git co -b idk-what-im-doing

a friendly little tech blog for learners of all levels

I love tackling fundamental web development topics in an accessible & engaging manner.
Have a suggestion for a topic you’d love to learn more about? Tweet me!

Don’t Just Put a <div> on It—Use the Power of the Browser!

The best HTML elements you never knew existed, so you can improve your website’s accessibility, mobile UX, and SEO while writing less code.

August 15, 2019 • 6791 words • 24 minute read

Adapted from a talk given at EmberCamp 2019. Original slides and more information on the Talks page.

The humble <div> is a powerful and flexible element. Throw enough CSS and JavaScript on it, and a <div> can be anything. But should it be?

“Semantic HTML” is a method of using elements that best match what your content means and does. But how do you write better markup if you don’t know your options?

Join the learning journey to fill your semantic HTML toolkit with the coolest elements you never knew existed. Learn specific elements to use in different scenarios and how to wield the full power of the HTML spec.

You’ll write less code while making your pages more accessible and mobile-friendly!

read more…

Protocol-andia: Welcome to the Networking Neighborhood

A whimsical introduction to how computers talk to each other, and what exactly your requests are up to.

February 19, 2019 • 4434 words • 16 minute read

In the wide, wild world of the web, there’s a lot of devices that want to talk to each other.

This blog post lives on some computer somewhere in the world, and you’re reading it on your own device in your own corner of the planet. So how did the words and pictures get from there to here?

read more…

Single-Page, Server-Side, Static… say what?

An emoji-filled learning journey about the trade-offs of different website architectures, complete with gifs, diagrams, and demo apps.

December 11, 2018 • 5929 words • 21 minute read

If you’ve been hanging around the internet, trying to build websites and apps, you may have heard some words in conversation like static site or server-side rendered (SSR) or single-page app (SPA).

But what do all of these words mean? How does each type of application architecture differ? What are the tradeoffs of each approach and which one should you use when building your website?

read more…

You Are Your Own Best Hype Person

Learn how to accurately and effectively advocate for yourself and grow in your career by recording your accomplishments.

February 26, 2018 • 1726 words • 6 minute read

At some point in your career, you’re going to have to prove to someone that you’re worth it: worth hiring, worth promoting, worth the raise, worth taking a risk on. If you’re lucky, you might have someone who has seen your work first hand, who believes in you and can vouch for you.

But even if you have the most supportive and engaged manager in the world, they still won’t know everything you do and all the valuable contributions you make — unless you tell them.

read more…

Deep Dive on Ember Events

The difference between Ember actions and DOM events and why it matters, plus a really rad flowchart.

August 08, 2017 • 2714 words • 9 minute read

Also available as a recorded talk from EmberConf 2018. Learn more about this talk or the general JavaScript events talk.

Disclaimer: This blog post specifically references Ember 2.14. Some information and code samples may be out of date!

read more…

Low Power Mode: Managing Your Emotional and Creative Energy

Slides and speaker notes from a talk originally given at AlterConf in Portland on October 1, 2016.

October 02, 2016 • 3213 words • 11 minute read

Also available as a video recording. Learn more about this talk.

read more…

other platforms

Medium

Technical articles, career advice, conference talk slides, and poems all have a home here.

Some Kind of Dispatch

A TinyLetter newsletter. Short, sweet, and fleeting, these missives are meant to be enjoyed like ice cream cones on a sunny June afternoon: quickly and with joy.