Danger is Go!

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When we started our redesign of the Cheezburger network we had the daunting task of building a front end framework that met the needs of not only our developers but our vast network of sites. After many meetings, grueling discussions and attempts at DIY we finally choose [twitter] Bootstrap. It was the ‘it’ framework and had just reached its 2.0 milestone, so why not?

Going into this we had no idea how to take bootstrap and make it Cheezburger. We initially tried to “extend” Bootstrap by overriding styles in our own chzboot library. This proved to be less than ideal since we were duplicating code for everything we wanted to extend. Eventually we merged our changes with Bootstrap core and forfeited any upgrade path to newer versions.

Our own pseudo fork of Bootstrap has worked well throughout. However as our design has changed and matured we have began to migrate away from the Bootstrap core components and build our own. It was nice to have Bootstrap to fallback on when we needed a quick UI treatment for something, but now we have our own style guide and documentation around what components to use and how to use them. If something isn’t in the style guide then we need to build and add it to the bucket of things that can be reused later.

It has become difficult to develop our own components along with maintaining existing Bootstrap based components. Finding parity between what Bootstrap offers and the needs of our sites is the one thing that has effectively driven us away from continuing to use Bootstrap as our core foundation. We have talked about completely removing anything Bootstrap from our code and rewriting components, but that is a task that isn’t logical at this time. Eventually as we continue to mature our code Bootstrap will play less of a role.

Ultimately we grew out of bootstrap not because it’s a bad framework but because we grew up, we started needing things that were not in its core. We changed so much it didn’t make sense to continue to maintain a connection to the core library. We have maintained many of the naming and structural conventions that bootstrap employs but we don’t rely on its library of UI elements.

One thing I didn’t mention, when we made the decision to use Bootstrap over creating our own I pushed for it out of fear of “re-inventing the wheel”†. Throughout this experience I have come to believe you should not fear re-inventing the wheel, you should fear using a round wheel when you need a square one.

† I don’t want to speak for @b_sted, @marthakelly, or @trademark but this was my biggest fear going into the redesign.

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I have worked closely with two women developers in my career, and I must say they taught me so much I couldn’t even begin to explain.

I was fortunate to have a great mentor when I was first cutting my teeth at a big agency and yes it was a woman. She helped me get out of a pretty bad rut and begin to spread my wings and become the developer I am today. She taught me not only how to be a better developer but how to work with others better and how to step back and look at projects and development from a whole new light.

The women I have been lucky enough to work with have brought something to development far beyond technical knowledge, they bring a level of compassion and understanding that I have never seen in any other developer man or woman.

I want to say thank you to all women developers for undoubtedly making your male counterparts better by association, you are all awesome and need to be recognized for that.

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I have recently re-discovered todo.txt the handy plain text todo list, along with its CLI. I have fallen in love with this method for keeping todo lists, its taggable and has search capabilities too! One of the biggest pain points for me getting started was installing the CLI and hooking it up to Dropbox for cross platform sharing. The todo.txt docs dont provide much of a step by step getting started for OSX with homebrew, they merely say go install with homebrew and then you have to digg though the Tips and Tricks to find what different params to setup to customize your experience.

This article will walk you through setting up todo.txt CLI on OSX with Homebrew and storing your todo.txt files in Dropbox for use across multiple platforms.

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As I review resumes for developers there is one thing that always becomes an issue, code examples. I have found that many developers don’t have good code examples and sometimes don’t have them at all. Why is that? do they not see the value in proving they can in fact code? do they just forget to include those in their portfolio/resume? are schools (assuming they have attended school) not emphasizing the importance of code as a media? who knows all I know is that more developers need to have examples of code to give future employers a good sense of their abilities, this is just as important as a designer having examples in a portfolio or a business graduate having relevant experience on a resume.

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So this is my new site, it was created with Jekyll and Sekeleton. I have decided not to stray too far from the base Skeleton styles because they are nice and simple. I want this site to be about me sharing information and not about how flashy it looks. I am planning to add some addtional sections to this site once I have them ready for prime time but for now its just the basics.