the following:

  • Atom/Sublime Text - Text editors of choice. Lately I’ve been using Atom over Sublime.
  • MAMP - For running my local server for development.
  • GIT - This is a big one. Version control by GIT has saved my ass numerous times.
  • Tower - Git GUI client of choice.
  • Node JS/NPM - For running/managing node applications/tools like Grunt.
  • Ruby/RVM - Giving my Gems a comfy place to reside so I can develop in SASS and use other Ruby tools.
  • Bundler - For managing my projects Ruby Gem dependencies.
  • SASS/SCSS - The only way to write styles for a website, IMO.
  • Compass - My sass compiler of choice, and huge mixin library; though I’m thinking of dropping Compass for auto prefixing or Bourbon.
  • Susy - My grid system of choice.

Kick Off

This is a non-exhaustive plan, but it will get me started, which was my ultimate goal. Starting something new is always a challenge but hopefully, with great effort, this site will solidify my ideas as a developer and provide a platform to share what I learn.