About my Skills

Brian with a technical manualSo who’s that handsome gent with the exciting technical manual? Sorry to disappoint, but I’m just a web developer. On the bright side, this means that I dabble in all sorts of things, and I’m always learning.

I use the standard stuff, like JavaScript and HTML5, and I even take (some) pains to make sure things gracefully degrade for pre-9 versions of Internet Explorer. For server-side operations, I work primarily with PHP. It’s the language of WordPress, so it’s practical for me.

I’m also familiar with Adobe products like Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver and the rest, but I really enjoy getting into the open-source stuff. This is one reason why I moved from Dreamweaver to Aptana, and from Flash to the canvas element.

I can do a little design, but I’m really better at putting things together. I believe in commenting JavaScript so the next guy can see what’s going on, especially since the next guy could be a future me. It’s also nice to avoid polluting the global namespace, and to clean up listeners when they’re no longer being used.

I like to use CSS where possible before bringing jQuery into the mix, and I don’t apply styles to ID attributes. I’ve worked for several companies who style by an ID, then by a class within the ID, and then by another ID inside that class to override the first ID… it’s madness. Even worse, I wasn’t allowed to alter the markup because it was part of a template. This kind of thing can be avoided by using classes for styles and ID attributes for JavaScript hooks.

Several of my jobs have involved older sites which were being upgraded to newer ones, so I’m accustomed to working through legacy code. I use WordPress for the most part, but I’ve worked with Sitecore (a little) so I know a bit about XML and XSLT. I can work on my own, but I love to collaborate, especially on whiteboards.

Planning on a whiteboard.
That’s me on my whiteboard, planning out a jQuery plugin for the company I worked for.

Most of my work has been on the inner-workings of company sites, so it’s hard to point out the things I’ve built. However, I do some tinkering at home. Most of my recent experiments have involved Twitter’s Bootstrap to some degree. It uses LESS, so it brings just the right bit of programming into the styles. Don’t be fooled, though. I can still do regular CSS. Using Bootstrap, I can build just about anything, and many of the most commonly needed functions are already in there. It works well with WordPress, so custom themes become a little easier.

For more details on the kinds of things I know, just look around the blog.